A compact self-propelled post driver added to the Bryce Suma range is designed as a one-man machine to handle fencing operations in the most challenging locations.
The new outfit brings together the nimble manoeuvrability and load-carrying capacity of a tracked vehicle and the renowned Bryce Powershift heavy-duty post driver, a popular tractor-mounted implement with a number of patented features.
"This combination creates a go-anywhere machine with tremendous stability and traction," notes Jock Bryce of Bryce Suma. "Overall, it's smaller and more manoeuvrable than a tractor, so I think it will appeal to contractors and large farms and estates, especially where they are erecting fences on difficult terrain."
The Bryce Suma Powershift HD180 is based on a rubber tracked industrial vehicle built by Canycom Inc, a US manufacturer of heavy duty carriers and dumpers. As a proven series production vehicle powered by a 46hp Kubota diesel, operators can expect good reliability and performance, with parts and service back-up available from distributor Kattrak International based in Kilwinning, Ayrshire.
"The vehicle has semi- rather than fully-hydrostatic drive so it can be moved from post to post with the engine just ticking over, which eases fuel
consumption and keeps the noise down to comfortable levels,” says Jock Bryce. “It also has a reversible seat and controls, so it can be driven in whichever direction is easiest for the driver or will give the best balance and traction for the terrain."
The post driver delivers an impact force of up to 62 tonnes but its telescopic mast retracts to an overall height of just 2.9m for moving from site to site. It is mounted on a 180 degree hydraulic turntable behind the cab, which not only keeps the outfit compact and with good weight distribution but also enables the operator to drive posts to the rear or either side of the machine.
"Together with hydraulic backshift, sideshift and generous mast angling in two directions, the slewing action gives the machine tremendous versatility for post driving, especially in awkward locations, without having to get the vehicle in just the right position," says Jock Bryce. "Being able to swing the mast round is also useful for shifting weight distribution to keep the vehicle stable when travelling across steep slopes and to give extra clearance when having to manoeuvre amongst trees."
Other practical features include a cradle on the front of the vehicle that carries up to 40 fence posts or more than half a dozen straining posts. Optional reels can be fitted on either side of the vehicle to run out up to 2000m of plain or barbed wire.
“A lot of my experience as a fencing contractor has gone into this machine to make it safe and easy to operate,” says Jock Bryce. “For example, the wire reels can be loaded from ground level and both sides of the mast can be lubricated from one position without having to clamber on the machine.
“A rock spike is fitted as standard,” he adds, “and because we know what tools and equipment a fencing contractor uses day to day, we build in a lockable toolbox and purpose-designed storage for a chain saw, metal bars, spades, a hammer, tape measure and spirit level."
Along with the overall concept of the machine, it was this attention to practical detail that attracted the judges of this year’s Royal Welsh Agricultural Society technical innovation award for “the machine, implement or device likely to be of most benefit to Welsh farming”.
One of the judges of the Dr Alban Davies Gold Award, engineering consultant Peter Redman, said: "We were impressed by the general all-round build quality and thoughtful design, but in particular the concept of a tracked, self-propelled machine that provides access over a wide range of ground conditions.
“We also liked the integral facility to carry posts and thereby improve logistics, and the high level of manoeuvrability and precision positioning of the machine," he added.
Having won this award in 2006, Jock Bryce was happy to receive the accolade again: "It reflects the lengths we go to at Bryce Suma to build post drivers with practical and innovative features that make life easier, increase productivity and promote safety in fencing operations."