TimberLink is a software application designed for monitoring the performance and conditions of John Deere’s harvesters. It is aimed at contractors, machine operators and maintenance staff to improve harvester productivity, fuel consumption and availability.
Machine monitoring is becoming more and more important as a tool to improve overall machine performance. Off-the-shelf products can be used or some machine manufacturers develop their own software that is specifically designed to optimise their own machines. John Deere has produced their own software, called TimberLink.
TimberLink measures the harvester’s performance from log to log. Relevant information is taken from the harvester’s control system. The aim is to be able to continuously monitor various components in the harvester, which will enable the user to quickly react to changes in the harvester’s performance. The modern harvester operator has to consider many factors while he or she operates. TimberLink will assist the operator through its monitoring functions. TimberLink will also be able to assist with the training requirements for operators and form part of a continuous improvement programme to improve operator’s skills.
TimberLink divides the harvesting process into two parts:
Tree selection and other time – This covers driving in the stand and operating the boom until the tree is cut. TimberLink measures the time and fuel consumption for each step of the tree selection process.
Tree processing time – TimberLink also monitors the time required for the different processing steps, as well as the fuel consumption when processing different sized trees. The aim is to increase processing time as a percentage of the machine time.
An overview of some of the important information is as follows:
Trend graphs that show changes in the harvesters performance. The tree size is taken into account to make trends more accurate.
Base graphs are bar charts that show current performance per tree size and compares it to earlier reference data
This harvester monitoring tool attempts to ensure that the machine is optimised from both the technical side, as well as the operator skills. Obviously if the harvester is in good condition and operating as it should, as well as being well operated, we will achieve the highest productivity. For example, feed and cutting is mostly dependant on machine condition, while boom operation is mostly dependant on operator technique. Settings on the harvester must also be suited to the specific operator and to different operating conditions (such as tree size).
Source: TimberLink Quick Guide and www.johndeere.com