Winching is among the most common logging techniques in small-scale forestry, but it is inefficient and hard on the operators. The authors conducted a comparative test to determine the benefits of introducing an auxiliary winch that automatically returned the winch cable to the loading site. Such device would make it unnecessary for a crew member to walk down to the winch and pull the cable back to the loading site. The tests were conducted in central Italy, on the Tuscan hills. The study involved six volunteers, who were meant to cover a wide range of age and physical fitness characteristics and were considered representative of the regional logging workforce. Physiological workload was determined by measuring the operators’ heart rate for a half-day individual work session. Performance was determined by stop-watching all winching cycles, with and without the auxiliary winch. The auxiliary winch improved the efficiency of downhill winching, allowing operation by two workers only, instead of three. Winching cost decreased between 20 and 35%, while physiological workload decreased between 7 and 30%, depending on the operator.
Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research / Vol. 31, No. 6, pp.602-610