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How Forestry Work Could Be a Breeze With a Walking Harvester!

June 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 146

Walking forestry trucks with multiple steel legs may still seem like a vision of the future. Don't be too surprised as they are here today. In fact, this technology has been available since the 1990's in the form of a harvester piece of equipment.

Operation

The equipment is called a walking harvester and that name is a perfect description of its capabilities. While heavy equipment usually relies on tracked wheels or sometimes chain-wrapped wheels such as those found on forestry trucks, in order to gain traction on muddy and soft terrain, the walking harvester relies on a set of six insect-like legs.

Instead of rolling over the terrain to move, the legs actually step over the terrain similar to how an ant moves. This is accomplished by using sensors along the legs to independently monitor terrain conditions such as gradient, steepness and softness of the ground. A computer also monitors how the weight of the vehicle is distributed on each of the legs to ensure that it is an even distribution.

Design Advantages

While this is a completely unconventional means of movement for a machine, the technology actually has several advantages over off-road wheels and even tracked equipment. This is an advantage because only the pads of the legs touch the ground without damaging the biodiversity on the forest's floor. Tracked and wheeled machinery can leave a long trail of damage to underlying areas.

It is also better at trekking over rough terrain. Unlike its wheeled counterparts, this equipment can deal with obstacles one leg at a time instead of having to roll over them, which makes dealing with rough terrain much easier. Because of the six leg configuration, this equipment can still maintain good balance while having one or two of its legs up in the air avoiding obstacles.

Another advantage is that its ground clearance is completely adjustable. Most heavy equipment has a fixed ground clearance which means limits their operation when the terrain is beyond that set clearance. The walking harvester can be adjusted by simply moving the legs up or down. Lowering the legs provides better stability and balance while raising the legs offers the ability to better handle extreme terrain.

Availability

With more than two thousand working hours under its belt and many advantages over conventional design, it is safe to say this equipment is a success. Unfortunately, do not expect to see one in a dealers showroom. The walking harvester never made it into full production and still remains a prototype created by the designers of John Deere's research team in Finland. Through its technical innovations, it has shown a possible solution to problems that loggers have faced when operating on rough terrain.

Despite the fact that the walking harvester did not make it into production, it is refreshing to know that certain aspects of its revolutionary technology such as the automation and stability system has been further developed and is currently available on other modern John Deere forest equipment, resulting in better handling and more productive forestry trucks. Yes, forestry work could indeed be a breeze with a walking harvester!

Christopher M. Hunter is an expert in commercial specialty trucks. To find out more about Forestry Trucks, go to the main website at: http://www.firstfleettrucksales.com/home.

Source: EzineArticles
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