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Λογότυπος της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής
Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Competitive and environgentle just-in-time forestry

Objectives of the commitment

1) Development, demonstration and evaluation of novel technology enabling
- Increased terrain transport productivity, implying up to 15 % overall productivity increase in forest logging operations. Up to 100% reduction of ground-floor disturbance, providing all-season access to the wood resource.
- Even supply of forestry raw-material over the year.
- Improved operator comfort by reducing whole-body vibrations (>50%), a prerequisite for increased speed.
- Reduced NOx and CO2 emissions by use of electro-hybrid drive-trains.
2) Optimisation of raw-material flow creating higher value along different value chains.
3) Improved wood mobilisation through minimised soil disturbance enabling logging in wetter areas, increased attractiveness to small wood-lot owners.
4) European industry leadership, cross-industry applications and accessibility to the mobility solutions for off-road working machine OEMs.

Description of the activities

Ever since horses and sleighs were replaced by tractors, forwarders on wheels have been used to collect and transport logs from the stump to roads where the logs can be loaded on trucks for further transport. Today, more than 400 million m3 of wood is harvested in Europe and transported this way annually.
Europe’s wood-based industries have been investing in innovation and state-of-the-art technologies to remain competitive to regions with significantly lower labor costs, higher forest growth and milder winter conditions.
The wheeled forwarder has been developing over decades, but lately it has become a major bottleneck, no longer improving on the three main challenges of forest terrain transport:
1. Cost/productivity
2. Accessibility (Seasonal and weather-induced impediment of forwarder mobility)
3. Damages to ground vegetation and soil on the forest-floor
The productivity for the wheeled forwarder concept has stagnated for years while the cost of labor, fuel and the forwarders themselves has increased substantially.
Mobility and accessibility of the wheeled forwarder is limited during wet seasons and in areas where the ground is soft, leading to lack of raw material for the industry. Today, the industry compensates by overproducing seasonally and storing timber in depots. This contributes to increased costs for storage and transports with related environmental effects and reductions of the quality of the stored timber.
The European forest industry also experience an increasing pressure from authorities, forest owners and the general public because of the forest-floor damages caused by wheeled forwarders.
There is a clear need to explore totally new approaches for propulsion and soil contact organs in forest terrain transport, to overcome the weaknesses of the wheeled bogie concept. A unique study by a group of Nordic forest-based companies and BAE Systems Hägglunds has for two years investigated if the tracked technology used for military All-Terrain Vehicles can be adapted and utilized to overcome the current forest terrain transport challenges.
The results from the study show that BAE Systems Hägglunds tracked technology in combination with hybrid electric drive would provide a step-increase for forwarder productivity, dramatically increase raw-material accessibility and to a large extent reduce the ground-floor damages.
Therefore, this project aims to establish a unique co-operation between European Forestry, research institutes, forest machine OEMs and BAE Systems Hägglunds with the purpose of developing and evaluating TRL 6 tracked forwarders in real forestry operations in five European countries: Finland, Germany, Latvia, Sweden and UK.
The project consists of 3 phases spanning over 5-6 years:
1. Definition phase consisting of defining logistical model, main forwarder capabilities, initial modelling and simulation as well as long lead component development and evaluation.
2. Prototype development phase where the OEMs develop completely new tracked forwarders, where Hägglunds develops the critical sub-systems track system and hybrid electric drive.
3. Field evaluation phase, where TRL 6 forwarders are manufactured for operational forestry evaluation. The research institutes eg Skogforsk, Silava and others will evaluate the performance of the tracked forwarders with respect to productivity, accessibility and ground-floor damage, but also with respect to other important system effects as e.g. the potential for reducing the length of purpose built timber truck roads and the effects on the wood flow.

Description of the expected impacts

Bio-based industry:
Improved access and mobilization of the forest wood resource for the bio-based industry in the EU. Improved access will facilitate an even supply of raw material and improved logistics entailing new possibilities for the partners along the value chain.
Provides a just-in-time flow of high quality raw-material.
Increased quality and reduced need for depots and related extra transports.
Radically improved productivity in forest operations (up to 15%), implying a major step towards Vision Target 2 of the European Forest-based Sectors Vision for 2030.

Machine manufacturers:
Improved innovation system through collaborative innovation and R&D in the value chain (customers, users, manufacturers, researchers, EU) resulting in a lower threshold for implementation of new technology on low volume markets. This in turn strengthens the competitiveness of European manufacturing industry including off-road machinery, fostering cross-industrial applications for OEMs and for sub-suppliers.

The forest owners:
Securing the return on investment for the forest asset.
Radically improved productivity in forest operations (up to 15%).
Major reduction of soil disturbance (up to 100%).
Reduced costs for forest roads.

Machine owners/operators:
Forest machines meeting bio-industry and forest owner’s expectations.
Evening of the work flow due to better access to the sites around the year.
Fuel consumption reduction.
Reduced stress and fatigue on the operator.

The public:
Better preserve the aesthetic value of managed forest to benefit eco-tourism and personal recreation.
Industry competitiveness increases and facilitates the transition towards the bio-based economy. Potential conflicts between forestry and conservation/recreation are reduced.
Reduced emissions and carbon footprint.

Coordinating organisation & role

Name of the coordinating organisation: SCA Skog ABCountry: SwedenEntity profile: Private sector - large companyRole within the commitment:

Coordinator of the commitment. Member of the steering group, work groups and overall project manager. Field testing of prototypes and evaluating of the performance.

Other partners

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V.

Name of the organisation: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V. Country: Germany Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: Fraunhofer will lead the CFRP and GFRP recycling research.
Fraunhofer will perform corrosion tests on the developed materials.
Fraunhofer will work with CIDAUT on the implementation, validation and refinement of LCCA tools for the project. Fraunhofer is the Quality Manager of the Consortium and will oversee deliverables and general reporting are produced with the best possible quality following agreed review standards.

Fundacion Cidaut

Name of the organisation: Fundacion Cidaut Country: Spain Entity profile:
Role within the commitment: CIDAUT will lead the research activities on materials recycling and compounding, implementing lab scale demonstrators of each process at its premises and, later, supporting end-users upscale the processes.
CIDAUT will perform mechanical tests, microstructural analyses, injection moulding capability studies on the developed materails, and will work with Fraunhofer on the implementation, validation and refinement of LCCA tools for the project.

RWTH Aachen University (Institute of plastic processing (IKV)

Name of the organisation: RWTH Aachen University (Institute of plastic processing (IKV) Country: Germany Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: RWTH will implement the novel 3D Generative Preforming process (3D Fibre Spraying) that enables to create high-value long fibre-reinforced 3D preforms for thermoplastic and thermoset composites at low process costs (different kinds of yarn as a raw material, low tooling costs due to low cavity pressures). This cost effective technology allows to align the sprayed fibres in order to produce high-performance, engineered anisotropic products.

Universita' di Cagliari

Name of the organisation: Universita' di Cagliari Country: Italy Entity profile:
Role within the commitment: University of Cagliari is one of the leading European organization in the resin design and coupling with thermoplastic and thermose materials. University of Cagliari will support in the definition of the composite materials, both from CFRP/GFRP, ABS and Rare Earth composite material.

Relight

Name of the organisation: Relight Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: RELIGHT will work with ITRB to provide the research partners with residues for the recycled ABS supply and the REE recovery processes, including their HydroWEEE process as part of the processes to be studied and analyzed.

Piaggio Aerospace

Name of the organisation: Piaggio Aerospace Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - large company
Role within the commitment: Piaggio Aerospace is one of the project End Users (Aeronautics Industry): as such it will provide requirements and further applications that could be developed with the Consortium Materials. Piaggio will assist in the compounds selection, provide Fraunhofer with specific corrosion requirements on business jet size aircraft, and will assess that the developed materials performance fits the selected applications desired improvements.

Blackshape Aircrafts

Name of the organisation: Blackshape Aircrafts Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: Blackshape Aircrafts is one of the project End Users (Aeronautics Industry): as such it will provide requirements and further applications that could be developed with the Consortium Materials. Blackshape will support to fulfill the requirements of the aeronautics industry on ultra light jet, light jet and trainer for Syllabus, and will assess that the developed alloys performance fits the selected applications desired improvements.

KU Leuven

Name of the organisation: KU Leuven Country: Belgium Entity profile: Academia
Role within the commitment: KUL will collaborate on the balance problem studies and will lead the rare earth recovery research with the solvometallurgical and ionometallurgical processes.
KUL will also contribute to the final compounding selection.
KUL is the Dissemination Manager of the project, promoting that all partners are active on the project Dissemination.

FIDAMC

Name of the organisation: FIDAMC Country: Spain Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: FIDAMC is going to lead the Work Package on Compression Moulding with CFRP-enhanced materials. As part of the AIRBUS Group, FIDAMC will also be able to provide the input material.
FIDAMC successfully developed a 3D Printer of own design to serve the Aerospace Industry and will be supporting Smart Lab 3D Industries in its 3D printer design.

COMPOSITE INNOVATION CENTER

Name of the organisation: COMPOSITE INNOVATION CENTER Country: Canada Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: Composite Innovation Center is one of the world leading organization in the field of Composite materials, both from carbon fiber and vegetal-based fibers.
Composite Innovation center has successfully implemented, at lab-scale, recycling processes for CFRP and GFRP.

Existing EU Contribution: No

Period to implement the commitment: from 03-02-2014 to 31-12-2019