The Sennebogen 718 is an innovative tree handler that can successfully conduct tree removal operations by cutting and lifting sections of trees safely over buildings and obstructions or under power lines. Its hand-like motion offers a great degree of precision and control that other equipment lack.
However, cranes are a popular tool used in tree removal projects and are often used in large tree removals.
This article will discuss the differences between the equipment and when to use one vs the other.
Crane-Assisted vs. 718 Tree Handler
Removing Set-up Challenges
The removal of large trees by crane is often demanded when old-growth trees inhabit a congested landscape, for handling large diameter trees, or when a tree is inaccessible by other means.
Crane-assisted tree removal still requires riggers to safely set up the crane, which involves a number of safety measures to prevent an incident during felling operations. And since each large tree and tree location is different, the course of action must be carefully planned and modified to fit each removal operation, including:
- proper location and leveling of the crane onsite
- establishing a safety perimeter according to swing radius
- setting the finish ballast and erecting the crane
- establishing crane limits and testing crane operations
Self-leveling 718 Tree-handler Sets Up in Seconds
Traditional rigging operations, and time-consuming safety procedures that must be followed with cranes, are largely eliminated with a 718 tree-handler. The machine automatically levels itself on uneven ground to provide stable footing in seconds.
The 718 comes standard with rugged forestry tires mounted on reinforced axles, making it nimble in difficult terrains. The use of swamp or timber mats allows additional versatility in muddy, wet or rough off-road terrains.
Additionally, in sensitive terrains, such as a golf course, turf tires can be mounted on the 718 to reduce its ground disturbance.
With a working range of 45 feet and 12,000 lbs lifting capacity, the 718 can be called in for heavy duty operations in both urban and forested landscapes, easily cutting and transferring both large diameter tree sections and reaching tall trees (up to about 80 ft trees) with the articulating boom that features a telescopic stick.
The Challenges of Operating a Crane
When a crane is set up for tree removal, either a smaller tree is cut from the ground, or a worker will attach rope slings or steel cables to branches and tree tops as they dismantle the tree in pieces to avoid overloading or 'shock loading' the crane.
The crane operator must then slowly and skillfully maneuver parts of trees to the ground.
When using a crane to cut trees, removing too big a piece, jerking the load while in the air or moving the load too quickly during the critical period can cause high stress (or shock) on the crane system.
Shock loading or overloading can result in deadly accidents, will drastically reduce the lifetime of the crane, and most importantly, shock loading and overloading can be a silent contributor to catastrophic crane failure - weeks, months, or years later.
Increasing Production with a 718
After a crane has been positioned for tree removal, it is limited to removals within its defined reach and lifting capabilities otherwise additional repositioning and set up efforts are required.
The 718, on the other hand, can quickly deploy its outriggers for a stable platform, remove trees safely, and transition into a new location in a matter of minutes. This can be especially beneficial in applications where multiple large tree removals are required such as in parks, golf courses, or commercial building complexes.
In fact, one end user commented that, “the 718 removed 30 to 40 percent of the trees we had marked for crane removal which dramatically reduced our total time on site and allowed us to get to other jobs quicker.”
Here is a snapshot of Mayer Tree Service taking down trees in a commercial parking lot.
The 718 Does Not Need Additional Climbers
The 718 is purpose-built to dismantle trees without putting personnel or equipment in harm's way - removing nearly all manual labor with just one operator and one machine. Even large tree removal operations are made more efficient as trees are quickly maneuvered with hydraulic-agility and precision-controlled handling - from standing tree to chipper.
Production can increase by five to ten times existing rates, especially when you consider eliminating the time-consuming task of setting up a conventional crane.
Instead of performing the one operation of a crane - lowering cut timber to the ground, the 718 allows operators to perform multiple tasks at each site by switching between attachments from a cutting shear to a grab saw to a collection device, and many more.
If you are combining a climber/bucket operation with a crane to reach greater heights, the risks to both climber and crane operator are difficult to manage if the limits of radius are neglected. Both must stay in constant communication to make sure the tree or branch does not exceed weight limits, is securely connected at the right spot, and the weight-to-range ratio is not exceeded which could cause a catastrophic failure.
When to Use Each Tool
An advantage of a crane is its ability to reach over and take down incredibly large trees exceeding one hundred feet in height. In fact, cranes can range in size from small, 12 ton trucks with 60 plus feet of reach, to 200 ton machines with 160 plus feet of reach and enough lifting power to pick up the largest of trees!
Currently, the 718 is excellent for tackling trees up to about 80 ft. Thus, its limitation is the size of the tree and access to very confined spaces where a crane would be required.
If the tree service is called on to remove a very tall tree, then a large crane is what is often used.
As with any job, evaluating the scope of requirements determines best equipment needed for the job at hand.