Neil Bayley Contracting, Nuneaton, Warwickshire
When Warwickshire contractors Neil and Peter Bayley decided to upgrade their hedge-cutter, they put together an exacting specification that demanded the best in comfort, control and quality.
A robust heavy-duty Power Arm capable of withstanding a busy workload of more than 1,000 hours of hedge-cutting a year was a must, but the machine also had to offer-Telescopic Variable Forward Reach – enabling Peter to position the flailhead alongside the cab for greater precision and comfort.
The pair not only compared specs of rival models and visited dealers for a closer look; they even toured the production facilities of leading manufacturers to see how the machines were created before choosing a new PA7285 Tele-VFR from McConnel.
Neil said the build quality, dedication to detail, and advanced REVOLUTION controls were key factors in switching from a rival machine to a state-of-the-art McConnel Power Arm, explaining:
“The machine is built like a tank and has proved itself to be very durable. We were also very impressed with McConnel’s factory and the helpfulness and expertise of the team there.”
Peter added: “As an operator one of the biggest advantages for me is the REVOLUTION control system, which is precise and responsive and can be easily adjusted to your personal preferences.
“I have set it up so it responds to the lightest touch of the lever which gives me the fine fingertip control I need and is ideal for both hedge-cutting and verge-mowing.”
The new set up has already proved itself in the field – helping Peter to win the hedge-cutting title at the Lichfield and District Ploughing competition.
Working extensively in the countryside of Leicestershire and Warwickshire, Peter has to operate in varied and challenging terrain from narrow lanes to wide embankments.
By adding an Orbitor bracket which fits between the cutting attachment and the dipper arm, Neil and Peter have been able to add an extra angle of movement, increasing precision and manoeuvrability.
Peter said: “I love the combination of the Tele-VFR armset and the orbitor attachment because it’s ideal for working in narrow lanes and lets me cut right behind the tractor if I need to which I could not do with any other hedgecutter.
“It’s so versatile. I can go from full arm reach to a compact, highly manoeuvrable machine at the touch of a button, and can telescope the arm out and then take it forward to get into an awkward corner without having to take the tractor somewhere it might get stuck.
“The PA7285 a big machine, but it really impresses in tight situations – it’s great to have one machine capable of tacking all the jobs.”
The shortening of the hedgecutting season means Peter’s workload has increased dramatically, making the enhanced comfort of the Tele-VFR extremely important, reducing fatigue and preventing neck strain.
TELE-VFR takes full advantage of the 120-degree focal range of the human eye, allowing operators to flick simultaneously back and forth from straight ahead to the flailhead’s position alongside the cab without compromising safety. The improvements in visibility help increase working speeds, enhance safety and greatly increase comfort for the operator.
Constructed from high-strength Strenx (Domex) steel, the PA7285 Tele-VFR arm is exceptionally robust and can be equipped with a 1.6m Multicut flailhead, saving Peter time and effort with many customers who are requesting a single shoulder on a hedge.
Neil and Peter also look after a variety of loader, general agricultural and ground work, which means they need their John Deere 6150L tractor for other jobs, sometimes needing to switch over in the middle of the day.
Neil said: “That’s another area where the McConnel machine comes into its own. It’s so easy to mount or take off a tractor that you can do it in minutes. The stability is also top notch too, giving us a rock-solid cutting platform.”
Despite the sophistication of the PA7285 Tele-VFR, Neil and Peter find the machine easy to maintain and service.
Neil said: “All the grease points can be reached from ground level making routine maintenance easier and safer, and the fan is easy to access. If we ever need a part McConnel’s extensive dealer network means there’s always an outlet close by if we need something in a hurry.”