24-25 June 2015, Rotorua, NEW ZEALAND
2015 Event Summary
Sold Out Event
Well over 400 forestry managers, forest owners, harvest planners and harvesting contractors attended HarvestTECH 2015, this region’s follow-up steep slope harvesting event. As anticipated, the event SOLD OUT – as did the previous steep slope harvesting programme that the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) ran back in November 2013.
The event attracted harvesting specialists from throughout New Zealand. In addition, over 20 percent of those attending came from outside New Zealand. Equipment suppliers, researchers, forestry companies and international contractors from Australia, Canada, the US, Finland, Austria, Germany, Indonesia, and South Africa flew into Rotorua to attend the event.
Why the interest? Harvesting operations in steeper terrain have seen exponential growth in the last few years. Of course with growth comes innovation. Steep slopes have led to purpose-built harvesting systems. New gear has come from the larger equipment suppliers but much of the innovation by necessity is coming from contractors working together with local engineering companies.
The Industry is Changing
Since the 2013 event, major changes had been made – both to the technology and to the operating practices. The move by both forest owners and contractors to increase mechanization on steeper country, the desire to increase productivity and the requirement to improve safety have all lead to significant advances.
Grapple-equipped hauler carriages, enhanced log grapple control systems, tethered “winch assist” machines and new wheeled and tracked self-levelling cab harvesters are all being used by local contractors.
Robotics, automation and remote controlled mechanical tree felling are also being developed, the idea being to keep the operators out of harm’s way, with operational trials with a local contractor (a world first) already well underway. Some of the European technology often thought of as been too light for local conditions, viewed with recent tours of New Zealand contractors to Austria and Italy is now also been employed in local forests for the first time this year.
Because of the speed of change and the range of new innovations developed over the last couple of years, HarvestTECH 2015 was run for forestry companies and contractors working in steeper terrain. In addition to local innovations, the very latest developments coming out the US, Canada, Chile, Brazil and Europe were covered in the two-day event, HarvestTECH 2015.
Wayne (Buck) Shelford, former All Black rugby captain, coach and motivational speaker was the after-dinner presenter at this year’s HarvestTECH 2015 dinner in Rotorua. Like the HarvestTECH 2015 two-day conference, the dinner was SOLD OUT early and over 320 attended the entertaining night.
As evidenced by the popularity of this part of the event and noise generated by delegates during the pre-dinner drinks and dinner, the evening proved to be an invaluable networking opportunity for those attending.