Detailed Problem Statement

                Foliar sampling is a long and very difficult process in the current state. Our goal is to make this process safer, more convenient, and faster. These goals have been derived by observing the current state and many weeks of project learning. In the current state climbers are used to get to the sample which is a very dangerous undertaking; having to cut dead limbs off the tree as the climber ascends the tree using a lanyard and spurs to climb. The tool used for sampling is an extended guillotine style lopper that can, depending on the number of sections, reach up to 30 feet. This lopper can only cut the limb, not grab, making it more difficult to get the sample out of the tree. Depending of the location of neighboring trees a sample may be retrieved from trees being less than 20 feet away.

                Our team has focused the project around the cutting and grabbing sections of this problem, for time and monetary reasons. The basic cutting ideas have for the most been simple and this is a good thing. The design specifications that were handed down from the customer were that it be able to do all of the functions that the current tool has. Such as, being very rugged and durable, and be maintenance free for the most part. This will require simple designs that have as few moving parts as possible.

                Grabbing on the other hand, or on the same hand, as the case may be, runs under the same guidelines.  The grabber must have the ability to grab the sample before cutting and releasing it after it descends or after it is out of the canopy to fall to the ground to be collected later. It must be able to withstand the same abuse as the cutting end but still be light weight enough to make comparable design trade off.

                To extend to the needed branches a pole or extender must be constructed. The goals involved would be to make it lighter, the same length, and have less deflection than the current tool. The design most favored would be a self telescoping pole to reduce size during transport. Deflection is a major concern because of the horizontal reach to other trees needing to be sampled. The current state pole is very long but because of the way it connects the different sections which are not as stable as they should be. At the same time overcoming the moment arm and making the extender more maneuverable in the horizontal direction to reduce strain on the operator.