Q. Are there any new products to help tree surgeons climb and work in trees?
A. Extending the comprehensive offering of ropes from Buxtons, the Yale LimeLite is a new 24-strand climbing line with an 11.7mm diameter and an average tensile strength of 2,950lbs. It has quickly become one of Buxtons' most popular ropes.
"It's close enough to traditional 0.5in lines that footlockers have no problems hanging on. At the same time, the slightly smaller size works well in most popular mechanical climbing devices," says Buxtons director Neale Hopley.
"LimeLite has a smaller size, less weight (96g/m) but offers all the strength to climb with confidence. It also has better knotability because the internal core becomes quite firm when loaded and it behaves similar to traditional 16-strand line."
LimeLite is available in 37m and 45m hanks, with or without a CE marked factory spliced eye. Also new to Buxtons' catalogue is the Dragon harness. Designed to be comfortable, adjustable and practical, it is suitable for a wide range of body sizes and climbing techniques.
Hopley says: "The Dragon has a supportive back pad, comfortable and supportive triangular leg supports plus quick-release leg and belt buckles, replaceable bridge, location for first aid kit and a good range of attachment points for tools. It is easy to adjust to cover a wide range of sizes and the bridge has a large ring fitted as standard, but this can be added or replaced as required." The current retail price is £159 + VAT.
Q. Are there any new ladders or work platforms?
A. Spaldings has introduced a range of tripod ladders to its workshop portfolio, including platform tripods with a convenient platform step, three-leg tripods with adjustable front and back legs, heavy-duty tripods for a workload of 150kg and the original standard tripods. The integral design of three legs, broad base and telescopic rear makes the ladders practical for use on uneven terrain.
Q. What is the latest in terms of saws and other hand tools?
A. The latest addition to the Silky Saw family of handsaws, the Tsurugi is a lightweight, slimline, straight-bladed saw for working efficiently in dense wood and for pruning and gardening. With precision-ground, razor-sharp teeth, the saw is designed for reduced effort and minimal damage or impact to nearby limbs or trunks when working in hard-to-reach places.
The Sure-Grip rubber composite handle gives good grip and ergonomics while the blade is easily changed in under 20 seconds - no tools required. The Tsurugi comes with an aluminium leg scabbard with a six-roller design to reduce scabbard wear and protect the teeth. Three saw lengths are available - 200mm, 300mm and 400mm. And there is a choice of fine or coarse pitches.
The Silky Fox saws have been added to the grounds maintenance catalogue offered by Spaldings. New additions include folding saws, sheathed saws and pole saws to suit all types of pruning requirements.
The latest Silky saw and adapter added to the AUS (Associated Utility Supplies) Utility Arb portfolio is based on the Accel 160 Silky and includes a nylon adapter to fit the AUS glass fibre pole system, a cloth and safety cover for the blade. Joint company founder Paul Hornby says: "The combination of a short blade and ultra light and insulated adapter provides a solution for those situations where space is tight and the use of longer blades is difficult."
Q. Are there any developments in chainsaw technology?
A. The long awaited MS201T top-handled saw was delivered by STIHL earlier this year. Developed for improved cutting performance and tangible benefits such as a 20 per cent reduction in fuel consumption, 70 per cent lower emissions and 100 per cent longer air filter life, it has a smooth design with rounded contours to avoid getting caught up in the tree. Materials, such as the diecast magnesium engine housing and stainless steel muffler, have been chosen for lightness.
The 1.8kW T540XP professional chainsaw from Husqvarna features a front handle with increased diameter for better handling and is angled backwards for improved reach. It has an X-Torq engine for improved torque, fuel efficiency and lower emissions, while the AutoTune feature provides optimum engine performance via an automatic engine-setting function - saving time on carburettor adjustments.
For felling and de-limbing, Husqvarna has introduced the 3.5kW 560XP. Weighing in at just 5.4kg, it has an X-Torq engine with AutoTune, along with RevBoost technology to give rapid acceleration and high chain speed.
Packed with features, including the 2-MIX engine and M-Tronic technology for self-tuning, the new MS241C-M chainsaw from STIHL is suitable for pruning conifers, thinning and harvesting wood and is offered with bar lengths of 35cm, 40cm and 45cm.
Q. What are the latest clothing and personal protective equipment items available for tree workers?
A. Severnside Safety has launched the Francital range of clothing for chainsaw users, featuring basic but quality garments through to the latest lightweight, water-repellent clothing and a selection of high-visibility jackets and trousers.
The "cutandclimb" jacket from Clark Forest is now made from a high-performance tough and durable 200g laminated polyester fabric and is wind and waterproof but breathable.
Just in time for winter, the AUS Arborists Smock has been redesigned with more user-friendly features. Waterproof, breathable and flame retardant, and with bags of room for arm movement, this smock has been designed by arborists for arborists.