We have four machines to test — all made by German-company Schliesing but supplied by two firms in the UK. Wilkie Equipment of Tadley in Hampshire has been the UK dealer for 18 years. It’s a family business started by Jim Wilkie and now run by his three sons. From years of experience they believe every machine has its place on the market and sell the chippers under the Premier name. So it’s Premier by Schliesing through Wilkie. Prochip of Stowmarket, Suffolk, is the new boy on the block. The company was set up about 18 months ago and is establishing a network of dealers around the country. The managers believe they have taken the best machine available and made it more accessible.
The first chipper we look at is the 220MX tracked. Driven into position by Wilkie Equipment managing director Scott Wilkie, we have a chance to study the transport mode of this versatile machine. For transport, the table folds neatly across the funnel and the operator hitches a lift on the footplate, controlling travel with two joysticks. Once in position the tracks can be moved up, down and outwards using a row of clearly marked buttons. Left and right tracks can be extended to different heights to maintain a level machine when working on slopes.
It’s classified as a 6" (152mm) chipper but our tester finds it tackles timber without a lot of snedding. Power comes from a 35hp diesel engine. “It’s coping with what we are putting through and this conifer is horrible stuff,” he says.
With three more Schliesings to test we move onto the 200MX. Smaller than the tracked chipper, this unit is also loaned to us by Wilkie. The attention to design-detail is clear to see. Mounted on a single-axle chassis, complete with share wheel, it looks easy to transport. It’s compact. It was brought to site by a four-wheel drive, reversed into position, unhitched and jockey wheel swung to one side out of the way.
Power, and there’s plenty of it for what is classified as a 5.5" (140mm) chipper, comes from a 28hp diesel engine (20hp petrol optional). But our testers work for the Forestry Commission, where things are usually done on a big scale. They admit that they think 6" machines are not for them. One of them mentions “poxy”. So what do they make of this smaller chipper?
“Better than I expected,” concludes a tester. “The power is good — it’s certainly getting through this yew. I think it would be really useful for tree surgeons, especially those needing a compact unit for working on street trees.”
Another tester has some trouble feeding in brashy material and adds: “A slightly wider funnel might be an advantage and the stop bar is a bit low.”
Maintenance is simple. Service intervals run at 250 hours. The air filter needs cleaning daily but grease points on the main bearings only require weekly attention, and other grease points monthly. Construction of these German-built machines is sound. There are no plastic “bits”. The control panel folds out of the way and is lockable when not in use. The fuel gauge is on the side of the tank, but tucked neatly into a recess. You’d be unlucky if you broke it.
The 480EX is next. Brought to site by Prochip, this model is also mounted on a single-axle chassis and is remarkably compact for a chipper of this capacity. Power comes from an 80hp diesel engine and this one has an 880mm diameter flywheel and two chipping blades. We find the hydraulically driven twin feed-rollers to be very powerful.
Finally, we look at Schliesing’s entry model, also supplied to us by Prochip. The 105MX is offered with a choice of petrol or diesel engines. We look at the 20hp Kubota diesel unit. It weighs less than 750kg and comes mounted on a single-axle chassis. There are a lot of similarities with the larger chippers — for instance all the grease points are painted red so you can’t miss them — but this has a capacity of 120mm. It’s a 4.7" (119mm) chipper. Wilkie says it offers it as a 4" (102mm) machine. Prochip considers it a 5" (127mm) unit. Either way, Schliesing still managed to fit a 660mm rotor in it and, surprisingly, access remains good for maintenance. And there’s the same attention to detail, including folding feed table and wheel wedges.
The size of the unit means a fair bit of snedding has to be undertaken before material can be fed into the chipper. With brash material it’s a case of grunt, rev, grunt, rev. But it does get there in the end. This one is probably best suited to work in parks, gardens and, perhaps, golf courses.
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