Care and feeding of log yard debris
The following suggestions are simply that, "suggestions". They are meant to increase the quality and quantity of recovered products as well as lower our processing rates. In other words a properly maintained log yard decreases wear and tear on log handling equipment, increases the value of recovered products and increases our production levels which allows us to reduce our rates. Everybody wins!
Please be aware we have processed log yard debris for 16 years from Omac, Washington to Weaverville California from Tillamook to Elgin, Oregon. We have seen it all, good and bad.
Log yard debris left in log bays is ground into fines, then when the rains come it turns into mush. Water cannot drain from the road bed. When an 80,000 pound log loader carrying 60,000 pounds of logs travels over water logged debris water is driven into the road bed at extreme pressure loosening the base rock and extruding it up through the debris. Ruts are formed which trap more water which is then driven deeper into the road bed If this condition continues the result is predictable, eventually loaders get stuck and are pulled out with a dozer or another loaders, transmissions, differentials and finals are subdued to double or triple normal loads, towers are fractured from uneven load transfer as the machines bob back and forth wading through mounds and valleys. This is typically when some-one decides to clean up the debris, scooping it up, water, rock and all and depositing it into a pile. This debris has a higher percentage of fines which reduces the value of recovered products (fine bark is always less valuable that coarse bark and is much heavier increasing transport costs) and rock that should have been left on the roadbeds. Debris that is high in fines content that is stock piled when wet STAYS WET! Typically when stock piling the loader drives up on the pile to stack higher and reduce the area needed to stock pile the debris. This compacts the debris holding in the moisture and increasing the heat generated as the bark decomposes, generating fires and increasing the percentage of fines. We are forced to increase our processing rates due to wet material, higher percentage of fines and higher percentage of rock. Our equipment is most efficient when processing dry debris with 5 to 15% rock and 30 to 50% fines (½" minus). The farther the debris ranges from these percentages the lower our production levels and the higher our rates.
In a perfect world the following guidelines would be adopted.
- Log yard debris would be cleaned off the roadbed of the bays as the logs are removed.
- Any low spots in roadbeds where water may accumulate are filled in with clean (void of bark and wood) rock.
- Soft areas are excavated and refilled with clean rock (void of bark and wood).
- All debris is stock piled only as high as the loader can reach from flat ground. No equipment is allowed to drive up onto the pile.
- All manageable log chunks are removed from the debris.
- If a fire occurs the fire is dug out of the pile, spread and watered down (spraying water onto the pile almost never gets to the fire and only serves to add weight to the debris on top, compressing the debris that is already hot holding in the heat and expanding the fire).
We all know we dont live in a perfect world and some of these guidelines may not be possible. But the closer you get to this perfect world the more money you will save out of your budget for the important things like maintaining and purchasing equipment.
For comments or further information please contact Mark Gilham at 503-550-2034 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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