Sensor Technology Devises Tree Safety Solution

Sensor Technology has drawn upon its LoadSense product line and practical expertise to provide a viable solution to the issue of roadside tree management.

Sensor Technology’s LoadSense simplifies the process of testing the strength and viability of tree roots.

Trees can transform a roadside verge, townscape, or recreation space with their beauty and their ability to capture carbon dioxide.  But they also present a potential hazard: if they fall, they could block a vital highway or even kill someone.

To prevent such incidents, tree professionals regularly test the strength and viability of roadside trees’ roots, usually by fixing a sling around the trunk and giving it a good tug with a tractor!

“This procedure lacks some finesse,” observes Tony Ingham of Sensor Technology, who has been working on ways to improve the technique.

“The basic idea is to put a strain gauge in line with the sling, then convert the readout from Newtons to a wind speed equivalent. This is perfectly achievable, but the concept needs refining to make it attractive enough to become widely adopted.”

Tractor crews, he points out, will not want to spend time setting up instruments, taking and recording readings, and then set about making complex calculations. If they can’t rope up a tree, give it a pull, and move onto the next one in a matter of minutes, they won’t be interested.

Sensor Technology realized it could simplify the solution with its LoadSense range. Ingham continues: “This is actually an intelligent cargo hook for helicopter pilots who need to transport underslung carry loads. This may seem like a different world, but the concept is that the hook has on-board electronics for measuring the load and a wireless transmitter for sending the live data to a nearby PC or custom-built handheld readout.”

The company replaced the hook with one that’s more suited to tree work, recalibrated the strain gauge, and wrote new software appropriate to the job at hand. The procedure entails pulling the tree until the first suggestion of movement, with the load force being automatically displayed as wind speed and a pass/fail signal.

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