Experienced mechanised arb contractor, Eddie Warrener, recently faced a dilemma when a safety alert from FISA and the HSE highlighted the fact that mechanical tree work with an excavator clearly falls under LOLER regulations and all the due processes these regulations entail.

Eddie runs a specialist Liebherr 924 Material Handler unit within his fleet with a range of attachments to undertake mechanical tree dismantling – one specific attachment – a custom telescopic extension arm would clearly come under much scrutiny within the latest industry guidance.

Considering his options, Eddie faced a clear choice between investing to make his current machine/attachment setup compliant or simply selling the base machine and attachment.

Having made a clear plan as to his requirements, and the fact he had varying previous experiences of several RCI (rated capacity indicator) installs, a challenge was issued via social media for companies to get in touch who may be interested in supplying a custom solution.

During this process a heads up from a very trusted source, a director of a large national plant hire company, to provide very positive feedback on how reliable Xwatch installs had been in comparison to rivals, and how operators were quite literally able to pick up the system straight away with minimal training input.

The specification included testing and new load charts for the Liebherr 924 material handler with and without the telescopic extension and the charts must be continuous 360 duty, not over the front/side type.

A full Xwatch RCI system needed to be installed to the base machine with full height, slew, reach envelope monitoring restriction. The system also needed to be incorporated into the telescopic extension arm, this had to be real-time information for the whole stroke of the telescopic portion.

The base machine needed to be able to change duty charts on the RCI when the telescopic extension arm is fitted with all functions of the system working seamlessly.

The telescopic extension arm is fitted with an additional safety pin which prevents the quick hitch from ever being operable once the attachment is installed. The Xwatch system needed to recognise when this pin is installed and prevent operation until it is properly fitted.

Other requirements were audible and visual warnings to indicate when the system is switched on and functioning, plus overload situation and finally, a supervisor key that enables slew, height, reach limits to be set and locked, with the operator unable to override this from the cab.

Installation began with Mike Mortimer undertaking what was always going to be a challenging install, due to the fact that the Liebherr is fitted with an elevating cab and there is very little room under the panels. Just to confuse things even more the machine is fitted with an SVAB control system, plus Engcon Ec-Oil quick hitch, which would inevitably create their own issues to any install.

Eddie said, “These are highly experienced, knowledgeable, and talented people with a real eye for detail and more importantly a true passion to deliver what they promise, it’s refreshing to see in this industry.”

The Xwatch team had a deadline to deliver for a very specific project, where a number of willow trees along a ditch deemed too dangerous to climb had to be removed over a fence safely by mechanical means.

This site had many factors, firstly being an attraction open to the public that couldn’t be closed, a very tight drop zone, no ability to bring large machinery to process the material after, and much focus on all aspects of the operation being undertaken safely.

Eddie commented, “It was a great little showcase witnessed by my client’s health and safety manager that demonstrated the Xwatch was doing its job perfectly, warning both the operator and those around that limits were being approached, and the operation should cease.

Eddie continued, “Certainly the feedback from the project has been fantastic from all involved, and it really did showcase how the features of Xwatch can make the planning and execution of Mechanised Arb far simpler and safer for all involved. The Xwatch system is really becoming the go-to system for the Mechanised Arb industry.” Added Eddie

So it’s a big thumbs up from Eddie Warrener for Xwatch and the safety revolution…