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ACC gives financial boost to Kiwi tech company protecting logging workers

Newshub logo Newshub 4 days ago Wilhelmina Shrimpton
a person sitting at a table in front of a computer: Watch: The technology has cut scaling time from around 40 minutes per truck to just four-and-a-half. © Newshub Watch: The technology has cut scaling time from around 40 minutes per truck to just four-and-a-half.

ACC is pumping millions of dollars into new technology that's protecting forestry and port workers across New Zealand.

The Kiwi innovation eliminates the need for staff to climb over trucks to accurately measure logs. 

It's our third-biggest export earner, but logging also comes with a big cost.

"Last year there were around 17,000 ACC claims for the forestry industry costing $75 million," ACC impact fund advisor George Adams says.

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Log scaling contributed to the figure significantly.

Injuries easily occur when workers are climbing ramps to individually scan and measure each log with a ruler. 

It's normally gruelling and time-consuming, but not any more as a result of new automated scanning technology. 

The technology by Kiwi company Robotics Plus has cut scaling time from around 40 minutes per truck to just four-and-a-half. 

"It starts at the back-end of the truck and works forward and it scans each face of the logs... and then we apply some machine learning algorithms that do the scaling or the circumference of the log," co-founder Steve Saunders said.

Port logistics company ISO Limited's general manager Neil Weber told Newshub they have previously had "slips, trips and falls type of injury... but there's always that risk of a big fall".

But since they first introduced Robotics Plus' technology in 2018, it's reduced scaling-related injuries to zero. 

While workers are kept safe, so too are their jobs. 

"This is about robots helping us to do the supply chain better," Weber said.

ISO Limited now has 11 scaling machines across five of its sites and it's so successful ACC is investing up to $15 million into the technology from its new $50 million impact fund. 

It's an investment Robotics Plus will use to take its innovation to the world and to help companies like ISO Limited keep on trucking. 

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