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Bobcat Forestry Boost!

Providing true working demonstrations of the company’s forestry cutter attachments for the first time in the UK, Bobcat has completed an exciting tour of Customer Roadshow events to promote Bobcat products for forestry, agriculture, construction, landscaping and estate management. The three Roadshow events were held at a variety of venues including an orchard farm, a woodland farm estate and woods alongside an airport car park. Held near Canterbury in Kent, Harrogate in North Yorkshire and in Greater Manchester, the demonstrations were hosted by Bobcat authorised dealers, Bobcat of London, Grays Machinery and Norwest Plant, respectively.

“Bobcat prides itself on driving the market, leading the way and being best in class with innovative new products and being active in demonstrating a full range of equipment to provide solutions for customers’ requirements in a wide range of market sectors,” says Alastair Jones, Bobcat Attachments District Manager. “This latest successful Roadshow Tour was organised with this in mind, focusing on solutions for customers in the forestry, agriculture, construction, landscaping and estate management industry.”

A steady stream of existing and prospective customers at all three events were able to see Bobcat compact track loaders and Bobcat attachments working in a variety of different scenarios. Highlights included the first demonstrations in the UK of Bobcat’s recently launched FRC150ST standard torque and FRC200HT high torque forestry cutters.

At the first event held on the 150 acres of orchards at Newborn Farm in Grove outside Canterbury, visitors could see how effective the forestry cutters are for reducing old trees in minutes, leaving a carpet of material behind that can be absorbed back into the ground. Host for the day was Bobcat of London, based in West Thurrock in Essex, the Authorised Bobcat Dealer for London, Essex, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey, Hertfordshire and Middlesex.

After the day in Kent, the Bobcat Roadshow truck travelled north to set up for the next event at the Follifoot Ridge woodland farm estate near Harrogate. This was organised by Grays Machinery, based in Bedale, the new Authorised Bobcat Dealer for North and West Yorkshire.

Visitors from Grays Machinery were joined by those invited by AMS Bobcat Limited, the Bobcat dealer based in Scunthorpe, which has just expanded its existing areas of Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire with the addition of South Yorkshire. The audience on the day was able to see Bobcat equipment being used to clear and remove unwanted undergrowth, shrubs and trees next to a public pathway on the edge of the woodland farm estate.

The last stop in the UK for the Bobcat Roadshow was at Hunters Airport Car Park in Heald Green in Greater Manchester. The car park is nearby to and serves the very busy Manchester Airport. The compact track loaders and forestry cutters were used to clear an extensive area of woodland to make the way for new car parking space for the airport.

The event was hosted by Wigan-based Norwest Plant Ltd, the Authorised Bobcat dealer for North-West England and North Wales. 

Providing cutting widths of 1.5 and 2.0 m, respectively, the Bobcat FRC150ST and FRC200HT forestry cutters are designed for continuous work on bushes and trees 100 to 120 mm in diameter, intermittent use for trees with a diameter from 150 to 220 mm and occasional use on trees 220 to 300 mm in diameter.

The FRC150ST is designed for use on the smaller Bobcat S630/H and S650/H skid-steer loaders and T590/H and T650/H compact track loaders. Like Bobcat’s smaller 1.5 m FRC150HT high torque model, the FRC200HT is compatible with the Bobcat T770H and T870H compact tracked loaders and S770H and S850H skid-steer loaders.

Mounted on T590H and T770H loaders at the Roadshows, the Bobcat forestry cutters have very varied applications, ranging from those in agriculture including vineyards, orchards, nurseries and tree care including those with compact or limited site access; forestry including cutting fire breaks in woods and forests, clearing work and removing/thinning unwanted undergrowth, shrubs and trees; wildlife, national park, leisure, golf club and country estate management; perimeter maintenance of facilities such as schools and military bases; to site development in construction for removing undergrowth and trees before site and hazardous waste survey work.

The forestry cutters can also be used to maintain vegetation, brambles and shrubs next to Path and Ride areas, pathways and other right-of-ways, including removal of invasive species such as Rhododendron plants; utilities (electric lines, walkways, bridges, canals and riversides); rail lines and embankments and roadside verges and banks next to highways as well as clean-up work after storms and floods. They can also be used in delicate and/or environmentally sensitive areas where precision cutting/low ground disturbance are required.

As is mandatory, the Bobcat T590H and T770H compact track loaders were both equipped with the Forestry Applications Kit from Bobcat, to ensure safe operation of the forestry cutters, protecting the machine and operator from flying objects and debris. The Kit includes an impact resistant front door, which must be installed in order to operate the forestry cutters. The forestry cutters do not work at all if the loader door is not installed.

For work in the confined spaces in woodland and forests, front and rear light guards are added to the loader to protect the lights. A guard protects the hydraulic quick couplers, hoses and wire harness from falling trees and branches. A level II FOPS (ISO 3449) protects the operator and the cab from falling trees and objects, while top and rear polycarbonate windows provide additional protection for the operator. All functions of the forestry cutter can be fingertip controlled from the operator seat without requiring the operator to remove their hand from the loader steering levers.

Shields protect the lift cylinders against debris and help to reduce material build-up in the engine compartment. Although daily maintenance is essential in this type of work, a debris screen on the radiator ensures continuous operation and makes cleaning up easier.

Based on feedback from the field, the FRC150ST incorporates many improvements over the previous FRC150 model. Among the improvements, the FRC150ST is manufactured almost entirely from Hardox, with a specially designed new fixed motor offering greater output and efficiency. The enhanced design also offers a new, lighter drum, with carbide teeth, new hose routing and greater performance and manoeuvrability.

The FRC150HT and FRC200HT have been enhanced with a new variable, high torque motor providing 40% more power and several other updates to improve performance. The latter include a new drum design, new routing for the hoses, a reduction in weight, improved visibility and much more, increasing efficiency and improving manoeuvrability.

With the new high torque motor, the FRC150HT and FRC200HT provide much better fuel efficiency compared to the previous models. When the forestry cutters encounter something hard, the high torque motors provide the power required, but when light brush is being cut for example, the same power is not needed and the machine recognises this and as a result, adjusts the motor accordingly to provide huge savings on fuel.

The forestry cutters mulch trees and underbrush in minutes − leaving a carpet of mulch behind when clearing trees and bushes for any kind of application. They have hydraulically-adjustable front gates that can be opened while cutting debris and then closed to retain material and to provide the coarseness or fineness of mulch that the finishing requires.

The forestry cutters form part of the comprehensive Bobcat range of attachments for forestry, woodland and estate management, amenity and landscaping work, which includes stump grinders, wood chippers, brushcutters, flail cutters, augers and tree transplanters.

At the Roadshows, as well as the forestry cutters, a stump grinder and a flail cutter, other attachments being used included the Bobcat Brushcat rotary cutter, the root grapple, the brushsaw, pallet forks, a 184 cm skeleton bucket, a 178 cm digging bucket and a 183 cm soil conditioner.

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