Roadside vegetation control is an ongoing challenge for regional councils that have to manage intrusive growth, often along more than a thousand kilometres of roads.
Excessive vegetation may obscure safety signage or otherwise impact driver and pedestrian visibility of intersections, drains, poles and other infrastructure. Outdated equipment or inappropriate work practices may consume tightly controlled financial and manpower resources. In some cases, inefficient equipment could limit performance, requiring additional work crews and equipment.
One regional Council has addressed this challenge through the acquisition of a Takeuchi TB295W ten tonne excavator. This wheeled machine is highly mobile on roads and is fitted with an FAE DML/HY mulcher driven by the excavator’s 45.5kW hydraulic flow that optimises the power delivered to the cutter head, leaving plenty in reserve to handle other functions simultaneously.
The Council says its excavator/mulcher combination has fully satisfied its need for more efficient vegetation and drain control.
Physical demands on operators may also be more demanding than necessary through constantly craning their necks for a clear view of vegetation close to poles and wires. The excavator’s two piece boom provides extraordinary reach and control and permits working in-close around the machine itself; all within the comfortable visibility of the operator, According to the Council, the operator’s job has been made easier and more efficient as all the work is now in front of them instead of to the side, as in the case of a regular agricultural tractor with a boom mower.
They have also found the excavator mulches heavier material than before as their previous equipment was more of a ‘groomer’ than a mulcher. The excavator’s two knuckle boom is also able to reach mulching height to remove overhead tree growth to clear the way for trucks and buses.
The TB 295W is performing multiple tasks by using the quick hitch to change from mulcher to mud bucket to clear drains, needing only a few seconds to re-attach the mulcher.
From Council’s point of view, its productivity of vegetation control has greatly improved and they no longer have to hire a contractor to clean out pipes, or wait until one of their loader backhoes is free to follow the mulching operator.
While the excavator’s 30km/hr road speed is big bonus, the Council says the greatest benefit is increased productivity while keeping their operator happy and working more efficiently to produce a better quality result.