LOGMETER ONE OF THE MOST ROBUST, RELIABLE
TRUCKLOAD SCANNING SYSTEMS ON THE MARKET
BIG OPPORTUNITY OPENS FOR FOREST INDUSTRY: SAVINGS FOR GROWERS, PROCESSORS
Logmeter systems can scan full truckloads or measure logs on trucks using different sensors such as laser scanners, stereoscopic cameras, and RGB cameras, providing quick solid volume estimates and biometric information of the logs.
IN recent years, leading companies in the forestry sector have been incorporating cutting-edge technologies in their supply chain, specifically in their fibre measurement processes.
Dr. Mauricio Acuna, senior research fellow in forest operations at the University of the Sunshine Coast, has been investigating the performance of sensor technology in systems for automated measurements of truckloads for about five years.
Dr Acuna discusses his research in this Q&A presentation.
According to your research, what are the main features of these systems?
Mauricio Acuna: These systems can scan full truckloads or measure logs on trucks using different sensors such as laser scanners, stereoscopic cameras, and RGB cameras, providing quick solid volume estimates and biometric information of the logs (e.g. length, diameter).
The LOGMETER is one of the systems I have studied; it has been developed by Chilean company Woodtech (www.woodtechms.com). In Australia, this system has been deployed to the Surrey Hills chip mill owned by Forico in Tasmania. Several other units of the LOGMETER system have been deployed globally over the last 15 years, being one of the most mature, robust, and reliable truckloads scanning systems on the market. The Surrey Hills chip mill unit is the first one of this type in Australasia.
Can you tell us more about the study conducted in Australia this year and the main findings you obtained?
Mauricio Acuna: With a team of researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast we collected data from the LOGMETER deployed at the Surrey Hills chip mill early this year. We were able to confirm that the level of accuracy of the solid volume predictions reported by the system, with errors that lied within 5% in comparison to manual and photogrammetric measurements. The results from our trials have also been used to calibrate and validate the volumetric models, which will result in more accurate measurements and better solid volume predictions, and ultimately in better economic returns to Forico and the haulage contractors.
From an economic point of view, what conclusions can be drawn from the study?
Mauricio Acuna: We were able to confirm that automated systems for the measurement of truckloads can save big money for forest growers and processors, representing a big opportunity for the forest industry in Australia and New Zealand. Among other benefits, they allow a smooth and quick reception of trucks at mills, improve production planning and logistics, reduced log handling costs, log damage, and accidents, and provide better information of the forest resource. In conjunction with moisture control management, they can also reduce truck movements on road networks, with the consequent reduction in fuel consumption and GHG emissions (up to 20% according to our calculations).
For a successful implementation, which considerations must be taken into account for a company that decides to adopt an automated volumetric system such as the LOGMETER?
Mauricio Acuna: The deployment of automated systems for the measurements of truckloads and transition from a trading system based on weight to one based on volume must be planned carefully by forest growers and processors since they may represent a big organisational and cultural change to haulage contractors and other parties in the supply chain.
To be accepted and successfully implemented, a trading and payment system based on volumetric measurements must be well understood by all supply chain parties, and the benefits must be articulated to all of them. If all these aspects are considered carefully, the benefits associated with automated systems for the measurements of truckloads will largely outweigh their investment and deployment costs.