Never grapple with slash again

Friday 10 Feb 2023

A new take on an old method to deal with forestry slash is set to help New Zealand logging crews more effectively manage skid sites and landings……with the potential to increase productivity.

The locally developed Falcon Slash Grapple Rake brings fresh thinking to slash control in a typical Kiwi approach. The Falcon Slash Grapple Rake fits around two of the most common sizes of Ensign grapple and an independent study shows that it can reduce the laborious task by as much as one hour a day, whilst improving safety and environmental outcomes.

Designed by loggers, for loggers The idea for the new attachment was suggested by Moutere Logging M3 Crew Manager Steve Johnson, who was frustrated with existing methods of managing slash and debris on their sites. “I was up on the skid for three hours one evening moving slash for management purposes and thought there’s got to be a better way as I continued to pick up small loads,” says Steve.

The Falcon Slash Grapple Rake consists of a one-piece spring lock system to attach to either side of a standard Ensign grapple commonly used for loading. It can effectively grab huge amounts of slash in one go, which can then be precisely placed in a designated area.

“There was three points which I determined it needed to have when it was designed. One – it must be quick to take on and off. Two – it needs to have minimal maintenance and accessories to ensure it’s simple…. No plumbing. And lastly it needed to be versatile to be able to still be used for logs such as loading or sorting if needed.” Steve told us as we were hooking it up it in the space of 3 minutes flat.

An industry perspective

“Clearing slash from skids and landings can be a real headache,” says Darrin Barr of DC Equipment, the company behind Falcon Forestry Equipment products. “It can slow down operations and make them unsafe if you don’t keep on top of it. But you also need to deal with slash in an environmentally responsible manner, ensuring it doesn’t end up in waterways or impede access.

Simply pushing it over the edge of a slope might not be the best way to deal with it. “Slash grapples aren’t new, but the suggestion made by Steve for an attachment that fits around an existing grapple is a great solution. The aim was to turn that into a simple piece of engineering that works well in the forest.”

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