Large Spider seen in Leeds
The new machine, which has been specifically designed for mowing steep banks and slopes, will be leased out on a 30 week contract to work in dedicated areas around Leeds. Chris Simpson, Transport and Fleet Manager at Leeds City Council Parks & Countryside, saw the machine at IOG Saltex in September. While watching the demonstration on the Ransomes Jacobsen stand, he immediately recognised its potential and began discussions with Swan to organise a demonstration for the Council.
"As responsible employers we have a duty to pursue all avenues with regard to the health and safety of our operators," he said. "Hand and arm vibration is a particularly important issue and this machine, being remotely operated, alleviates this at a stroke. Also, it removes any issues of operators sitting on ride-on machines at acute angles and also removes the stress on hips, knees, ankles and spine associated with strimming operations.
A further demonstration on a particularly difficult site in the City confirmed the benefits of the Spider and it was then that Chris Simpson contacted their business partner Swan Plant, who they work closely with on various contracts.
"As this is relatively new technology we wanted to test the water, so to speak, so I contacted David Curwell, Swan's Plant Director, and we agreed that they would purchase the machine and that we would hire it for a 30 week contract period. We will be using it throughout the winter on steeper embankments where we have carried out site specific risk assessments. Four operators are receiving training and will use it at the various locations," he added.
Commenting at the recent handover of the Spider, David Curwell said, "As one of the leading groundscare hire specialists we are keen to evaluate any new equipment that comes into the market place. The exposure of operators to vibration is becoming a particularly important issue and we all know of the dangers inherent in cutting steep slopes. An important part of what we do is to find solutions to clients' problems and, in this particular case, the Spider could provide the answer to both issues; it's certainly an innovative step in the right direction."
The sale of this machine to Swan Plant Services was facilitated through Ransomes Jacobsen's local dealer, Palmers Groundcare Ltd of Selby.
Picture (l-r) Dave Curwell of Swan Plant Services and Chris Simpson of Leeds City Council at the handover of the Ransomes Spider.