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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

The economic potential of semi-automated tele-extraction of roundwood in Sweden

Lundback, Mikael; Haggstrom, Carola; Fjeld, Dag; Lindroos, Ola; Nordfjell, Tomas


The mechanization of roundwood harvesting in Sweden has historically cut costs rapidly. However, machinery and work methods have conceptually stayed the same since the introduction of the single-grip harvester. Current trends indicate that the next major wave of development will be based on automation, and that teleoperation is a step in this direction. This study aims to evaluate the economic potential of semi-automated tele-extraction compared to standard forwarding within the Nordic CTL two-machine harvesting system. The initial scenario examined autonomous terrain transportation with teleoperation during loading and unloading. A Discrete Event Simulation was implemented in the AnyLogic software. Input data included 1100 Swedish harvest sites, with in total 1.6 million m(3) and extraction distances from 20 to 1500 m. Scenarios with different numbers of teleoperators for a fleet of ten forwarders were tested. The optimum number of operators was seven per ten forwarders, resulting in a potential extraction cost reduction of 7% compared to standard forwarding. Extraction distances further than 500 m enabled use of five or six teleoperators, resulting in potential cost reductions of up to 15%. The highest potential cost reductions were linked to increased time used for autonomous driving, increasing the teleoperator availability for other machines. The simulation model provides a framework for further evaluation of new scenarios of automation and teleoperation of forwarders.


Forwarding; CTL; teleoperation; automation; discrete event simulation; organization

Published in

International Journal of Forest Engineering
2022, Volume: 33, number: 3, pages: 271-288