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November 14, 2015 12:00 PM   Subscribe

The Kesla 28RH is a machine that turns trees into logs. Very quickly. (SLYT)
posted by theodolite (77 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of men for this treachery.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:02 PM on November 14, 2015 [44 favorites]


It's the casual, almost lackadaisical dexterity of the thing. The jaunty swing and bounce, and the utter inexorability of it. Christ.
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:05 PM on November 14, 2015 [20 favorites]


Basically.
posted by Evstar at 12:08 PM on November 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


I like the way they gave it a vaguely insectoid feel just to make it extra creepy.
posted by kenko at 12:12 PM on November 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Not a coincidence that it looks kind of like those sentinels from The Matrix, right?
posted by aaronetc at 12:12 PM on November 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


That's astounding. This looks like a paper company tree farm, or something similar... It's more depressing to think about it being used on old growth.
posted by codacorolla at 12:12 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


This doesn't exactly look like old growth wood.

I love forests so logging is kind of sad, but I also love wood. Like, wood is the most amazing raw material around. You can make anything out of wood. And it's so easy to make more of it.
posted by GuyZero at 12:14 PM on November 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


Oh man. Enough with this "European Truck Simulator 5" nonsense; I want to play "Tree Farm Denuder Simulator".

(It seems to me this machine is not designed to work on anything other than a certain set of evergreens of a limited diameter; it wouldn't be able to cope with anything that didn't have a gentle taper or anything approximating a serious bough. It's built for efficiently processing farmed wood, not ripping through primeval ecosystems.)
posted by phooky at 12:17 PM on November 14, 2015 [25 favorites]


There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of men for this treachery.

Logging is one of the most dangerous careers in the world. This beast seems to make it SIGNIFICANTLY safer.

Whats the problem here? This is technology, and it seems to be working well.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:19 PM on November 14, 2015 [19 favorites]


For a closer look at the cutty part in back: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YtTxEgb8qI
posted by Jack Karaoke at 12:22 PM on November 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


It appears to be terrifyingly efficient at a very specialist job. No idea how effective it would be on anything less cooperative than a pine - imagine this thing trying to lift a redwood, or strip the boughs from an oak. I'm curious about power consumption, servicing, and similar things, but it looks like a well executed design.

Probably put a few people out of work, though.
posted by YAMWAK at 12:26 PM on November 14, 2015


Whats the problem here? This is technology, and it seems to be working well.

NICE TRY SARUMAN! EVERYONE GET HIM! ԅ( ͒ ۝ ͒ )ᕤ
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:27 PM on November 14, 2015 [27 favorites]


I kind of want a little one that can make stakes and fire them forward. For the vampire apocalypse, you know. On the other hand, if you just had the big one, go could grab a vampire and shoot it a fair distance. It bet that would hurt Mr. "You Cannot Kill What Is Not Alive."
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:29 PM on November 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


not designed to work on anything other than a certain set of evergreens of a limited diameter

...constructed for heavy-duty final felling where trees’ average diameter can be as large as 50 cm... (the head is larger than it looks like, and weighs like a small car. And the harvester is also a pretty decent piece of machinery...)
posted by effbot at 12:30 PM on November 14, 2015


Part of me is kind of pleased that those trees are being cut down. Here in the UK, the Forestry Commission was given the task of managing a lot of woodland, and during WWI, they realised that there wasn't enough wood for the war effort. It is said that each soldier in the war needed the equivalent of five trees. Cue the planting of lots of trees in places that already had them, with the original trees being removed, and in lots of places that didn't, such as on peat bogs and the sides of mountains. Problem was, the FC did a lot of testing to see which specific type of tree performed the best under a variety of conditions, with the Sitka Spruce coming out on top.

So they planted lots and lots of Sitka Spruce in serried ranks on the sides of hills and on peat bogs and on land that was previously growing a nice variety of trees. Walking through one of these forests is an eerie experience - everything is regimented, it's dark and there's little or no undergrowth. Birds can't find food in the trees, so it's really quiet and oppressive. It's obviously a woodland, but a woodland with an handful of species instead of the thousands that are otherwise found in a wood. There's something very barren about it, despite it being full of life. Most of these forests still exist, because demand for wood dropped sharply after WWI, and it wasn't financially viable to cut them down. They're ugly and damaging to the environment.

I'm pleased to see Silver Birches in the background, though. They're a coloniser species, what quickly move in to take over cleared areas. This isn't always a good thing, as they'll quickly colonise prime heathland too, given the chance, but deer seem to like eating young trees which helps keep the numbers down. Also, birch sap is a fun thing to forage.
posted by Solomon at 12:30 PM on November 14, 2015 [24 favorites]


THAT IS AWESOME

The combination of it hefts and juggles the tree seems very human to me, but OTOH it's a huge fucking tree, and the way it just shears the branches off like it doesn't give a damn (though I'm sure that's actually a key feature)...

If I saw a cartoon of this I wouldn't even consider it's depicting a real thing.
posted by aubilenon at 12:34 PM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


The operator in that video is quite skillful. If you let youtube autoplay for awhile, you'll find some videos where momentum isn't managed so fluidly. Then it just looks like a chainsaw, some rollers, and some grabby things on a swivel.
posted by ethansr at 12:35 PM on November 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


So, I guess the forestry industry is changing their mantra from "jobs, Jobs, JOBS" to "Uh. Job?"
posted by clvrmnky at 12:37 PM on November 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Then it just looks like a chainsaw, some rollers, and some grabby things on a swivel.

And, I think, a really big counterweight
posted by aubilenon at 12:38 PM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I see the terraforming of GH235-b is coming along nicely.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:40 PM on November 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Then it just looks like a chainsaw, some rollers, and some grabby things on a swivel."

Just. I mean, sure, ok.

But the challenge for devices like this isn't coming up with ideas. It's, you know, making them work and then figuring out how to demo it through various iterations, and then how to get it into production, and then the long tail of post-production. Each of these steps is a massive investment.

I mean, having that much torque and horsepower transferred a great distance, and all the controls and coordination is pretty complicated.

This level of mechanism is actually horrifying, but there is a real reason applications like this have had to rely on human grunt, chainsaws, and skid chains for such a long time. Solving these problems are /hard/.

Of course, we have yet to see how many hours of continuous duty these things can take, and what the required downtime for rebuilding is going to be, and even how easily field repairs are going to be. Time will tell if the front-end investment will yield actual results.

But nothing about this is "just."
posted by clvrmnky at 12:43 PM on November 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


This thing looks like a bad Stephen King movie waiting to happen.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 12:45 PM on November 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Building better worlds.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:45 PM on November 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Walking through one of these forests is an eerie experience - everything is regimented, it's dark and there's little or no undergrowth.

I was walking around in Scotland in the 90s and encountered an area like this, like the zombie version of a forest. Step at just the right angle and you can suddenly see that all the trees are precisely aligned. Thanks, I never knew the history.
posted by XMLicious at 12:47 PM on November 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm really surprised that this is a real thing and not someone's 3D animation demo - something about the camera movements felt very much like a virtual camera.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:47 PM on November 14, 2015


Well, it gives the word "treehugger" a new meaning...
posted by not_on_display at 12:49 PM on November 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


That's not so much a "hug" as a "grab and shave and chop"
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:52 PM on November 14, 2015


phooky: "Oh man. Enough with this "European Truck Simulator 5" nonsense; I want to play "Tree Farm Denuder Simulator"."

Farm Simulator 2015 may have something relevant to your interests.
posted by RobotHero at 12:55 PM on November 14, 2015 [22 favorites]


clvrmnky: "Of course, we have yet to see how many hours of continuous duty these things can take, and what the required downtime for rebuilding is going to be, and even how easily field repairs are going to be. Time will tell if the front-end investment will yield actual results."

Buncher fallers have been around for years, some of the ones in the bush around here are older than some of the guys running them. It is a much safer, cheaper and efficient way of harvesting than guys with chainsaws where terrain permits their use.
posted by Mitheral at 12:56 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


A little bit like the Denis-Cimaf Forest Mulcher. Or the Bandit 5000 Forest Mower.
posted by migurski at 1:01 PM on November 14, 2015


…or rapid helicopter-based tree harvesting.
posted by migurski at 1:03 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


...constructed for heavy-duty final felling where trees’ average diameter can be as large as 50 cm...

So yes, tree farm use for small trees on quick growing cycles. The nearest tree farms that I know of are growing some kind of hybrid poplar or birch, which hit harvest size incredibly quickly. (I think they pulp on site and haul the chips in box trailers, rather than hauling the trees on log trucks, though.)

Calling the machine an "EcoLog," though, is like calling your new aircraft carrier "The Humanitarian." It's great branding, but with a tinge of Newspeak.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:05 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


A little bit like the Denis-Cimaf Forest Mulcher .

That has to be the worst operator I have ever seen. I wouldn't feel safe being anywhere near that guy.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:09 PM on November 14, 2015


Whats the problem here? This is technology, and it seems to be working well.

Well, highly mechanised logging like this promotes the plantation of large areas of monocultural softwood, having a huge effect on biodiversity. Additionally, where machines like these are designed to deal with more difficult access in actual forest rather than a tree farm they are so large and heavy handed they cannot access the trees that should be felled without destroying many more that shouldn't be felled, often badly damaging what could otherwise be well managed forest that produces timber as well as supporting a diverse ecosystem.
posted by deadwax at 1:09 PM on November 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


... a machine that turns trees into logs

I misread that as turning trees into frogs, like some sort of nifty CNC doodad for carving little wooden knicknacks, and I was very disappointed.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:14 PM on November 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was just looking through my stock club notes for that video of the Denis-Cimaf mulcher--they're kinda terrifying. "Here is a tree. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZT. Now it is mulch." There are a whole host of other tree cutting machine videos out there, John Deere has a prototype that looks like a BattleMech.

Of course, nothing can top the majesty of the Bagger 288.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:17 PM on November 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


A little bit like the Denis-Cimaf Forest Mulcher

Give me one of those, a case of beer, and that flock of @%!#% geese at work and I'll be a happy man.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:18 PM on November 14, 2015


HERE IS AN EVEN BETTER IDEA --

Take the grabber-rasper-cutter head and make it autonomous. So it crawls up to a tree and grabs it, cutter side up. It rasps its way up, unbranchenizing the tree as it goes, until the tree gets too wobbly and then it cuts the top off and starts rasping back down lopping off a new log every X distance.

What could go wrong?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:20 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you don't like farmed and harvested wood, what's your alternative? Plastic? Aluminum? Even the very best recycling program will take you only so far.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:23 PM on November 14, 2015 [6 favorites]




What could go wrong?

Are you going to stand next to it and turn that thing on?
posted by Lanark at 1:25 PM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, I think we were done at "forest mower."
posted by nzero at 1:27 PM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Are you going to stand next to it and turn that thing on?

Sure, but I won't wear brown pants and a green top when I do.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:30 PM on November 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


Paper needs to be made, so I shouldn't be frightened of it, but I am. What's ominous is imagining this thing, and an authoritarian police force, and a kettled crowd.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:33 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I see nothing wrong with using this machine to harvest farmed wood -- as was said above, with the right operator this is MUCH safer than traditional logging, which is notoriously dangerous.

The operator in this demo is quite skilled -- the way he manages momentum is like a text book demonstration of how to use this machine.

Using this on an old grown forest would be beyond depressing, but I'm totally cool with this application of this technology.

Also, that Badger 288 video was very welcome -- thanks for linking that, fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit!
posted by mosk at 1:36 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


The thing is just so damn graceful. I am jealous of the engineering team that got the control system so dialed in that the multi-ton machine moves like a dancer.
posted by indubitable at 1:38 PM on November 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


You've got to wonder if the operators of these machines ever peel carrots again.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:40 PM on November 14, 2015


And that, kids, is how Capital beat Labour.
posted by klanawa at 1:49 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


"In May of 2011, many people living within the Johnson City power board service territory were surprised by a sight never before seen in the area: a low-flying helicopter equipped with a gigantic power saw, dangling 30 feet beneath it... "

If any video on YouTube ever called for a metal soundtrack, it's that. Let's fly a helicopter super low... with a giant saw dangling under it... right next to live power lines.
posted by indubitable at 1:49 PM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I imagine they deign to use nothing less than this carrot peeler at home.
posted by fragmede at 1:53 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Logging is one of the most dangerous careers in the world. This beast seems to make it SIGNIFICANTLY safer.

Safer for the lumberjacks. The trees? Not so much.
posted by eriko at 1:54 PM on November 14, 2015


If you don't like farmed and harvested wood, what's your alternative? Plastic? Aluminum? Even the very best recycling program will take you only so far.

Is that directed at me? I've been working with wood since I was 12, for money, off and on, since I was 16. There aren't many things in this world I love more than timber and I promote its use all over the place, but its production and harvesting is often deeply problematic and machines like this are sometimes part of that.
posted by deadwax at 2:07 PM on November 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


My Dad and my godfather (both departed) were in forestry. When they started their careers, they were just phasing out horses (really), replacing them with skidders. The skidders brought their own sort of danger, when a log load hangs up and the steel cable breaks and cuts down anyone standing close... The workers called potential snags "widowmakers".

My godfather was on the forestry equipment side, and he ended up at Koehring-Watrous just as they brought out their first mechanized harvester.
posted by Artful Codger at 2:16 PM on November 14, 2015


Blowing up trees with Dynamite !!
posted by ouke at 2:27 PM on November 14, 2015


A little bit like the Denis-Cimaf Forest Mulcher.

FARGO II: GAEAR'S REVENGE
COMING SUMMER 2017
posted by theodolite at 2:28 PM on November 14, 2015


I think this video is missing a PSA from the War Amps. Play safe, kids!
posted by Capt. Renault at 2:39 PM on November 14, 2015


If any video on YouTube ever called for a metal soundtrack, it's that. Let's fly a helicopter super low... with a giant saw dangling under it... right next to live power lines.

I think the calm, straightforward delivery (and the cut shot of the Haverfield logo on the truck) are right out of a dystopian future.
posted by a halcyon day at 2:41 PM on November 14, 2015


production and harvesting is often deeply problematic and machines like this are sometimes part of that.

Indeed. The problem, in any industry, is rarely increased efficiency or automation, but rather the kinds of bad practice that they sometimes make viable (or at least profitable) in the short term. That's an issue we're going to see reemerging as a major societal theme over the next half-century (unless ecological catastrophe renders it moot).
posted by howfar at 2:43 PM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


howfar: "The problem, in any industry, is rarely increased efficiency or automation"

That completely dismisses the safety aspect of these machines which is a serious problem for anyone falling manually.
posted by Mitheral at 2:49 PM on November 14, 2015


"OH, I'M A LUMBERJACK, AND I'M JUST FUCKED!"
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 2:54 PM on November 14, 2015


Maybe not quite so elegant and compact, but mechanical tree-harvesting machines have been around since the 1970s. When I worked for the forestry department in the late 80s Koehring had revolutionized the industry in northern Ontario. A logging crew could now be replaced by a one man operation, which sometimes had unfortunate consequences: I remember a man being run over by his Koehring while trying to repair it alone in the bush.
posted by Flashman at 2:58 PM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Safer for the lumberjacks. The trees? Not so much.

Hey, the trees knew the risks, and grew there anyway.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 3:59 PM on November 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Man, to think that I almost didn't click on this. Thanks, theodolite!
posted by Bugbread at 4:09 PM on November 14, 2015


if trees dream we know their nightmares.
posted by andrewcooke at 4:13 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I imagine they deign to use nothing less than this carrot peeler at home.

Pffft - real lumberjacks don't peel carrots!
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:22 PM on November 14, 2015


Hexxus!
posted by wreckingball at 4:39 PM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


My uncle was the first logger in Minnesota to get a feller/buncher like this, although his came from a Scandinavian company called Timberjack. (Not technically my uncle, but his family and mine have been friends for about four generations so he might as well be.) I got to watch them in operation and it was really impressive to see.

Environmentally it's probably a net good, at least there in northern Minnesota: the trees they cut were almost entirely fast-growing softwoods on sustainably managed tree farms, eventually to be turned into paper or engineered lumber. The few exceptions to that were, well, exceptional: I remember there was one job he was doing where some movie star living in LA had had a wild hair years ago and bought a Christmas tree farm, only to forget all about it. Then there was a divorce, and liquidating a bunch of assets, so now all these tall and twisted pines, grown long past their photogenic "Christmasy" phase, were being turned into wood products.

And yeah that's not entirely perfect, mind you: the tree farms are largely monocultures and there's a big difference, ecologically, between them and an old-growth forest up there. But for the environment they're a lot better than a housing development or a cow pasture—and since the tree farms tend to allow the public onto their land for skiing or hunting or whatever, on the whole I'd offer up that type of forestry as a good example of how extractive industry and sustainable pro-environmental goals can coexist. At least, as an example of what the "best plausible compromise" looks like and what we can expect as a "good outcome"—so if thet's not enough for you, don't realistically expect more.

A side note that hasn't been brought up yet is the land-impact: with these things, a smaller number of machines using low-pressure tires to do the harvesting and forwarding means less overall impact to the land—less need to build access roads, less need to clear "waste trees" that are in the way, less soil compaction that interferes with future growth. That's no small thing, either, since logging roads are a serious contributor to later environmental changes; turns out they affect the movement of larger animals, and encourage recreational vehicles to move deeper into wilderness areas.

What does seem to be the biggest problem, and was mentioned already, is the job destruction that comes with this efficiency: X Family Logging didn't have to hire as many loggers and truck drivers once they got their Timberjack machine. That's some cold, risky, hard work that was also a steady blue-collar paycheck for some people in a somewhat perpetually-depressed rural area. The X Family certainly doesn't owe them a living, of course, but I believe America as a civilization at least owes them the chance at having one, and I hope they were able to find a niche to ply their trade, and that our civilization was able to smooth that transition especially rather than trip it up.
posted by traveler_ at 5:15 PM on November 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


eriko: "Safer for the lumberjacks. The trees? Not so much."

It's kind of an inherent property of wood, that it's not safe for trees?

Maybe I'm in a mood, maybe it's recent meta discussion of "coal country" but this is just a joke, right? Like you're not going to literally treat a tree's life as more important than a lumberjack's because you don't approve of his job?

Now yeah, it's complicated because those lumberjacks are safer in part because one of these machines replaces dozens of lumberjacks. And, I get the majesty of the forest and shit and like I said, maybe I'm just in a mood.
posted by RobotHero at 5:33 PM on November 14, 2015


mitheral: howfar: "The problem, in any industry, is rarely increased efficiency or automation"

That completely dismisses the safety aspect of these machines which is a serious problem for anyone falling manually.


How does the general observation that increased efficiency and automation are not in themselves problematic have any relationship (supportive or dismissive) to the safety aspect of these specific machines? Is there something I'm not understanding in your comment?
posted by howfar at 5:42 PM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


if trees dream we know their nightmares.

If trees ever learn to fight back, we'll be ready for them.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:28 PM on November 14, 2015


Oh man. Enough with this "European Truck Simulator 5" nonsense; I want to play "Tree Farm Denuder Simulator".

Get thee to the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon and play the Timberjack Harvester Simulator. It is exactly what you want. They have a primitive simulation of one of those harvester things, hooked up to what looks for all the world like a real cab from a decommissioned harvester as a controller.

(There is plenty of interesting fun to be had at that museum, I have to say, even as someone who thinks of it as a temple to horror. Kids tend to enjoy it.)
posted by BrunoLatourFanclub at 11:44 PM on November 14, 2015


That forest mower would be perfect for the Zombie Apocalypse.
posted by ninazer0 at 12:07 AM on November 15, 2015


howfar: "
How does the general observation that increased efficiency and automation are not in themselves problematic have any relationship (supportive or dismissive) to the safety aspect of these specific machines? Is there something I'm not understanding in your comment?
"

Sorry. Re-reading your comment I have no idea what my point was or what I thought you were saying in regards to safety.
posted by Mitheral at 7:15 AM on November 15, 2015


Sorry. Re-reading your comment I have no idea what my point was or what I thought you were saying in regards to safety.

:D Not a problem.
posted by howfar at 8:47 AM on November 15, 2015


Good job, metafilter. I had a dream about gridded tree monoculture forests last night.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:33 AM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Farmed pine, at least as I understand it, isn't truly a "monoculture" in the way we think of it in traditional agriculture (e.g., as an underlying cause of the potato famine) because of the other plants that enjoy the managed forest environment. The land has LOTS of shit going on, in terms of both plants and animals, for the duration of the tree life cycle (and for longleaf pine, that's 18-20 years).

At the end, yeah, you get an ugly clearcut and then replant, but there's plenty of stuff that really thrives in that environment, too. (Not for nothing, but deer fucking LOVE young farmed forests.)
posted by uberchet at 3:30 PM on November 15, 2015


This looks like a paper company tree farm

Or your average Swedish forest, which it is. We have a lot of it. Most of it is privately owned.
posted by effbot at 4:01 PM on November 15, 2015


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