It has evolved from Timberwolf's best-selling, self-powered 150 - the one you so often see travelling on roads - but by using a tractor to power it, the power take-off (PTO) version gives real value when it comes to performance.
What sets this machine apart from some of the competition is that it has its own hydraulic oil tank - it does not have to rely on the tractor's supply. Targeted at larger estates and landscapers, the TWPTO/150H fits neatly onto any compact that has a six-spline 540rpm PTO shaft, category I three-point linkage and 12V electricity supply. Ideally, the tractor should be between 25hp and 60hp. We use the arboretum's John Deere 6210, which is a little on the large side, but we like the fact that the chipper will not work if we accidentally run the PTO at 1,000rpm.
With the woodchipper attached to the tractor and the electrics connected, we put a wide range of material through the machine. It is classified as a 6in chipper, though depending on the horsepower of the tractor being used, you may find that it only copes with timber up to 5in in diameter.
"The thuya is going through it nicely - not all machines cope with that," Dewey notes. We feed a bit of beech through and then lots of birch. The more whippy ends of the birch sometimes wrap round the rollers. We have to be careful not to feed material into the gap above the feed roller. "It's a good machine. But that gap above the top roller is annoying," says Jane.
This chipper is completely self-contained. As well as having its own hydraulics, it has Timberwolf's Auto Feed Control. It works well - this machine hardly stops to draw breath. The quality of chip is outstanding - a nice size and consistent.
Townsend admits he is not familiar with "small-gob" machines, but finds the TWPTO/150H does what it is designed to do. "It is nice and simple and it doesn't put up much resistance, though there is a bottleneck at the rollers, so you need to thin down bushier material to get it to where the roller will bite," he says.
Wright agrees: "If doing large-volume trees, you would be shedding a lot more than we do with our chipper. But it is ideal for estate work where you are doing hedgerow material and smaller trees, rather than big dismantles."
Dewey is impressed. "It's good, it's compact and the discharge is clean. There's no mess - all the chips are going into the truck," he observes. Barrett agrees: "It's a really good aim, very direct and clean." He tries to adjust the discharge chute to get more into the truck, but finds the mechanism fiddly. Work has to stop to reposition the chute as no one can reach the handle without standing underneath the flow. Barrett adds: "I'm 6ft, but I can't reach it."
Max diameter infeed: 15cm (6in)
Tractor requirement: 25-60hp @ PTO (540rpm)
Feed method: Twin hydraulic in-feed rollers c/w Auto Feed Control
Blades: Two 101mm (4in) fully hardened
Length: 288cm (in-feed tray down)/177.5cm (in-feed tray up)
Throughput: Up to four tonnes per hour
Expect to pay: Around £2,800 (trade)
Tel: Timberwolf - 0845 686 1037
Tested This Week
Inspected This Week
Bandit 250XP PTO
The Review Panel
Scott Barrett, student craftsperson, Westonbirt Arboretum
Tom Dewey, arborist, Westonbirt Arboretum
Andy Jane, tree team operations co-ordinator, Westonbirt Arboretum
Richard Townsend, tree team supervisor, Westonbirt Arboretum
Greg Wright, apprentice arborist, Westonbirt Arboretum
While most arborists will be looking for a self-powered woodchipper, and most likely one that can be towed on the road, there are occasions when buying a machine with an engine simply is not necessary. Especially useful for estate work, a range of power take-off (PTO) units is available in the UK.
Arranging a test of anything driven by tractor PTO is fraught with problems. Often it is this type of machine that is least available for demonstration. The right-sized tractor must be on hand. Then you must offload the unit and get it working with the tractor.
With machines from TS Industries and Hardmet Landforce being unavailable on test day, and Greenmech's new PTO chipper a couple of weeks away from completion, we greeted Bandit and Timberwolf to the test site at Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire. Conditions for the Bandit were warm and sunny. Temperatures were cooler, but it remained dry, when we tested two machines from Timberwolf.