Green Gizmo

Telescopic tree trimmer is designed to reach inaccessible biomass.
By Anna Austin | January 05, 2012

A Michigan-based company says it has developed a unique solution to trimming trees in confined, inaccessible areas.

The telescopic Tree Trimmer 100, which looks like a circular saw mounted on the end of a long pole, has been in development for the past two years, according to Harvest2Energy CEO John Robitaille. He says his company's primary objective is to provide products that focus on wood as a renewable resource, initially for pellet production, and eventually for ethanol as the technology matures. 

The idea for the trimmer was formed when he saw maintenance workers attempting to trim branches beyond their reach. “They had to resort to using scaffolding, which is costly and time-consuming,” he says. “There was no way of getting heavy equipment into that area.”

There are other situations, besides general tree maintenance and preservation, where the trimmer would be useful, he adds. “I live in Connecticut, and the devastation caused by an unusual snowstorm here—850,000 customers without electricity, which included 100 percent of my hometown—in October really heightens the need for this, especially the truck-mounted version.” 

The first trimmer demo achieved a height of 25 feet, while the production unit will reach about 37 feet, according to Robitaille. It can be quickly disassembled and stored for transporting to the next job site, and an optional electric chain saw can be attached. The company is also designing a flat-bed truck accessory that can rotate 360 degrees for street and highway use, he says. “This can be used for cutting back branches near telephone/power lines or for removal of storm-damaged branches that may represent a liability risk.”

 The trimmer could be used in municipal parks, backyards, courtyards, golf courses and college campuses. The price, which includes three storage containers, is $18,500, not including optional accessories.

—Anna Austin