A Keto Harvester Head in Action is an Impressive Sight
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Floating Upside-Down Tree -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Floating Upside-Down Tree

On my deep-mountain scooter ride deep in the mountains north of Kyoto the other day, I came across something I hadn't quite expected, a tree floating upside-down flying across a small valley between two local peaks.

Tree Had Approached From The East -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/1600 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Tree Had Approached From The East
It Dangled Above -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/8000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
It Dangled Above
Gently Let Down Here -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/4, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Gently Let Down Here
Take'Er Away worker signals wire-crane operator -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/4, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Take'Er Away
worker signals wire-crane operator
Wire Crane Operator he's there, but you have to look carefully -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/1000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Wire Crane Operator
he's there, but you have to look carefully
Part of The “Crane” its wires spanned hundreds of meters across a valley -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Part of The “Crane”
its wires spanned hundreds of meters across a valley
Time To Turn This Tree Into Logs -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm — 1/800 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Time To Turn This Tree Into Logs

(By the way, I wonder whether the large cone-shaped tree behind the backhoe is the same pseudo-cedar discussed in “Deep In The Mountains Above Kyoto's Kumogahata Village”, but without the branch pruning done by the tree farmers....?)

Employing “The Claw” -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/4, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Employing “The Claw”
Keto 150 Harvester Head from Sweden -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Keto 150 Harvester Head
from Sweden

This thing this was absolutely amazing to watch....

First, Lop Off The End Piece with a nice clean, square cut via the built-in chainsaw -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
First, Lop Off The End Piece
with a nice clean, square cut via the built-in chainsaw

Picking up the action with a different log...

Lopping off the End Piece -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Lopping off the End Piece

Then the claws open slightly and the internal knobby-teeth tracks spin, shooting the massive log out the end of The Claw at an impressive pace, stopping after exactly four meters are exposed...

Coming At You -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Coming At You
One Freshly-Minted Four-Meter Log at your service -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
One Freshly-Minted Four-Meter Log
at your service

It took 8 seconds from cut to cut. The tree is then ejected a further four meters, and 8 seconds after the previous cut...

Log #2 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Log #2

... and 8 seconds later...

Log #3 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Log #3

The remains of this short tree weren't appropriate for the log pile he was deftly adding them to, so he put the remaining logs in a different pile, and tossed the very top part onto yet another pile. Everything was sorted and stacked in neat and orderly piles.

The entire harvester head can spin and pivot forward/backward and right/left with impressive speed, dexterity, and precision. It immediately brought to mind a mix of some kind of video game, with the climactic hanger scene from Aliens...

Like A Scene From Aliens you half expect Sigourney Weaver to be in there -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Like A Scene From Aliens
you half expect Sigourney Weaver to be in there
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos

The operator was clearly very skilled, and I was filled with the same “I can't quite follow along in real time” bewilderment one gets when trying to follow an experienced magician work a deck of cards. I would be hard pressed to work a stack of pencils with my hands as deftly as he worked the tree with that machine.

The operator was a pleasant young guy with one of those easy smiles that beams from his whole face, so I really wanted to take his portrait, but sadly, he declined with a “moi? that'd be embarrassing!” look, so this is the closet we'll get...

The Operator -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
The Operator

The harvester head can even de-limb the trees, as one side has pincer-looking curved blades that close around the trunk, so when the trunk is being ejected out one end, any tree branches on the trunk are cut off on the other...

Business End -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Business End
Ejector Treads ( for lack of the proper term ) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Ejector Treads
( for lack of the proper term )

These treads are the answer to the What's the Point of This “What am I?” Quiz? from the other day.

Retractable Chain Saw -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Retractable Chain Saw
Sawdust a'Flyin -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Sawdust a'Flyin
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/640 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

It was truly impressive to watch. If you search for “Keto harvester head” you'll find plenty of videos of them in action. I watched this one with Anthony, to which he replied that it seemed a bit sad for the trees. I understand the feeling, but tried to put it into perspective that it's a tree farm, and would he feel sad to watch someone pick carrots? Both are plants, but trees do feel special, don't they?

Here's another video, this time showing testing of a new model.

Continued here...


All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

I wonder whether the ‘large, cone-shaped tree’ is one selected for seed-production and hence left unpruned ? It does look to be another Cryptomeria/sugi.

— comment by Peter in Wales on June 25th, 2011 at 6:28pm JST (6 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I saw a Discovery Channel clip on one of these harvesters and was mesmerized by the speed and efficiency. So different to the manual cutting that I grew up around (the paper industry owns huge areas of forest in northern Wisconsin). My gadget side says, “WANT!” but I think my wife would be upset if I cut down everything in our garden…

— comment by JasonP on June 26th, 2011 at 9:08pm JST (6 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Wow. The claw has a great paint job. reminds me of…Optimus Prime?

— comment by Andrew Shieh, Sunnyvale on June 29th, 2011 at 8:08am JST (6 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Great picks good to see how other people do this job. As you say the operator is very skilled,I run the same unit in the south of England and it took me at least 2 weeks before anything of any use could be produced.
Not shown in photo’s but for the gadget mad out there it has a total of 22 function buttons (operated by fingers and thumbs while still driving the excavator) and will measure and cut to within 5mm of reqired length.
The reason Keto use tracks ( ejector treads)on some models is it enables the head to trim twisted timber a bit better and also it wont mark like studded wheels do.
Sad i am ?
Thanks for very interesting photo’s

— comment by Viv Swaffer on April 22nd, 2012 at 5:38pm JST (5 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink
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