The latest version of the remote controlled slope mower, the Ransomes Spider II, has been delivered to Scottish Borders Council by Fairways GM, Ransomes Jacobsen's dealer for the region. Ransomes Jacobsen is a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company.
Specially designed for mowing steep slopes and banks, this new machine is larger than the original Spider; it has a cutting width of 1.23 metres and is powered by a Kawasaki 680cc, 23hp petrol engine which drives four overlapping mulching blades. With a 16 litre fuel tank it can work for five hours on slopes up to 40°; if the integrated winch is used it can also operate on 55° slopes.
The Spider II was delivered with a bespoke transport trailer and has been teamed with a dedicated Landrover and is being used right across the Borders region.
Fraser Dunlop, Works Manager at the Council's Parks and Open Spaces department said, "With the introduction of this new machine we are able to raise the general standards of tidiness of the steep banks found in the various open spaces across our region. This new machine is remotely controlled and is a significant step forward for our workforce in terms of health and safety. They are not in contact with the mower and, as such, will not suffer from hand/arm vibration. Using mowers on steep slopes is uncomfortable for the operator, who has to stand at awkward angles putting pressure on hip, knee and back joints. With this machine we completely alleviate any health and safety issues. We are looking at introducing a dedicated two-man team who will work exclusively with the Spider and manage all the difficult areas across the Borders."
Shaun Mayo, Chargehand Gardener at Hawick, who operates the new mower added,
"This is a very god machine and I'm surprised at the steepness of the slopes it can cope with. For a big mower it's very stable. The winch is really good and it gives you confidence when working the really steep banks. The Mote in Hawick is a grass covered earthen mound, which is 30 feet high and extremely steep. We have incorporated securing points in a seat at the top of the Mote; we simply clip on the winch line and then mow in safety."