Timber harvest equipment?

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Logging involves felling trees and turning them into consumer products. Safety measures have improved with modern equipment, including reapers, harvesters, and log carriers. Sawmills now use computers to maximize efficiency.

Lumber harvesting, the more modern term for logging, is the act of felling trees, removing them from the forest, and ultimately turning them into consumer or business products. Logging is one of the major industries on the planet, as trees are used in everything from construction, paper, clothing, to garden supplies. There is a lot of equipment used at every stage of the lumber harvesting process, and equipment is constantly evolving to be more efficient, more versatile, and safer.

Traditionally, logging has been one of the most dangerous occupations. In recent years, however, there has been a big push to increase safety across the board. This has largely involved making equipment safer and implementing more safeguards to make sure that when things start to go wrong systems are in place to keep everyone safe. While not entirely effective, modern lumber harvesting equipment is still significantly safer than what was used a hundred years ago.

The first type of lumber harvesting equipment is, of course, the cutting equipment. While most people are familiar with the iconic big handsaws of yore, hand axes, or even chainsaws, in reality most modern logging systems use much larger equipment to fell trees. These reapers, as they’re known, are massive vehicles capable of felling trees rapidly, sometimes in large groups. A goal of modern foragers is summed up in the phrase: no feet on the forest floor. This means that although humans are used in logging, to keep them much safer they stay inside protected equipment, well protected from all but the worst accidents.

A harvester can include many different parts and can often mechanize most of the process of felling and uprooting a tree. Most are equipped with chainsaws, powered hydraulically, to fell the tree and cut it to the right length. Most also have large limbing knives, which are meant to cut through branches. They also typically have feed arms, which are large rollers that grip the tree to feed it into the saws. A single driver can control all of these movements, and on-board computers help with the calculations and help keep track of the trees as they are being felled. A popular type of harvester is the tree harvester, which can harvest a group of trees and strip them down before cutting them all down at once.

Another type of lumber harvesting equipment is the log carrier. Traditionally, they would be skidders, which grab trees and drag them along the ground. In the past they may have simply been mules or horses harnessed to trees, but these days they tend to be large machines, like the Caterpillar 528 or Grapple Skidder. Forwarders are another type of mover, hauling logs free from the ground, rather than hauling them on skids, which can reduce environmental impact.

Sawmills have also improved dramatically in recent decades, with even 1960s sawmills largely a remnant of the past. Modern sawmills are equipped with massive computers, helping them calculate each step of the process to minimize waste and maximize efficiency. Even the smallest portable sawmills, suitable for home use, are quite efficient and can calculate cuts down to small sizes to ensure perfect milling every time.

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