Traditional methods with modern technology
- 31 July 2012
- Product News
SM Plant Ltd is the dealer for Volvo utility equipment covering the whole of the Midlands, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.
Oxford based West Mill Forestry, a company specialising in forestry and woodland restoration, has chosen a Volvo EC27C compact excavator to enhance the productivity and safety of its day to day operations.
The business of clearing and thinning overgrown and derelict woodland is a tough one, involving hard manual labour invariably due to the fact that access is restricted and the only way to tackle most jobs is by hand. Proprietor Guy Newton, having set up West Mill Forestry back in 1997, decided that enough was enough and it was time to add some modern technology to enhance the traditional, if not back breaking work of woodland clearance.
With this in mind Guy decided the way forward was to introduce a compact excavator bespokely rigged to satisfy the typical clearing and thinning operations he undertakes and one that was sufficient in size yet small enough to be towed legally on the roads. And having approached several manufacturers with his requirements he opted for the Volvo EC27C compact excavator. "Having looked around it's fair to say that the only people prepared to work with us on the machine's specification were SM Plant and the team from Volvo," comments Guy. "I have to say we are really impressed with our machine choice in terms of its performance, stability and especially its productivity. By introducing the machine to assist in our day to day work we can virtually halve the time it now takes to get the job done."
The relatively new EC27C replaces the previous EC25 and EC30 models. Powered by a Volvo 1.6 litre low emission Stage III the machine delivers the performance in the range of the previous Volvo EC30 – yet with a compact design reminiscent of the smaller EC25. "The EC27C in this regard couldn't suit the applications West Mill Forestry is involved in better," comments SM Plant's Managing Director Simon Milligan. "The machine is capable of accessing tight difficult areas yet has plenty of power when it's needed." The conventional excavator design provides exceptional stability along with minimal superstructure swing. Simultaneous control of slew and offset movements provides faster, more precise performance due to the right joystick control lever that features an electronically proportional roller. This allows the operator to accurately adjust hydraulic flow as needed. All hydraulic functions are performed in total independence for more control and less delay when handling multiple tasks. An automatic two-speed travel system engages when operating in high speed mode, automatically shifting gear from high to low according to the travel load. Another feature for increased efficiency is the standard auto-idling system that lowers engine speed to idle if a control is not used for five seconds.
The engine reverts to the pre-selected speed almost instantly when any control is moved. This system delivers lower fuel consumption, longer engine life and less environmental noise.
The EC27C delivered to West Mill Forestry is no standard machine however as it features a shopping list of extras bespokely requested by Guy Newton. Starting with the ergonomically-designed cab offering greater leg and foot room, making it one of the most spacious in its category, it features optional air conditioning, a full FOGS guard to protect the operator from falling debris and high intensity LED working lights to the front, sides and rear. The dozer blade cylinder is fully protected by a heavy duty guard whilst hose rupture valves have been fitted to both the boom and dipper cylinders. "We see this as a positive safety feature especially when we are planting 'instant' trees into their positions," says Guy.
At the business end of the machine the dipper arm has been modified to fit a 'grip talon' used in conjunction with a standard bucket. This option allows the operator to rake and grab brash material and stack it to one side when creating tracks and general access into copses etc. Once trees have been thinned and felled the machine can then re-handle and stack logs thanks to a fully rotating Botex grapple.
West Mill Forestry is a family run company based in south west Oxfordshire, offering a wide range of woodland services established by Guy Newton who, before becoming self- employed, started out as a woodsman on a private estate. Now with over 22 years of industry experience, professional high quality advice and guidance is available, offering services in woodland and estate management, woodland development, forestry, planting and maintenance.