UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Cable Tensile Forces Associated to Winch Design in Tethered Harvesting Operations: A Case Study from the Pacific North West Mologni, Omar; Nance, Eric; Lyons, C. Kevin; Marchi, Luca; Grigolato, Stefano; Cavalli, Raffaele; Roeser, Dominik


Cable tensile forces in winch-assist harvesting have been investigated in order to assess the safety concerns of the technology. However, the literature is lacking, particularly in regards to the impact of winch design. In this study, a Summit Winch Assist tethering a feller-director on ground slopes up to 77% was monitored for four days. The cable tensile forces were simultaneously recorded at the harvesting and anchor machine at a frequency of 100 Hz. Cameras and GNSS devices enabled a time study of the operations and the recording of machine positions. Winch functionality and design were disclosed by the manufacturer and used for the interpretation of the results. The cable tensile forces reached 296 kN at the harvesting machine and 260 kN at the anchor machine. The slow negotiation of obstacles while moving downhill recorded the highest peaks, mainly due to threshold settings of the winch in the brake system activation. Lower but significant peaks were also recorded during stationary work tasks. The peaks, however, were limited to a few events and never exceeded the endurance limit of the cable. Overall, the study confirmed recent findings in cable tensile force analysis of active winch-assist operations and provided evidence of the underlaying mechanisms that contribute to cable tensile forces.

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