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Sophistication abounds in the world of chainsaws. The past 12 months have seen several new models, each with an increased level of technology to improve performance for forestry workers, tree-care professionals, landscapers and home users.
For the professional and the skilled homeowner, Husqvarna's 560XP has been designed with felling and de-limbing in mind. It boasts an optimised power-to-weight ratio - it weighs 5.4kg and its 59.8cc engine has a 3.5kW (4.7hp) output.
Husqvarna understands that regular forestry workers need an easy-to-handle and ergonomic chainsaw that still has a high rate of power. At the same time, the saw must be able to accelerate quickly to work well during tasks such as de-limbing. The company believes it has met these demands with a number of special features.
It has integrated RevBoost technology into this new saw to create rapid acceleration and a high chain speed. The 560XP also has AutoTune to automatically compensate for factors such as fuel type, humidity, temperature, altitude and clogged air filter, creating an optimal air mixture so that the engine can perform at its best regardless of the conditions.
Using Husqvarna's X-torq technology, the engine provides increased power and torque in relation to lower weight. At the same time, fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 20 per cent and emissions cut by up to 75 per cent.
Ergonomic features include a new handle design, shifting the centre of gravity closer to the handles, and a slimmed-down body design to make the machine more manoeuvrable when de-limbing. The 560XP also features distinct felling marks, a fuel-level window and "boot grip" on the rear handle to aide starting the saw. To make servicing easier, including chain replacement, it has captive bar nuts so they cannot be lost.
Suited to professional forestry workers and demanding occasional users who want an easily manoeuvrable pro-level chainsaw, the new MS241 C-M from STIHL has been designed for harvesting small wood, thinning, tree maintenance and tending young stands, but it is equally suitable for cutting firewood.
The MS241 C-M is fitted with a low-emission 2-MIX fuel-saving engine (42.6cc with 2.2kW output), future-proofing the chainsaw with upcoming EU emissions standards. According to STIHL, this engine cuts running costs by using up to 20 per cent less fuel yet delivers excellent drive power, responsive pick-up and plenty of torque.
The engine also features STIHL M-Tronic technology. This fully electronic engine management system makes it self-tuning. No more manual carburettor adjustments - M-Tronic automatically adjusts ignition timing and fuel supply to take account of variables such as external temperatures and fuel quality. It automatically compensates for ethanol admixtures of up 25 per cent (E25).
Maintenance has been simplified by including a new long-life air filter system with pre-separation and a newly developed HD2 air filter that lasts substantially longer than its predecessor. Access is through a one-piece shroud held by three quick-release locks. And when it comes to changing the chain, the sprocket cover nuts are captive, so you cannot lose them in the woods.
The new professional-grade anti-vibration system reduces vibrations on the MS241 C-M to just 2.9m/s2, so users can work comfortably throughout a normal eight-hour day.
For private users and farmers who want to cut firewood, thin and fell small trees or carry out general landscape maintenance, STIHL has introduced the MS231 and MS231 C-BE - the latter with ErgoStart and Quick Chain Tensioning.
Equipped with STIHL's 2-MIX fuel-saving engine and having clean air and mix ports combined into a single port, the MS231 is compact in size. It has the pre-separation filter seen on the larger MS241 and one-part shroud with screw fastening. Notably, this is the first low-profile saw with carbide cutters as standard - the STIHL Picco Duro chain, with cutting teeth that stay sharp for up to four times as long as those on a standard chainsaw.
Also new from STIHL are the MS251 and MS251 C-BE top range saws for property maintenance. Ideal for farmers, landscapers or private users who want an easy-to-maintain saw for a variety of tasks, including cutting firewood and timber construction, it shares many of the advanced features of the MS231 but has a 45.6cc 2-MIX engine and Rapid Micro Comfort chain.
With a wide customer base from homeowner to farmer, Emak UK has introduced the Efco MT-440 with optimum power-to-weight ratio and cutting performance for jobs including de-limbing, pruning and felling medium-sized trees.
Fitted with a 42.9cc engine developing 2.1kW (2.9hp), it weighs in at 4.3kg. The saw features digital coil and electronic control for variable ignition and can reduce the rate at which fuel is burned. It also has an aluminium adjustable oiler to facilitate oil-feed variation to match the nature of use and the bar/chain combination. There is zero oil flow when the engine is idling.
Starting is made easier by a decompression valve and there is also a primer so that fuel mixture can be actively drawn into the carburettor. The on/off switch, choke and half-throttle control are incorporated into a single multifunction lever.
Other features on include lateral chain tensioning, double bucking spike and an anti-vibration system that uses three spring dampers and two rubber stops between the handle and the engine.