Wireless Load Cell Improves Tree Cutting | Construction News

Lane Tree Doctor, an arborist company in Eugene, Ore., uses a wireless 5-ton Radiolink plus load cell when cranes are required to move large and hazardous trees.

The wireless Straightpoint load cell typically combines with rigging equipment and Lane’s 17-ton-capacity boom truck, which offers a small footprint that allows it to setup closer to the work area than a larger crane.

Scott Grecian, owner of Lane Tree Doctor, said: “Like many small-business owners, I seek to maximize the performance of our equipment while working within budgetary constraints. Having accurate weight readings is critical.”

Grecian explained that before each pick, the climber tells the crane operator how much tension to apply to the line before the cut is made.

For example, if a piece of tree section is estimated at 1,000 lbs., the line is tensioned to that amount and when it is cut it is found to weigh 900 pounds. The crane operator then communicates this information to the climber, which helps estimate the weight of the next pick.

“There would only be a small amount of ‘pop’ or bounce when the cut is complete,” said arborist Grecian. “The advantage of this approach is that it minimizes shock loading on the crane and allows for greatly improved estimation of the weight of future cuts, especially when dealing with larger trunk wood.”

Accurate weight readings are also useful when removing sections of tree that are heavily angled, between horizontal and vertical.

Grecian explained: “We have found that if a face cut is made on the top side of such a section of wood and the line is pre-tensioned to a given amount—say, 1,000 pounds again—that when the back cut is executed, the line tension will normally begin to drop as the holding wood is cut. The climber can than communicate to the operator to ‘line up’ to maintain the initial weight reading. This will have the effect of standing such a section of wood up. The result is a very smooth and predictable movement of the removed section of tree.”

Additionally, as the Radiolink plus is wireless, Grecian and his team do not have to consider branch tips snagging with cables, which has been encountered with other technologies leading to costly and time consuming repairs.

He said: “The simplicity of having a handheld display is also an advantage as sometimes the rigger wants to know and record the weight of logs as they go on a truck so as not to overload the vehicle. The inherent nature of our work means the ruggedness and streamlined design of the Straightpoint load cell is also advantageous.”

Grecian concluded: “By taking a systematic approach to the disassembly of trees enabled by accurate weight measurements, we routinely are able to tackle tough projects. Reliable and accurate weight readings are the cornerstone to our work.”