Ransomes Jacobsen Ltd has delivered the latest version of the remote controlled slope mower, the Ransomes Spider II, to Cannon Horticulture for maintaining the steep sloping sides of munitions bunkers at various RAF bases throughout Lincolnshire. Ransomes Jacobsen is a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company.
Cannon are specialists in multi-site grounds maintenance nationwide and have secured a contract with the MOD to maintain 11 RAF bases in the region, which all occupy sites in excess of 800 acres.. Over 50 staff are employed in grass maintenance, hard and soft landscaping and general horticultural duties at the bases. The new 'Wider Spider' will service four bases at Cottismore, Wittering, Scampton - home of the Red Arrows - and Waddington.
The steep sides of munitions and fuel storage bunkers have traditionally been a problem due to the health and safety aspects of operators standing awkwardly on the steep banks and using strimmers to maintain the grass.
Marc Pykett is Cannon's Operations Manager responsible for the Lincolnshire bases said, "The prime reasons for purchasing the Spider were health and safety, HAV and noise issues relating to our operators. Strimming these steep banks is a major H&S issue; it's relatively dangerous, labour intensive and time consuming, but this new machine alleviates all of these issues at a stroke. The quality of cut is very good and with four-w
heel drive and four-wheel steering, traction is excellent and turf damage minimal.
"We looked at various options on the market and had competitive demonstrations at the Scampton base in January. It quickly became apparent that the Spider II met our needs precisely.
"We've opted for the new, larger machine which has a cutting width of 1.23 metres and is powered by a Kawasaki 680cc, 23hp petrol engine. This drives four overlapping mulching blades and gives a very good finish. With a 16 litre fuel tank it can work for five hours on slopes up to 40°. However, with the standard winch attachment, which is synchronised with its ground speed, we can safely tackle slopes of up to 55° and that's just what we need. It can be anchored to a vehicle or nearby structure and operated safely on the most severe slopes. It is a significant step forward for our workforce in terms of health and safety."