Productivity and costs in biomass chipping operations

Francesco Neri, Franco Piegai


Many Italian logging companies produce substantial amounts of wood - chips. Chip is usually a product obtained from less valuable trees and residuals.
The aim of the Italian and European companies is to transform a low value residue into an industrial product.
This paper describes chipping operations in 3 different sites in Tuscany (Central Italy):
1. Pisa - selective cut of poplar and Italian stone pine;
2. Pisa - Calambrone: clearcut and chipping of a burned area of maritime pine;
3. Pisa - Santa Luce: vegetation clearcut and chipping of the river «Fine» banks.
Two different chip extraction systems were used: tractors with trailer and container, chipforwarder with an integral chip bin.
The main aim of the study was to give a survey of the working systems and the methods in chipping operations
and to analyse chipping times, productivity and costs.
The results show that to increase chipping time, productivity and to reduce costs it is necessary to:
– organize chipping as soon as possible after cutting operations to have an easier work with the integral loader;
– bunch timber along the extraction trails to reduce chipforwarder movements and increasing chipping time;
– use 1 or 2 tractors with container on trailer for chip extraction instead of the chipforwarder with its integral chip
bin, especially for long extraction distances (more than 500 metres);
– drive the chipforwarder on the extraction trails to spend less time for movements and to reduce soil impact.


biomass; mechanization; Alps, harvester; cost.

Full Text: PDF (Italiano)


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