There has always been a vast choice of woodchippers and shredders available in the UK. But now, surprisingly, the choice is getting even bigger.
Only a decade ago market analysts were questioning the ability of the market to sustain the number of suppliers, brands and models offered in the UK. It was felt that something must "give", that there would be mergers and take-overs and that some companies would surely succumb to market forces and disappear. However, this has not been the case. Today there are more companies than ever, offering more brands and more models than ever.
There are a number of factors behind what is, in effect, the growing market for chippers and shredders. High costs associated with the disposal of waste material and the opportunities for recycling have seen many contractors, who might previously have tipped waste, invest in machinery to process waste into products useful for surfacing or composting.
New customers have also helped to swell the market. In nurseries we are finding shredders tackling the processing of waste material and, as interest grows in woodchips as fuel, all kinds of businesses are investing in machinery to chip timber and waste wood.
And then there is the effect of rising fuel and labour costs. Leaving chipped or shredded material on site is increasingly popular, and if it has to be moved then it makes sense to reduce it first and make fewer trips. Difficulties in finding staff has also caused many organisations, including private gardens and estates, to rethink how they can reduce the handling of waste materials.
The result is now a market that is almost confusing in the number and types of products it offers. We have always known that timber products go through a chipper and soft material goes through a shredder. Combination machines with two infeeds for the different material have been available for some time, but now an increasing number claim to take both material types through the same feed. In complete contrast, we are also seeing the introduction of machines designed for specific purposes such as working on steep inclines.
There are high-capacity machines for large volumes, small chipper-shredders for lower workloads, narrow equipment for tight entrances, as well as units that can: be towed or truck-mounted, stand-alone or work from the back of a tractor; be gravity or hydraulically fed, or loaded by crane/conveyor; that cut with discs or knives, shred with hammers or pulverise with worm screws. The choice is vast.
A recent introduction, from Salsco, is a machine that combines a 125mm chipping capability with shredding and vacuuming features.
At the moment, there are more than 30 brands of professional chipper on the market and, again, this provokes the question of whether the market can sustain so many.
Certainly, competition is keeping manufacturers on their toes. They are working hard to improve equipment, develop new technologies for the future and offer better services. Competition is also holding prices relatively static, so whether you are a tree-maintenance contractor or a professional gardener, now is probably a good time to buy.
1. BEARCAT TURNTABLE CHIPPER
Having taken over the distribution of US-built BearCat products last year, Echo is now offering a range of chippers. The latest addition is the road-towable Echo BearCat Turntable Chipper with 200mm capacity. Driven by a 24hp Honda engine, this model has four reversible heat-treated steel blades and a 76cm disc that turns at 1,500rpm via a triple-banded belt drive. Hydraulic feed is standard and is fully adjustable. The turntable gives a full 360 degs rotation.
2. FLYMO PAC A SHREDDER
An electric shredder, this unit comes with a large integral translucent box. The box can be used to collect the shreddings as they are produced and holds up to 62 litres. After use, a simple click allows the machine to fold into the box for safe transport or storage. The Pac a Shredder is powered by a 2,500W motor and is intended for use on material up to 40mm in diameter.
3. ELIET PRIMO CHIPPER/SHREDDER
A 4hp Honda GC135 powers the Primo to make 18,000 cuts/min and tackle material up to 38mm in diameter. Transporting the unit is made easier by a low weight of just 35kg, but the real bonus is seen in the tool-free folding of the unit so it can be carried in the boot of a car. The Primo, from Pinnacle Power, comes with a 60-litre collection bag, gloves and goggles.
4. CAMON C90 ALL-IN-ONE CHIPPER-SHREDDER
Manufactured by Tracmaster of Burgess Hill, West Sussex, the Camon C90 is intended for both domestic and professional use. It will process garden waste, including branches, brushwood and prunings, up to 64mm in diameter. Material is fed first via the chipping blades and then through to a shredding chamber to reduce it to a recyclable mulch. The feed chute disconnects from the machine for transport in a car or van. Weight is 70kg.
5. MAKITA GSP5500 AND GSE2600 SHREDDERS
Designed for domestic users, estates maintenance services and landscapers, these two units will tackle material up to 50mm in diameter. A 5.5hp four-stroke Honda engine powers the GSP5500, which also features a cast steel shredder body, while the GSE2600 has a 240V, 2,200W electric motor. The nine-bladed shredding mechanism runs at 2,800rpm.
6. MASPORT 6.5XL CHIPPER SHREDDER
Powered by a 6.5hp Briggs & Stratton I/C engine, the Masport 6.5XL is aimed at larger households and commercial use. It has a cast-iron sleeve for longer life and a large-capacity fuel tank for extended use. The heavy-duty blade cutting system is comprised of three hardened high-tensile steel rods supporting nine staggered metal flails. The chipper tube takes branches up to 50mm in diameter. A bar grate is available to reduce clogging when processing wet materials.
7. GREENMECH SAFE-TRAK ARBORIST 19-28 CHIPPER
GreenMech introduced its first tracked woodchipper in 1999. Its latest product, the SAFE-Trak Arborist 19-28, gives a similar performance in that each track can be independently extended by up to 60cm to give ground clearance for travelling over rough terrain and also for working on slopes of up to 35 degs, but it also takes features from the Arborist. The 19-28 has a 190mm by 280mm letterbox-style feed entry at the six o'clock position and is fitted with a 50hp water-cooled diesel engine.
8. SAELEN CHIPPERS AND SHREDDERS
Built in France, Saelen chippers and shredders are distributed by Eric Hunter of Maidenhead and are renowned for their sound-proofing technology. The range includes chipper/shredders, dedicated chippers and dedicated shredders in engine and PTO-driven versions. The company is introducing new machines for the 2008 season, including more compact models as well as equipment with increased output. The flagship Cobra shredder (pictured) will feature a carbon-dioxide reduction kit.
9. SALSCO RANGE OF CHIPPERS
Built in the US and distributed in the UK by Equipment Supply Services of West Glamorgan, this new range of professional chippers includes models powered by engines from 25hp to 200hp and offers capacities from 88mm up to 450mm. PTO-driven models are also available. Infeed openings are oblong to process misshapen limbs. Hydraulic feed models offer optional Speed Sensing, with the larger models additionally offering hydraulic lift cylinders and winches to help handle material.
10. SCHLIESING CHIPPER RANGE
In November last year, the German manufacturer awarded sole distribution rights for Schliesing chippers in this country to Prochip Arboricultural Machinery of Stowmarket. The range, which is noted for its Whisper Cut V-blade technology, includes units to take material from 120mm to 350mm in diameter. There are petrol, diesel and PTO-driven options, as well as tracked equipment and a version for use with Unimog vehicles. Prochip is distributing the machinery through a network of dealers.
11. TIMBERWOLF TWS426
Evolving from the TWS425, this new model is expected to go into production next month. The Timberwolf shredder is powered by a 45hp Kubota turbo diesel engine and offers an infeed size of 426mm by 230mm. The machine benefits from auto-feed control as well as a shredding mechanism made up of 18 single-form forged hammers on steel/Teflon brushes. Throughput is reported to be up to three tonnes per hour, depending on material.
12. VANDAELE CHIPPER RANGE
Seven sizes of chipper have been added to the portfolio of Bunce (Ashbury). Made by Vandaele in Belgium, the range offers capacities ranging from 120mm to 270mm. The smaller two units are powered by 28.5hp and 45hp engines but also come in PTO-driven versions. Mid-range units are kitted out with 52hp and 70hp engines, with the three-knifed, trailer-mounted TV27-40 powered by a 135hp Deutz engine and weighing 2,650kg.