If looks count, the Arborist has it. In its new GreenMech livery - now with a touch of grey - it looks modern and slick. But GreenMech has also got the construction right, giving a beefed-up machine with sound engineering yet simple to use. It has also kept those useful handles that help you haul the machine into a safe work position.
Promising generous chipping capacity and aggressive output, the Arborist 200 is big brother to the 150 model and was launched at APF 2016 at Ragley Hall in September. It is the latest in GreenMech's traditional in-line format road-tow chipper range and is rugged. It weighs 1,300kg and rides on a chassis constructed from deep beam, high-tensile steel. The chipper is all metal - no plastic panelling - to keep it robust.
Picking up where the 150 leaves off, the new 200 has a large infeed hopper to reduce snedding time and keep the brash infeed rate up. The tray drops down on piano hinges. There is no top bar. Future-proofing the machine, GreenMech has fitted a bottom bar ready for a pending change in legislation.
Furthermore, the safety bar now has a single function - to stop the rollers. Forward and reverse controls are manual buttons on the side. Yes, buttons. But they are weatherproofed with a rubberised coating and have to be operated with a definite push. They are unlikely to be accidentally triggered.
Beyond the curtain, the infeed throat is 8x11in and has twin horizontal hydraulic rollers to crush woody material and help dispose of heavily forked branches quickly without further reduction. We had a chainsaw at the ready but did not need it. Chipping efficiency is further enhanced by GreenMech's No-Stress system. This patented, electronically controlled system automatically manages the throughput of material, and it really does help.
The 6in discharge chute is curved. It seems to give a smoother flow of chips and perhaps could be less liable to blocking than fabricated chutes. When you open the chute to access the blades and flywheel, a spring-loaded shoot-through pin locks off the flywheel to prevent it turning on you while you work on the blades.
The chipper is powered by a Kubota 1505 turbocharged diesel engine pushing out 45hp. It is protected by insulated panels that are easily removed for maintenance.
What we particularly like from the maintenance point of view is the over-centre clutch. It is a manually operated lever that disengages the drive belts so when you need to spin the flywheel to bring the banks of blades into position for turning you are not fighting the compression of the engine. It makes the task so much easier and safer.
Max diameter material 8in (200mm)
Engine type Kubota four-cylinder turbo diesel
Maximum power 45hp
Roller feed Twin hydraulic motor, horizontal rollers
Infeed chute aperture 1,200x840mm
Infeed throat size 200x280mm
Processing capacity Seven tonnes per hour
Fuel capacity 27 litres
Hydraulic oil capacity 27 litres
Flywheel Disc blade, 15,000rpm, four cuts per revolution
Blades Disc blades
No-stress system Yes
Chip size 14.9mm
Dimensions (LxWxH) 3,990x1,440x2,695mm
List price £21,750 + VAT
Tel GreenMech - 01789 400044
Reviewed - This Issue
- GreenMech Arborist 200
- Forst ST8
- Vermeer BC190XL
- Vermeer BC1000XL
- Timberwolf TW 160PH
- Timberwolf TW 280TFTR
Bridgwater College arborists: working in the industry on part-time study with lecturers and technicians
It is a practical day at Bridgwater College and the arborists have the task of removing a row of leylandii from Richard and Wendy Stirling's garden at Combwich. Work is underway and there are piles of material - just what we need to test the latest woodchippers.
Introduced this year, the GreenMech Arborist 200, Timberwolf TW 160PH and Vermeer BC190XL are road machines. The new Timberwolf TW 280TFTR is a tracked unit, ideal for use by utilities and those needing to cross rough ground. Updated is the Vermeer BC1000XL, a big machine with improvements. Forst is the youngster, a brand that is barely three years old.
After several hours' work on a sunny autumn day, some conclusions could be drawn. All the machines performed well. We had no blockages. All had good working heights and strong infeed chutes. Infeed was smooth for all units, with no testers reporting being whipped by the more slender material. Most testers were uncertain which they would buy. General comments were that all the machines took big timbers and were easy to control. The Timberwolf 160 was favoured by some for its towability and price.