Versatile equipment the key to cost-effective vegetation management

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Vegetation management is a critical element of a utility’s asset management strategy. However, with maintenance budgets being tightened in many cases, there is a need to find ways to reduce costs while still completing all necessary work to a high standard.

Network operators are under increasing pressure to maintain a large network of, at times, aging infrastructure across both urban and rural areas. Such activities make up a large part of a power utility’s operational expenditure, and funding cuts from both federal and state levels make it increasingly challenging for utilities to undertake adequate vegetation management works.

Vermeer Australia’s National Sales Manager for Environmental Equipment, Craig Baillie said, “The key to being able to provide adequate vegetation management works while working within the constraints of a tighter budget is finding a contractor with highly productive and versatile equipment that will enable them to get more done, quicker, while maintaining a high quality of work.”

Equipment to take on jobs big and small

Contractors with versatile equipment that allows them to take on a wide variety of jobs – including tree pruning, brush removal and hazard tree removal – will be able to increase their productivity and efficiency.

“Vegetation management around power assets typically requires the removal and processing of vegetation both large and small,” Mr Baillie said.

“This means equipment that is able to find a balance between these jobs will provide the most efficiencies. A machine that is too small will increase time and labour costs for larger jobs, and a machine that is too big can be overkill, with a downside of increased fuel costs and reduced site access.

“A machine such as Vermeer’s BC2100XL Wood Chipper is small enough to take on smaller jobs such as brush removal, while also having the capacity and power to take on larger jobs. The efficiency gain here is that it can deal with the larger bits of timber that smaller machines can’t handle, but smaller than a whole tree chipper, which may be too big to be efficient on small jobs.”

Designed for high volume processing, the BC2100XL features a 275hp (205.1 kW) Tier 3 engine, providing enough horsepower to meet jobsite needs, and the combination of the exclusive Vermeer SmartCrush feature and two horizontal feed rollers produce a theoretical 10,000lbs/4536kg of combined pulling force—enough to process large timber consistently.

Larger pieces of timber can also be fed directly into the chipper with the hydraulic winch which is able to lift up to 4000lb/1814kg logs directly onto the feed table.

Leading the way with smart systems

The BC2100XL comes with a number of other features that help boost productivity and efficiency.

“Strain on vital engine parts is reduced by Vermeer’s SmartFeed system. This system monitors engine rpm and senses overloading, automatically stopping or reversing the rollers as needed. The rollers can even be turned independently to turn and re-feed timber at the required orientation.

“The SmartCrush system also helps to improve performance on jobs where larger material needs to be dealt with. This system is designed so that the upper feed roller will automatically increase down pressure on the material once it has been freely raised for four seconds—as happens when larger timber is fed.

This allows the upper feeder to easily climb larger material before providing the pressure required to crush and grip the fed material, to enable maximum infeed force.”

When it comes to operator-centric design features, a 153.7cm feed table keeps the operator further from the chipper drum, and Vermeer’s bottom feed stop bar system offers additional protection.

A radio remote control also allows operators to maintain control of the chipper while using a mini loader to load the machine, with the winch able to be raised out of the way hydraulically to provide better infeed area access.

“At the end of the day, vegetation management helps save lives, property and possessions from bushfires, and reduces the instances of blackouts. The good news is that taking the time to find the right contractor with the right equipment can actually reduce maintenance costs while maintaining the integrity of power assets.”

This partner content is brought to you by Vermeer. For more information, visit www.vermeer.com.au.  

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