ArborTimes Winter 2023


Considering capacity is an important first step in selecting a chipper. “One question we always ask customers is about the type of work they’re doing,” says Gross. “Customers oen want a bigger machine, but we don’t always advise that.” Investing in a bigger machine might feel proactive, but the reality is the machine may be underuti- lized for the price paid, making it a financial loss. Hicks echoes this line of thought, adding, “Everyone’s needs are different, and it’s our responsibility as a dealer or manufacturer to vet each buyer to understand which product best suits their needs.” ENGINE TYPE The chipper market today is vastly dif- ferent from 10 years ago, and even five years ago. “The evolution of emissions requirements and electronics on en- gines looks different today than in years past,” recalls Gross. “There has been a huge influx of gasoline engines being readily accepted in the industry. In 2005 people wouldn’t want to talk to you about a gasoline engine on a chipper, and back then diesel was less expensive. Now, diesel engines require electronics and the cost of fuel has risen, pushing some people look for gasoline alternatives, so manufacturing has made improvements to meet that demand.” Morey agrees, adding, “If a Tier-4 en- gine requires warranty repairs, it must go back to the engine dealer for service. Gas engines are selling well, and they’re a little easier because if you don’t have someone handy on your team, we can certify our dealers to work on select gasoline engines.” MAINTENANCE When an owner purchases a new ma- chine, it comes with a thorough walk- through of every part and piece, safety procedures, and includes an overview of the maintenance schedule in the own- er’s manual. This starts the warranty validation process. “The maintenance

Maintenance is an important part of operating a chipper. Spend the extra 30 minutes at the beginning or end of the day to do the required maintenance to take care of your investment. Photo courtesy of Morbark.

Alternately, a small tree company can fit an F-350 with a DIY box to catch chips. However, without hydraulics, the chips must be shoveled out every time, and the chipper size must be taken into consideration. “This scenario is fine for a smaller brush chipper, but larger chip- pers weigh more, throw harder and will pack that little box so much faster,” cau- tions Hicks. When considering getting a bigger machine and have a smaller truck, account for how the chipper will be towed and what it will chip into. Addi- tionally, as chippers increase in size, the Department of Transportation may have a CDL requirement. FLEXIBILITY WITH LEASING Some manufacturers and dealers do offer rent-to-own plans, giving business own- ers the chance to assess how a chipper will work for their business for a short pe- riod of time, such as three or six months. At the end of the term, owners have the option to back out or have a portion of their rental payments applied to purchas- ing the machine.

for chippers is relatively simple, but extremely important. Keep bearings greased, keep an eye on the engine, make sure the clutch gets adjusted, en- sure fluid levels are good and electron- ics are set properly,” advises Gross. “I can’t stress enough how important maintenance is. Spend the extra 30 minutes at the beginning or end of the day to do the required maintenance to take care of your investment,” urges Labriola. “Don’t be afraid to call and ask your sales rep service questions. Please use us as a support network.” TOWING There are things to consider when towing a machine. For example, some clients allow their tree care company to blow chips into the woods, or have a space set aside for chips so they can mulch or compost. In those cas- es, a having a chip truck with a box isn’t necessary. However, this may not always be the case. “Chip trucks are more common in cities because there’s no room to put chips aer a takedown,” says Gross.

Leasing offers a lower monthly pay-

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