The Directorate of Urban Environment at Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council has purchased a Ransomes Spider remote controlled slope mower from local Ransomes Jacobsen dealer, TH White Ltd of Redditch. Ransomes Jacobsen is a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company.
Operated by the Council's Green Care department, the Spider is being used to maintain banks and hills in parks and open spaces across the borough. So successful has the Spider been that another machine has been hired in from TH White to increase capacity.
The use of a remotely operated machine was in direct response to new health and safety legislation restricting the use of flymo-type mowers, ride-on mowers and strimmers on steep banks. While some local authorities have stopped maintaining these areas, the team from Dudley actively looked for a viable alternative and found it on a visit to the Ransomes Jacobsen stand at Saltex in 2005.
Russell Norton, Technical Manager at Green Care said,
"Due to changes in current working practices with regard to health and safety, we carried out extensive investigations into other possible methods of maintaining our slopes and embankments in some 60 leisure areas across Dudley.
"We discovered that the majority of grass cutting machinery was only legislated for inclines no steeper than 20°, but the Spider is capable of cutting grass on slopes of up to 40°. Add to this the fact that it is operated from a safe distance by radio control and we have a machine that significantly reduces the risk of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome as the operator has very little contact with the machine during normal operations.
"We purchased our first machine in the spring and it has been superb; so much so that we have hired in another one to increase the frequency of our grass maintenance schedule. The machine, which has been nicknamed 'Incey Wincey' for obvious reasons, is at the leading edge of grass cutting technology. In Green Care we pride ourselves on being an innovative department, looking for and embracing new technologies and working practices that benefit our residents."
Ransomes Jacobsen is a subsidiary of Textron Inc., a $10 billion multi-industry company operating in 33 countries with approximately 37,000 employees. The company leverages its global network of aircraft, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO and Greenlee, among others. More information is available at www.textron.com.