GreenMech ‘making tracks’ to remain leaders in safe solutions for embankment working


With a line-up that spans over 20 units, GreenMech have a woodchipper to suit a wide array of end-users from arborists to landscapers, local authorities and many more. Much of their success can be attributed to their ability to innovate – with numerous industry- leading products and features such as their unique disc-blade chipping technology.

In 1999, they were also the first UK manufacturer to launch a tracked woodchipper. Managing Director of GreenMech Jonathan Turner explains how the tracked chipper market has grown, demanding developments and expansions to the range which now encapsulates fixed, variable, extending and pivoting track systems.

It was a combination of customer demand and GreenMech’s in-house design and manufacturing capabilities that led to the development of their first chipper with a tracked undercarriage. This machine utilised the basic principles of conventional fixed track carriers, similar to that used on mini excavators, however this didn’t fully address the key industry issues of poor stability on sloping ground, lack of adequate ground clearance and machinery that was too wide, restricting the all-important access into tight areas.

GreenMech then sought to overcome these problems, which saw the introduction of the first machine equipped with their SAFE-Trak system in 2002. This revolutionised the operator experience in terms of significantly enhanced safety, manoeuvrability and ease of access, all while maintaining engine oil pressure, when compared to a conventional tracked undercarriage chipper. The patented SAFE-Trak system incorporated two independently adjustable track mounted legs which, with the ability to extend them one at a time, meant embankments of up to 35o could be traversed in complete safety.

Not only were gradients no longer a hazard, the SAFE-Trak provided unparalleled ground clearance of up to 630mm. By 2004, the SAFE-Trak system was no longer an option but became a product in its own right – starting the now ‘infamous’ SAFE-Trak range – which became the ‘go-to’ for de-veg contractors, specifically those working on power line, railway and motorway maintenance. With a 6” capacity, the ECO 150 SAFE-Trak provided the solution to work on slopes of up to 35o. It also featured a roll angle of 63o meaning that with any loss of traction, it would slide long before it would tip.

2006 saw the introduction of the SAFE-Trak 16-23, followed by the legendary SAFE-Trak 19-28 in 2007. Following in the tracks of the ECO 150 SAFE-Trak, these larger models were quickly adopted by companies such as Deutsche Bahn, Network Rail and many similar sub-contracting companies around the world. Its adoption by leading contractors saw the GreenMech SAFE-Trak System achieve worldwide recognition, culminating in the receipt of the Queens Award for Enterprise-Innovation in 2009.

Following this, we began extending the track concept to other machines in the GreenMech range – such as with the turntable Quad-Chip machine. The Quad-Trak 160 provided the operator with ultimate flexibility, allowing convenient loading from the kerbside and the quick and safe ascent of slopes up to 30o. The machine could also be ‘tilted’, keeping the machine level, thus ensuring consistent and correct engine oil pressure, reducing the risk of oil starvation. The Quad-Trak became a dual-purpose unit thanks to a dedicated trailer, allowing simplicity of use on the trailer or as a stand-alone tracked unit. ArbTrak 150 and 200 fixed track machines also joined the line-up.

In 2018, GreenMech celebrated the sale of the 1000th SAFE-Trak 19-28 – paving the way for the ‘next- generation’ of track technology with the launch of the patent pending SURE-Trak 19-28, which takes all of the features of the SAFE-Trak
system to the next level. The SURE-Trak is the very first independently extendable system to also incorporate pivoting tracks. This allows each track to maintain contact with the ground while following different contours, ensuring even greater unit stability. Tracks can be extended and retracted on the move, with the operator able to make both side-to-side and longitudinal adjustments to the angle of the machine. Where ground conditions allow, the operator can track straight up and down a slope for better access, all while maintaining engine oil pressure. The ability to adjust the SURE-Trak over and above the SAFE-Trak enhances manoeuvrability and delivers even greater safety for the operator, crew and machine.

The SURE-Trak’s ability to perform in even the most challenging of environments saw Scotland’s South West Arb take delivery of the first SURE-Trak 19-28 woodchipper in the UK, in 2019. “When I established South West Arb five years ago, the first thing I purchased was a GreenMech SAFE-Trak chipper” explains Owner Stewart Ball. “My previous employer had been a longstanding user of the SAFE-Trak units and, having looked at other machines, when it came to working on embankments or challenging terrain, no other chippers came close.”

“Since we’ve had the SURE-Trak, it’s been working on embankments that other chippers could only dream of getting to! Not only can we reach any given location, but the actual chipping performance is second to none. The powerful rollers will pull in even the most awkward forked material for the disc blades to process. Keep these sharp and the chipper won’t skip a beat.”

The benefits of being able to take a tracked unit almost anywhere means that, unsurprisingly, the demand for tracked woodchippers continues to gather pace and incorporating them into our new ranges is critical to ensuring we continue to meet market demands. The GreenMech EVO series, launched in 2019, features a range of tracked options. Sitting alongside the 8” 205D SAFE and SURE-Trak options is the fixed-track EVO 205DT and the smaller, vari-track EVO 165DT. The concept of the vari-track is minimum width, maximum access – with the track position extendable horizontally for optimal manoeuvrability but enhanced stability when in its working position.

The addition of twin-drive horizontally extending tracks makes the EVO 165DT the perfect ‘go- anywhere’ woodchipper. The track system provides ground clearance of 194mm and a tracking speed of 3.2kph to provide the operator with optimal manoeuvrability and stability. As with the other models in the GreenMech EVO series, the 165DT features a wide infeed chute, twin horizontal feed rollers and a heavy-duty flywheel which delivers unparalleled processing power for a machine in its category.

Running an EVO 165DT are Powerline Services
(MLJ) Ltd – relying on tracked woodchippers for the safe and effective removal of vegetation from the utility networks in and around Herefordshire. “We’ve always had tracked units from GreenMech as, for us, it’s the most efficient way to get the chipper exactly where it needs to be” comments Director Ben Jones. “This machine is an impressive piece of kit – running on horizontal rollers, and ‘variable speed’ feed rollers which is a great feature to have for dealing with different types of material. The variable track on the EVO 165DT gives my team optimum stability for jobs on uneven ground.”

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