Ideal for those undertaking tree pruning and crown-reduction work, the six-inch chipper remains the most popular woodchipper in the UK. It is not surprising then to find two key manufacturers introducing new models of this size. What is interesting is that both companies have opted to put their machines on turntables and keep the weight down to around 750kg for easy towing.
The new Greenmech Quad Chip 150 six-inch capacity turntable woodchipper is a clean-sheet design. It is the result of a combination of ideas from customers and the latest technology in the business. The end result, says Greenmech sales director Martin Lucas, is a chipper that fulfils all the requirements of today's tree surgeons.
"For several years we have been asked for chippers that will operate in the varied working conditions in which tree surgeons have to operate," adds Lucas. "In among the requests has been the continued need for a six-inch machine with a turntable, allowing ultimate positioning of the in-feed chute for convenience of access in limited space and, more importantly, safer use when working from the roadside.
"With the new design, the Quad Chip is good from any angle. When the chute is moved to 90 degs of the draw bar, the rear of the machine stays within the width of the axle and does not protrude into the path of the traffic."
There are two engine options for the Quad Chip — a 34hp Diahatsu turbo-charged unit that keeps total machine weight to less than 750kg or a Kubota 35hp naturally-aspirated option that may appeal to those not hindered by weight restrictions. Each has dual vertical feed rollers and a 6x9-inch letter box opening to take difficult branches and process leafy brash quickly.
The most novel feature on the Quad Chip 150 is the new square blade system. An evolution of Greenmech's successful and popular disc-blade, the square blades effectively give four blades in one and offer an increased time period between rotations as well as simple removal and sharpening.
The second six-inch chipper recently introduced is the BC160XL from Vermeer. Manufactured in the USA but designed for the European market, this 360 degs rotating turntable chipper also has a towing weight of just 750kg. Standard features include Vermeer's AutoFeed II system and a bottom/side feed/stop bar. Controls and engine monitoring system are located around the in-feed table and remain within reach of the operator regardless of the position of the turntable.
The BC160XL has a letter box-style opening of 160x200mm and is powered by a 26hp water-cooled Kohler diesel engine, which is fully enclosed to reduce noise levels. For storage and transport, the discharge chute folds to 1.93m.
But while much emphasis continues on the development of the six-inch chipper, the need by other users - especially grounds maintenance contractors and professional gardeners - to process green waste means that companies are also concentrating on sub-six-inch machines. These are easily transported yet will often tackle timber in the four to five-inch category (100mm to 130mm).
At the Executive Hire Show in Coventry next month, Greenmech is expected to launch a new five-inch woodchipper for tree surgeons and contractors. The development of the Arborist 13-23 was driven by demand in France, as Lucas explains: "For some time we tried to sell six-inch (150mm) machines into France with limited success.
"It became apparent that waste timber was being cut into cord wood, tied in bundles and sold - there was little need for chippers as big as we were offering. With the amount of trimmings that are left over there is, however, a need for smaller units that are built to the same tough spec as the 150mm machine."
The 13-23 has the same size in-feed chute as Greenmech's six-inch machines, a 5x6-inch (130x230mm) in-feed throat, single or optional twin hydraulic feed rollers linked to a no-stress control system and a 22hp petrol or 20hp diesel engine. Savings on retail prices against normal six-inch machines are as much as £1,250 on the petrol model and £2,750 for the diesel.
Launched last autumn, the Greenmech CS100 also has a five-inch capacity but has been developed with the landscaper and groundsman in mind. It can be towed across golf courses or estates to process a range material on site and at the point of production, and will also fit into the back of a van or pick-up truck for long-distance travel. There is a choice of 14hp or 18hp Briggs & Stratton engine. The CS100 is said to use just two to three litres of fuel per hour.
Blades on the new machine are in a removable cassette to facilitate easy maintenance. Powered by two v-belts, the cassette rotates at a speed of 2,400rpm. The machine also features an emergency stop button and double rubber flaps on the in-feed chute to retain material. The throat of the CS100 is wide - 315x162mm - to allow armfuls of light material to be processed as well as small-sized timbers.
"Any softer material, such as shrub prunings, can be broken down by the CS100 into a fine or coarse mulch that is then perfect as a natural fertiliser," says Lucas. "Yet the machine is compact, weighing just 195kg, so it can be easily manoeuvred by the operator or towed behind a compact tractor."
Chips can be discharged to a distance in excess of five metres, allowing the CS100 to direct fill a trailer or barrow in situations where the material is to be removed off site.
Another introduction with a five-inch (130mm) capacity is the TP130. Joining the Park range of machines, the TP130 is available in mobile and PTO versions. The key selling feature is price. Indeed, until 14 February you can pick up the mobile model for £9,500 ex VAT and the PTO for just £4,750 ex VAT from Atkinson Vos of High Bentham, Lancashire.
TP has given the 130 a single hydraulic feed roller. This is manufactured with tooth discs made from wear steel to provide an aggressive in-feed directly to the knives. Since the wood is presented at an angle of 90 degs, the resulting chips are a uniform 8mm long.
The mobile version of the 130 is driven by a 25hp Kohler petrol engine and features TP's Pilot stress control system. The PTO option weighs just over 500kg and requires a tractor of 25hp to 60hp. Both models have an operation bar that starts and stops the machine as well as controlling the feed roller reverse.
With a slightly smaller maximum capacity of 4.25 inches (108mm), the new Saelen Industries Cougar 17DR H2O takes sub-six-inch chipper/shredders into a new class. This French-made vegetation processor, available in the UK from Eric Hunter of Maidenhead, is mounted on tracks for "go anywhere" capability.
Wireless remote control with independent control of each track means the operator can stand a safe distance away while positioning the unit for work. The tracks are extendable, widening the stance of the machine for increased stability during operation but allowing access through narrow entrances. The unit is powered by a liquid-cooled twin-cylinder 17hp Lombardini engine.
Customer requests for a small but powerful chipper led Arbor Eater to develop the Bio 90 ATV. Suitable for towing behind a quad bike or utility vehicle, it has been designed for easy movement and is mounted on a high-specification braked chassis with low-compression tyres, making it suitable for estate and roadside work. A tow hitch can be adjusted to suit any vehicle height.
Powered by a 13hp Honda petrol engine, the Bio 90 has a 3.5 inch (89mm) capacity. The chips produced can be screened to ensure consistent quality and can be used as biomass fuel.
The new 235MX from Schliesing carries the same engine specification and gross weight as the established 220MX, but with features to enhance output, efficiency, ease of maintenance and storage security.
First and foremost, the 235MX has an enlarged aperture at the in-feed rollers, allowing timbers of up to 180mm to be handled. This is an additional 20mm compared to the 220MX.
But the enhancements don't stop there. Unlike the 220MX, the 235MX has independent access to the flywheel housing and bonnet to the engine, making access for maintenance easier and quicker. In addition, it is bolted onto a galvanised chassis, rather than building chassis and machine as one unit. To aid storage, the discharge chute now folds.
The 235MX is powered by a 35hp Kubota diesel engine, features a power control system and is available from Schliesing UK and Ireland.
Bandit Industries introduced a new 12-inch (300mm) capacity chipper at the Tree Care Industry Expo in Baltimore at the end of last year. Designed for use by local authorities and tree surgeons, the 990XP is described as a high-performance lightweight chipper.
The feed system and components on the new model are similar to the popular Bandit 1090XP, but to provide a more compact design the 990XP has a smaller 24-inch diameter drum. Various engine options up to 86hp are offered. Bandit woodchippers are available in the UK from Global Recycling of Newark, Nottinghamshire.
As a cost-effective option, Timberwolf has introduced a PTO version of the established S425 multi-purpose shredder. It requires a tractor of 80hp to 115hp, with a 1,000rpm PTO.
Like its road-tow and tracked counterparts, the new PTO S425 will handle a variety of materials including green waste, brash, prunings, hedge trimmings, Christmas trees, Leylandii and root balls, as well as chipboard, pallets, cardboard and uPVC plastics. The in-feed size is 426x230mm and throughput is up to three tonnes per hour.