The ability to reach over safety barriers when carrying out essential roadside hedge and verge maintenance is an increasingly important requirement for local authorities when selecting the right machine for their purposes.
And this was certainly the case for Shrewsbury Town Council, who opted for the six metre bank reach capability of Kuhn’s Pro-Longer when renewing their equipment last year. As operator Darren Woods explains, this was not the only key specification for the machine, but it was a point of differentiation against other makes.
“Kuhn specifies all the reach dimensions to the pivot point on the head, as opposed to the furthest point on the head, said Darren,” and the boom configuration allows a relatively high reach over obstacles. Having had several machines on demonstration we knew that the Pro-Longer was the one that delivered all our requirements.
“It is well built and so far we have found it very easy to maintain, and the service back-up is very good. We expect to do around 200 hours a year, and – provided we keep then sharp and adjust the roller according to whether we are doing verges or hedges – we expect at least two years life from the flails.”
The Pro-Longer hedgecutter has a 1.2m flail head that offers 220º rotation. Machines have the ability to work safely and effectively in tight spaces and behind the tractor wheel, due to the centred main boom base that also allows transport within the tractor width.
Hydraulic drive motors are fitted with oil coolers as standard, therefore allowing the machine to maintain full operating power with the additional benefit of a reduced oil capacity that ultimately cuts running costs. There are separate and fully independent pumps serving the rotor and arm movements. The Pro-Longer operates with a dedicated 60hp rotor circuit.
Arm construction is from sturdy 8mm box section steel and hinges are flanged and protected for minimal play and good hose holding. All machine joints, including the hydraulic rams, are enclosed and greased-for-life for minimum wear and maximum durability. The Pro-Longer has an hydraulic safety break back system with 180º power slew angle. Hoses are afforded generous protection through either metal casing or braided sleeves and are fixed through plastic flanges that ensure solid holding, precise routing and quick disassembly when required.
The flail head is compact for easy access and is fitted as standard with ‘T’ flails. Ground following is aided by a lift control system similar to that operating successfully on Kuhn mowers. This lift control system, which operates through movement in the main boom ram, can be switched on or off and works in tandem with the lateral rotation of the flail head to ensure optimum ground following.