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The Log - Issue Three - 'Focus on Forest Engineering': Mauricio Acuna attends conference in Uruguay

Uruguay conference - mauricio acuna

Mauricio Acuna at the 'Focus on Forest Engineering' conference in Uruguay

In November 2008, Research Fellow Mauricio Acuna attended the international conference ‘Focus on Forest Engineering’ in Uruguay, organised by the South African company Forestry Solutions Ltd and SGS International. The objective of this conference was to contribute to the development of the forestry sector by promoting training and benchmarking and bringing together well-known professionals and researchers from internationally known companies and research programs.

During three days, more than 150 delegates from Australia, Europe, Africa, North America and South America shared experiences and observed the latest technology in harvesting equipment. Presentations were delivered by prestigious professionals and researchers from all over the world, such as Michael Brink (Forestry Solutions Ltd, South Africa), Jan Fryk (Skogforsk, Sweden), Glen Murphy (Oregon State University, USA) and Jean Favreau (FPInnovations, Canada). Mauricio had the chance to share experiences with these and many other researchers and discuss methodologies to conduct studies in harvesting and logistics.

harvesters Uruguay Mauricio Acuna

Wheel-based John Deere harvesters

Of particular interest from a research point of view were the presentations delivered by Andrew McEwan and Brad Shuttleworth from Forestry Solutions Ltd, describing and analysing the factors influencing productivity in mechanised harvesting operations, particularly in eucalyptus plantations. Their studies identified tree size, product specifications, tree form, driver skills, machine condition and stocking as the main factors affecting productivity and costs—some of which are being investigated by Program Three for Australian conditions.

Presentations from the conference are available at  Please contact Mauricio Acuna if you wish to get copies and can not access them through the link provided.

The conference ended with an exhibition of equipment in action and a nice Uruguayan parrilla (barbecue) in the bush. Of particular interest was a demonstration of the new E-series of wheel-based John Deere harvesters. The key feature is a cabin with improved rotation ability—up to 360 degrees in the forwarder—that features a levelling capacity, which combined with improved automation and monitoring technology has prompted the manufacturer to promote the series as ‘revolutionary’. Other manufacturers present in the exhibition included Valmet, Tigercat and Ponsse.

During the conference, Mauricio also presented and discussed the machine evaluation framework with our partners of the Southern Hemisphere—Forestry Solutions Ltd (South Africa) and Forme Ltd (New Zealand)—along with Professor Glen Murphy from Oregon State University. Proposed by Program Three, the machine evaluation framework promotes a uniform approach to defining measures used in assessing forest operations so that research and operationally based assessment results can be transferred among participating organisations, as a minimum across the Southern Hemisphere. The proposal was well received by our international partners who made valuable suggestions to improve the technical aspects and the applicability of the framework. At the moment the proposal document is under a formal review by both international and Australian partners and a definitive version is expected to be available shortly, after which it will implemented in actual harvesting operations research and assessment activities.

Mauricio Acuna

Research Fellow
Tel: 03 6226 7927