University project to make harvesting easier for forestry industry

University of Waikato graduate student, Ben McGuinness, has developed a system that automates the lifting and grading process of seedlings for forestry planting by using a robotic machine.

"Lifting and grading pine seedlings with a machine poses many challenges and it's not something that's been attempted before," Ben says. "The main problem in forestry nursery processes is harvesting and grading seedlings before they're planted out – which is where the lifter/grader can come in."

The idea for the lifter/grader came when tree-stock company ArborGen needed help with the lifting and grading process of their seedlings.

The first prototype of the machine uses two cameras to analyse a seedling, particularly its stem thickness and root structure, to then determine its viability for selling to the forestry industry.

Click here for source (University of Waikato)

Photo: University of Waikato