(UPM, Valkeakoski, 29 August 2012 at 09:00) – Mechanical planting will take a big step forward once the new planting machine equipped with an automatic seedling feed function has been presented at the FinnMETKO fair held in Jämsä, Finland between 30 August and 1 September, 2012. UPM Forest has developed the new planting machine in co-operation with Risutekniikka Ky.
"The new planting machine has a considerably larger plant container than the planting machines currently in use. More than 2300 plants can be placed in the plant container at a time. This means that the operator only needs to load the container once during a working day, which leaves more time for the actual planting," says Research Co-ordinator Tero Anttila from UPM Wood Sourcing and Forestry Business, North Europe.
"The planting machines that are currently in use require a lot of manual work by the operator. This means that there have been constant interruptions in the planting work. Approximately 15% of the operator's time has been consumed by filling the plant container. The planting machine created by Risutekniikka is the first machine with an automated seedling feed function. Due to the nozzles installed in the planting machine, performing boron fertilising during planting is also possible," says Forest Management Manager Jyri Schildt from UPM Forestry Business.
"It's not enough to have a larger plant container: automation and accurate transferral of plants are also needed," explains Managing Director Jussi Aikala from Risutekniikka.
Improving the productivity of mechanical forestry work is based on automation, performing several phases of work simultaneously, combining different tasks and multi-tree handling. The rapid development of sensory and control technology provides new opportunities for improving planting machines.
"The benefit of mechanical planting is the good and even quality of work. The machine places the plant in the correct location at the mound, in a freshly prepared spot. Forest cultivation can often be finished more quickly when machine planting is used than when ground preparation and planting are performed separately. The time frame for mechanical planting spans from May to the end of September. The long working season and the productivity of the process free professional forest workers to perform other forestry work," Jyri Schildt explains.
UPM is a pioneer in mechanical planting. The company has used machinery to plant trees for 20 years. Forest regeneration follow-up results reveal that planting machines create good quality young forests cost efficiently. This year, UPM will plant almost three million trees in its own and privately owned forests using approximately twenty planting machines. Independent forestry contractors will be responsible for the mechanical planting. "We are constantly looking for new contractors for mechanical forestry work, including machine planting," says Managing Director Jukka Koivumäki from UPM Silvesta.
Link to video presenting the new planting machine: