Timber, Forestry, Logging, or Lumber Equipment?
US timber industry equipment also referred to as forestry, logging, or lumber
equipment, is driven by domestic and export demands. Finish lumber, pulp, and paper drive the raw lumber demand. Everywhere we find finished lumber, cardboard packaging, paper, and tissue products.
COVID pandemic impacted the industry in several ways. Many finishing industries shut down or scaled back, such as building construction. Others like tissue, toilet paper, sanitizing wipes, paper towels increased in demand. More packaging is required as people began shopping from home and taking home or delivering food and groceries.
The timber industry took a hit in 2020
In 2020, landowners, logging companies, and sawmills lost US 1.1 billion dollars. Some of this was from wildfires and Hurricane Laura, with COVID 19 adding to those significant losses.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, forest product exports in the US, including logs and lumber, were valued at $9.6 billion in 2018. China accounted for an estimated $6 billion of this amount.
US timber equipment required to be profitable
It takes a lot of machinery to produce the amount of lumber consumed in the US and exported annually. To monetize the cutting and logging of the timber requires considerable investment in this equipment.
This equipment is for forestry management and logging wood for commercial markets. An average modern worksite that includes felling extracting and processing equipment can have upwards of $3 million in equipment on site. This equipment does not include trucks for hauling logs to market or, in some cases, helicopters to extract cut logs from protected forests.
Some equipment can serve multiple purposes. Listed below are used prices for examples and do not include all equipment available on John Deere’s website.
Chainsaw - $149 at Home Depot
Harvester - $60,000 - $300,000
Feller Buncher - $32,000 - $250,000
Forwarder - $50,000 - $250,000
Skidder - $75,000 - $225,000
On-site processing equipment
Chipper - $10,000 - $580,000
Delimber - $40,000 - $140,000
Other logging equipment
Loader - $120,000 - $600,000
Mulcher - $15,000 +
Operation of the equipment under severe conditions
Like construction equipment, to provide a reasonable return on investment, it must be continuously operated during daylight and sometimes nighttime hours. The Internet of Things has arrived on the new equipment to facilitate operations, but it still takes a workforce to operate the machinery.
These operations are not indoors, where they are often climate-controlled surroundings. The source of trees for logging is more likely to be in rural or remote areas where the equipment and operators are subject to adverse environmental conditions. Until robotics advance further, these operators must perform at top speed and efficiency for a long. periods
Modern equipment for the forest industry has enclosed cabs protecting operators from sun, rain, wind, cold, and heat. This equipment needs to be very dependable and have a long time between failures. It is hard to call an airconditioning maintenance specialist when the equipment is 3-4,000 feet up on the side of a mountain or in the remote bottomland.
The timber equipment components you don’t see
This technically advanced equipment utilizes technology noted for dependability, long mean time to failure, and little maintenance. Operation of this technology at batter voltages is essential in the field where generators or electrical grid power isn’t available.
PTC Ceramic Element Heaters in logging equipment
PTC element convection heaters require minimum circuitry, and no maintenance is one of the most utilized pieces of equipment for maintaining cabin temperature in cold climates. They are also used to minimize humidity in external-facing panels on felling, extracting, and on-site forestry equipment.
The heating elements are unique in that they don’t require a control circuit to operate at a set temperature. Heating up rapidly is another favorable characteristic. This occurs due to the positive temperature coefficient of resistance which allows maximum current when cold and maximum resistance when at set-point temperature.
They also operate at 12 and 24-volt battery voltages, are small with high heat per area ratios. These are ideal for small operator compartments and come with built-in fans that operate on separate circuits.
Safety and durability exceed traditional resistance heaters and there is no combustion taking place to create the heat transferred into the operator’s cabin.
Flexible silicone rubber heaters are also used in logging equipment
Flexible silicone rubber heaters are used to keep batteries and hydraulic equipment from freezing up under adverse conditions. These lightweight, durable heaters can be attached, placed under, or wrapped around equipment to protect them from cold and snow.
Silicone rubber has good insulating and heat transfer properties and maintain flexibility at low temperatures. They also resist chemicals that may be found around operating machinery such as oil, gas, hydraulics, and other lubricants. water, and cleaners.
The edged heating elements bonded inside the silicone rubber allows for evenly dispersed heating and custom configurations.
Summer is coming to the US forests and the equipment.
The forestry industry doesn’t only operate in winter climates. These same locations can be smoldering hot in the summertime in North America. Similar advanced technologies are needed to cool the operators’ cabins over long.
Thermal Electric Peltier Coolers are ideal for these applications and have proven themselves to be very reliable. Without the need for freon or equivalent coolants, the coolers have a long mean time to fail and operate off the vehicle’s electrical systems.
These electronic cooling systems come with built-in fans for even distribution of the cooled air. The small reliable solid-state construction outperforms traditional cooling systems in remote areas.
Construction and farming equipment have come a long way, and the forestry work is proving economically viable deep in the forests of the US.
Want to learn more or have a specific application?
DBK USA has experts standing by to answer your questions. Specialists in PTC heating elements and cooling applications can help you select the right components for your application.
Feel free to call our engineers directly at 1-864-607-9047