inFact have developed in collaboration with Scion scientists and FPInnovations, a heavy-duty remotely controlled robot capable of moving from tree to tree to carry out forest thinning operations safely, in difficult to access areas.
Scion’s scientists have proven that a free-standing, two-armed robot can successfully support its weight and move from tree stem to tree stem. The challenge, for inFact, was to develop a ruggedised functional robot that could be manufactured for large scale deployment in the world’s forests.
Researchers are using this to advance the technology used in forestry to promote safety and forest management in hard to reach places.
The collaboration is now looking at securing the next round of funding to commercialise the product and establish channel partners and manufacturing capability.
Trialling the approach - research as a game changer
Tree to Tree Robot
by Scion & FPInnovations
The remote controlled tree-to-tree ‘swinging’ robot designed to improve the safety of steep land forestry has been recognised with a national engineering award.
Institution of Professional Engineers (IPENZ) // MAR 2014
The project team works side-by-side with the client to ensure product functionality, marketability and usability are resolved through proof of concept prototypes. These are tested and refined to ensure all aspects of the solution are understood, key risks are identified and project goals are achieved.
inFact engineers researched and experimented with a variety of approaches to resolve key technical and engineering challenges, including solving load-bearing equations to ensure the weight to strength ratio is optimised.
Our engineers implemented compliant joints to manipulate tree angles and added a battery-powered forest deployable chainsaw to cut down trees during demonstrations.
The control system was upgraded to provide an industry-standard bus that, will in future connect to industrial-grade actuators and control interfaces.
Scion and FPInnovations engaged inFact to translate general requirements for performance and functionality into the existing robot prototype, enabling it to cut down trees and demonstrate to prospective stakeholders the benefits and advantages of the tree robot.
inFact worked with Scion and FPInnovations to define a development plan and requirements specification to attract funding and market engagement for this project.
The Tree to Tree robot is now validated as a feasible mechanical engineering concept, fit for purpose robot for the forestry environment.
The design incorporates standard technology typically used in forestry equipment manufacturing so that the device can be translated into known manufacturing environments.