Of all the industries that make use of heavy equipment, the logging and forestry industry is dangerous, difficult, and uses more than a few different types of equipment as part of working in the nation’s forests. Grapple trucks play a large role in this industry, with many different types found in use at a single job site. Equipped to handle many different tasks, these versatile and useful trucks are really irreplaceable because of the way that they have helped revolutionize tree harvesting and make it a much easier, faster process now than it has ever been.
More Efficient Forestry Work with Better Equipment
With all of the current innovations in grapple truck attachments, harvesting timber is a very different process now than it used to be, even just ten or twenty years ago. Prior to the development of specialized grapples, the process involved one machine holding a tree, a different one cutting it, a third one delimbing and stripping the tree, and a fourth lifting it from its fallen location to be placed into a trailer or onto a flatbed for transportation to the closest processing facility. All in all, such an operation would require a minimum of four large, expensive machines working at the same time, felling trees in such a way that the risk of accident and injury is fairly significant.
The beauty of current technological changes that have occurred in the design of better forestry trucks is that all of those different jobs requiring differing trucks and equipment has been reduced down to only one requirement – a grapple truck. Needing only one vehicle to do the job from start to finish has drastically improved working and getting jobs done in the forestry industry, achieving a faster, easier, more efficient and safer logging operation that greatly reduces the risk of accident and injury.
One Truck to Do It All
The manufacturers of grapple attachments have produced different styles that have been designed to be specific to the task at hand to get the work done as efficiently as possible. Naturally, not all forestry jobs are going to involve so many different tasks to complete the work, so more standardized, versatile versions are often all that is needed. Standard grapple trucks are usually equipped with a grapple to grab and/or scoop material or debris, lift it, and then move it to another location. The main difference is usually found in the size, strength, and type that is used; as an example, municipal sanitation would not require the same caliber of attachment as would one that is loading and moving huge logs at a timber yard.
When it comes to the processing of the fallen trees, grapple attachments to knuckleboom arms that are mounted on grapple trucks are often specialized, large multiple purpose versions that have become very popular because of their usefulness. These extra-large claws with additional gripping attachments can grab a tree around its base, cut it using a built-in grapple saw, and then lift the cut tree out of the way into a truck bed.
Even more remarkably, that same grapple that can hold a cut tree balanced in its grip can be set to advance a tree through its grasp, delimbing and debarking as part of the process and then cutting the whole tree into pre-determined log lengths. If there are transportation trailers at the job site, the cut timber can be immediately placed on the trailer and driven away, completing a total operation in a short period of time.
No one machine is going to be perfect for every different logging job; however, for most fairly standard tree-clearing tasks, working with a grapple attachment made specifically to handle the required jobs with one truck can greatly improve working conditions. One or two operators can manage one of those multiple function grapples alone, leaving others to do other important jobs. Less time, fewer workers, decreased risk of accidents resulting in injury can equate to more work being completed with fewer problems!