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tt 01Today the utility right-of-way tree trimmers came to town and brought along this thing called the Jirraff. After seeing it operate, I can certainly understand the name. This gadget eliminates most of the labor associated with tree-trimming. No climbing, no chainsawing and mostly no bucket-trucks.

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The secret is this – a carbide-tipped, approx 15 inch diameter saw blade! Mounted on the end of an approx 75 ft telescoping,

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insulated boom and driven hydraulically. “Insulated” is important, as when working in and amongst high voltage wires boom-wire contact is occasionally made. With this machine, no harm done.

One has to experience this thing in operation to appreciate just what it can do. It can reach almost 100 ft up to get at even the tallest trees, at least in

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these parts. It can reach far out over rough terrain and even buildings to get the goods. This is a “boom’s Eye” view of the machine in action.

“Slicin’ Open the Sky”. Gotta get in some artsy-fartsy shots here and there :-)

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This photo shows a closeup of thearticulation mechanism and the rear of the machine. Note the heavy-duty hydraulic winch. If the 4WD mudder tires won’t take the machine where it needs to go then the winch will.
tt 04As can be seen in this photo, the entire body is articulated on the frame. This serves two purposes. First, it lets the cab be vertical even on very steep slopes. Second, as seen here, it puts the saw blad at an angle so that it can trim vertical portions of the tree.

A rotating head would seem better but this is much simpler and far more rugged than adding the necessary hydraulics onto the end of the boom.
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Another kinda artsy-fartsy shot. A gorgeous cool morning with mist hanging in the trees, the light just right. Can’t resist.

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A final action shot. One of the guys told me that they do right-of-way maintenance once every 6 years. It shows! Look at all those limbs around the power lines.

Every time the wind would blow my lights would “chug” as limbs blew into the high voltage lines. Off and on just fast enough to reset fluorescent lights and cause my UPS to activate.

Prophetically, just as the guys were dogging off for the day, a storm blew in. Lighting, moderate winds, about as high as we get here in this little hollow, and sheeting rain. My lights remained rock-solid and the UPS silent. Good work, guys.

Posted by neonjohn on June 19th, 2007 under Cool Stuff

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