Watching the 175MX arrive, we are struck by how dinky it is. This is a compact, sub-750kg woodchipper. Yet it looks sturdy, is easily towable and manoeuvrable once off the vehicle. It is easy to see why this is one of Schliesing's best sellers.
The second thing we notice is the alien-looking material on the discharge chute. It is black and looks baked. It is, in fact, soundproofing material and works well, eliminating a lot of the noise of the chips rattling up and out of the chimney.
The chute swivels with the gentlest of pushes and a long handle makes deflection adjustment a breeze. "That is so easy - great when you are getting tired towards the end of the day," says Sedgwick. Sensibly, a block on the swivelling mechanism prevents the chute being positioned over the operators. Exhaust gases are fed into the chip chamber and out through the discharge chute.
At the core of the machine are the mechanics of the Schliesing 220. This business part of the chipper has been on the market for 20 years with little change. We know it works well, and there are some 20-year-old Schliesing machines still working.
The side panels are easy to remove. This machine does not have a removable grille at the front, so it may mean blowing debris off the radiator once in a while. We inspect the chipping chamber and find a difference to others. The flywheel is thick (30mm) and has three belts, so there should not be any slippage.
The blades are big, sharpened to 30 degs - like a chisel - and come through the flywheel disc rather than being mounted onto it. We find this makes for an efficient and, combined with the soundproofing, quiet chipper. Blades are adjustable and a tool provides access to the anvil.
A clever life-lengthening feature is the industrial freewheel clutch. This automatically engages between the engine and chipping disc so, when the unit is switched off, the flywheel can slowly decrease its revolutions without affecting the engine.
At the infeed end we are impressed with the hopper. It is a good size to accept brashy material without problems. The fold-down feed table is grey, while the rest of the hopper is yellow, so you can instantly recognise where the "no reach" position begins.
The rollers have a serve grip. This is PowerGrip. It holds the timber and forces it into the chamber, increasing throughput by 25 per cent. We also like the controls. You have to hit the green reset and then black, so it is two distinct actions. Yellow puts the rollers straight into reverse.
With a 21hp engine, we wonder whether the 175MX will be underpowered. We need not have worried. This is a confident machine that copes well with brash and on test day started to chip (though not completely) a huge timber that the Forst and Greenmech rejected.
We like it. March cannot fault it. But jaws drop at the mention of the price. Taylor concludes: "It is a good-quality machine and you pay a premium for a premium product."
Engine: 21hp Kubota three-cylinder diesel
Feed aperture: 150x204mm
Roller system: PowerGrip twin horizontal rollers
Flywheel: 600x30mm chipping disc with two blades
No-stress system: standard
Brakes: fully braked chassis and handbrake
Tel: Overland Environmental Services - 0118 981 4297
Tested This Issue
Greenmech Arborist 150
The need to reduce timber and brash waste for transport and recycling purposes makes the woodchipper a "must-have" piece of equipment for tree surgeons - and increasingly for grounds managers working on contracts or estates. But with so many brands and models available, it can be difficult to know which is best.
In this test we look at three brands - one only arriving on the market this year - and find that while all chip wood, each has its own very individual features. All the models are classified as 6in machines but they are all remarkably different. Two weigh less than 750kg, but is that all they have in common? The third weighs considerably more. Does that extra weight have benefits?
The test was conducted in the grounds of Bridgwater College's Cannington Campus for Land-based Studies. The college has an excellent reputation for its arboriculture programme. Conditions on the day started warm and dry but by late afternoon the weather had turned cool and wet.
The Review Panel
Mike Cullen, programme manager for arboriculture, Cannington Campus, Bridgwater College.
Ed March, Bridgwater College arboriculture student.
Will Sedgwick, Bridgwater College arboriculture student, working at Woodlands South West.
George Taylor, Bridgwater College arboriculture student, working at Brendon Hill Tree Services.
Russell Windows, Bridgwater College arboriculture student, working at HighClimb.