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Spinelli R.,CNR Tree and Timber Institute | Cavallo E.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Earthmoving Machines | Facello A.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Earthmoving Machines
Fuel Processing Technology | Year: 2012

The authors tested a chipper prototype adopting a new comminution device, designed to produce high quality chips when processing delimbed logs. The machine was fitted with innovative tubular blades, mounted on a flywheel. The prototype was powered by a 55 kW farm tractor through the standard power take-off. The machine appeared as efficient as most conventional disc or drum chippers in the same size class, but offered a much better chip quality. Chips were free from any particles longer than 45 mm, and with a very limited content of fine particles (max. 2.5%). Of course, this was achieved when using premium wood raw material, such as delimbed small logs. Performance varied with tree species: poplar was the softest and easiest to chip, whereas robinia was the hardest and required a much larger effort. Diesel fuel consumption varied between 3.4 and 4.3 dm 3 per oven-dry tonne. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Ferrari E.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Earthmoving Machines | Spinelli R.,CNR Tree and Timber Institute | Cavallo E.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Earthmoving Machines | Magagnotti N.,CNR Tree and Timber Institute
Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research | Year: 2012

While motor-manual short-wood harvesting still dominates Italian forest operations, there is a growing interest to introduce mechanization in order to reduce logging costs and increase work safety and comfort. Against this background, a survey was conducted for determining the attitudes of North Italian logging contractors towards mechanized Cut-to-Length (CTL) technology and to evaluate the potential of machine simulators when introducing mechanized harvesting for prospective users. A total of 90 persons were interviewed, after they tested a forwarder simulator; 74 interviews were valid and accepted into the study for statistical analysis. This sample was younger and contained a larger proportion of employers compared with the overall population of North Italian logging contractors. Respondents are aware of the significant potential of mechanized CTL technology, and of its notable safety benefit. People working with firewood seem to be keener than the others. The main obstacles to the expansion of mechanized CTL technology in Italy are financial, rather than technical. Harvester manufacturers trying to increase their sales in Italy may want to focus on simplified low-cost machines, suitable for application to general purpose prime movers and especially designed for firewood contractors. They should also target younger contractors, who are more familiar with computer technology. Forest machine simulators can help introducing CTL technology to Italy, but one needs to think about new ways to deploy them. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Ferrari E.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Earthmoving Machines | Cavallo E.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Earthmoving Machines
Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health | Year: 2013

Workspace characteristics affect the perceived comfort level of the operator, and uncomfortable working conditions have been found to have a negative impact on productivity and safety. The comfort of the operator is increasingly recognized by manufacturers as a product's added value. Comfort can positively distinguish a product and increase its competitiveness. The concept of comfort is controversial, and a clear operational definition is missing. Nevertheless, it is widely accepted that comfort is a subjective phenomenon that can be evaluated by the final users. In this study, comfort aspects of the tractor workspace interior (i.e., the cab) were investigated. Users with various levels of expertise and two medium-power utility tractors of different brands were used in a 2×2 mixed-factorial experimental design. Participants were involved in a dynamic assessment of the cabs, and their opinions about the different workspaces were collected through a questionnaire. Additionally, objective measurements were taken on both tractors, and subjective data were compared with objective data. Results indicate significant differences in terms of the ease of locating and operating the controls (i.e., rear-mounted three-point linkage, hydraulic system, and power take-off), the ease of starting the tractor, the ease exiting the cab, the required level of concentration in executing the tasks, the adequacy of lateral visibility from the driving station, and the level of noise at the operator's position. This article provides guidance for improving the comfort of tractor workspace interiors. Agricultural machinery manufactures would benefit from research results, differentiating themselves from competitors. ©2013 ASABE ISSN 1074-7583.

Spinelli R.,CNR Tree and Timber Institute | Magagnotti N.,CNR Tree and Timber Institute | Paletto G.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Earthmoving Machines | Preti C.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Earthmoving Machines
Silva Fennica | Year: 2011

A study was conducted to determine the effect of some wood characteristics such as species, moisture content and tree part on the performance and product quality offered by a mobile industrial chipper, of the type commonly used for roadside chipping. Two main species, two tree parts and two moisture content levels were combined in a factorial design yielding 8 treatments, each replicated 5 or 6 times. A flow meter was installed on the chipper engine, and all chips produced were weighed and sampled for moisture content and particle size distribution. The results indicated that some wood characteristics such as species and moisture content have a secondary effect on chipper productivity and fuel consumption, which are primarily controlled by piece size. In particular, fuel consumption per unit dry mass seem to be rather constant and in the range of 3.2 l per oven dry ton. Moisture content and tree part may have a significant effect on the particle size distribution of chips. Of course, these results were only verified for the species used in the test and for industrial chippers, and may change if substantially different species or machines are used.

Cavallo E.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Earthmoving Machines | Ferrari E.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Earthmoving Machines | Bollani L.,University of Turin | Coccia M.,CNR Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth | Coccia M.,Maastricht University
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2014

Agricultural system has a significant application of technology innovations, such as agricultural tractors, which are the most important and widespread machine in this industry. The behaviour of tractors' users, concerning the introduction and adoption of innovative characteristics, has received low attention. The study here analyses the attitude and opinion of a sample of Italian users of agricultural tractors, concerning some innovations, to outline different profiles of behaviour. The sample is based on 228 farmers, contractors and employees, participating at International Exhibition of Agricultural Machinery. Data are analysed by Multiple Correspondence Analysis and Cluster Analysis. The results show three separate groups of adopters of agricultural tractors by their attitude towards technological innovations in these vital machines: the "Unwilling" users, neither use innovative tractors, nor would like to have tractors equipped with new technological innovations, the "Willing-Cultural" users have traditional machines but would like to have innovative tractors in the future, and the "Innovative-Owner" adopters have and use ground-breaking tractors. In particular, the "Unwilling" category identifies a not negligible market for manufacturers, requesting very essential tractors without any innovative features. The "Innovative-Owner" category, by a market pull model, can support the technological trajectory of the tractors' manufacturers due to their high degree of adoption of new technologies and interest in further new innovations. The attitude by "Willing-cultural" users may originate an additional trajectory of innovation for tractors and a new business opportunity for manufacturers, based on low cost or simplified version of complex innovative features in tractors. These different profiles can be useful to manufactures and innovation developers to better identify target-adopters, to develop innovations that satisfy needs of wide segments of adopters, and speed up technology transfer. Furthermore, the knowledge of these profiles could be useful for policymakers to support fruitful policy in agricultural systems. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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