26-27 November 2013, Rotorua, NEW ZEALAND
ForestTECH 2013 Event Summary
In 2013 ForestTECH was made up of two events, the Forest Industry Safety Summit and the Steep Slope Wood Harvesting Conference.
ForestTECH 2013 was sold out this year – three weeks before the event ran. Over 400 forestry managers, forest owners and harvesting contractors met together in Rotorua over two days.
In addition to local forestry companies, around 30 forest owners, forestry contractors and equipment suppliers to the industry from Australia and around 20 from Chile came into New Zealand to participate in the Forest Industry Safety Summit and the Steep Slope Wood Harvesting conference as part of ForestTECH 2013.
Forest safety a key focus
At the Forest Industry Summit key players within the industry (with forest safety expertise brought in from North America and Australia) and Government met to discuss a range of systems, practices and tools that can be implemented – on top of a raft of initiatives already underway – by local companies as measures to improve safety out in the forest.
The eighth forestry workplace fatality this year in New Zealand underlined the focus and absolute intent of forestry leaders gathered in Rotorua to improve the industry’s safety performance.
Increased mechanisation in steep slope harvesting
At the Steep Slope Wood Harvesting conference a range of innovative new technologies – grapple-equipped hauler carriages and tethered “winch assist” machines – that have been developed by local contractors and engineering companies to safely and productively extract wood of steeper slopes were detailed.
Safety concerns are driving the “need for speed” in developing increased mechanisation. Many of the larger forestry owners are already working with contractors to move all ground based harvesting to fully mechanised and for a high percentage of the steep-slope harvesting to be mechanised in the next couple of years.
New wheeled harvesters rather than using tracked bases on steeper terrain and lessons for local contractors from a recent tour of seventeen local forestry and contracting companies to steeper terrain operations in Germany and Austria were also outlined.
Where in the past contractors have perhaps been dismissive of some of the recent European systems and their suitability to local conditions, a number of systems, equipment and processes being used were thought now to have real application to local contractors.
Charity auction raised as part of ForestTECH 2013
As part of the ForestTECH 2013 event, a charity auction was also run with the support of STIHL and a number of other major sponsors. On the night, through the generous support of the forestry industry a significant sum, $37,600, was raised for St John, FICA’s “Charity of Choice” for the upcoming year.