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Vehicle Routing for Forestry
Optrak Forestry is a Vehicle Routing system for use in a forestry environment – specifically in the delivery of felled timber to sawmills, railheads and pulpmills.
Optrak normally uses commercial digital road networks for its mapping. In rural areas this will usually cover all country roads, but forest roads are not normally part of these data sets. Optrak is able to use external digitized road networks and with the internal road network editing tools you can connect these to the main network. It is even possible to maintain the forestry roads entirely within Optrak’s map database.
In Scotland, within the forestry areas, many roads are restricted to timber trucks documented in the Agreed Routes Map (ARM). This designates Agreed Routes, Consultation Routes, Severely Restricted Routes and Excluded Routes. Optrak Forestry has been extended to allow the different road classifications to be superimposed on the road network, ensuring Optrak plans will use the right roads.
Road use frequency restrictions
Sometimes roads may have access frequency restrictions – for example a minimum interval of 60 minutes between usage by a fully laden forest vehicle. This is typically where roads have weak foundations and are laid on peat.
Optrak Forestry can observe these restrictions and ensure vehicle usage is spread out.
A major problem with running large agri-business processing facilities, such as pulp-mills and saw-mills is that they will have many in-bound deliveries per day – possibly hundreds – and queues can occur. If 100 vehicles per day each have to queue 15 minutes at a mill, that is 25 hours lost time – approximately 2 vehicles worth. But for mills even 15 minutes would be a major improvement on current queuing levels.
Optrak allows you to put a limit on the number of vehicles planned to arrive at a site – both mill sites and forest sites. The arrival schedule can be plotted on a chart to quickly view the position.
The image above shows arrivals on site across the day without any imposed restriction. The peak number of arrivals is 12 vehicles, which would cause significant queuing and delay.
The image above shows the same data, but set with a maximum of 4 vehicles at any one time. Note how the arrivals are much more spread out, easing handling.
Different timber products require different vehicle configurations – skeleton frame vehicles for longer lengths, enclosed vehicles for brushwood, self-loading vehicles where there is not a crane in the forest. Different vehicles are required even for the same site, which will be producing quite different products – for example long lengths, brushwood and stumps.
Optrak can cope with the different vehicle types and ensure that the right vehicle is used for the right product.
Forestry operations tend to make significant use of specialist forestry haulage companies. These can vary from large operations with 10s or even 100s of trucks to small family businesses with perhaps only one or two vehicles. Each hauler will have a different home base and it is important to use them, as much as possible, in areas close to that base. This has several benefits: it lowers the haulers operating costs – enabling them to offer a better price, it gives them longer operating shift time – when they can be usefully hauling timber, and overall it is far more ecologically and carbon efficient due to the reduction in empty running mileage.
Optrak can easily take into account multiple home bases for the vehicles and the Optimizer will, as far as possible, allocate work in the hauler’s home area.For more information on how Optrak Forestry can help with your problem please contact us.