Many people will know Bunce Ashbury from its range of Epoke winter maintenance equipment. Few, however, will know the company also distributes several ranges of high quality grounds care equipment which will be on show at SALTEX. LAPV talks to Andrew Bunce.

It's only been two years since Bunce began selling Vandaele woodchippers, Noremat reach arm mowers, two-wheeled tractors from SEP and Fuji ride-on brush cutters, confirms Andrew Bunce, Sales Director for the company.

But the main reason for venturing out into grounds maintenance equipment was simple, says Andrew. “Nearly all of our products were winter-based and we have not really had any severe winters lately. This meant we were looking for a range of products that are contra-seasonal. The woodchippers, mowers, cutters and tractors fitted quite nicely in that category.”

The products were all selected on the basis of quality because, as Andrew says: “We believe that our image is that of quality machines.” The Vandaele Chippers are available in a three-point linkage mounted PTO-driven format and as auxiliary diesel engine-driven, trailermounted units. The different sizes available are capable of chipping wood from 120mm diameter up to 400mm.

“The special thing about the Vandaele chippers is that they are fitted with tungsten-carbide-tipped knives. This allows the chippers to cut for up to 800 hours (on clean wood) without the need for sharpening or readjustment. This saves time, downtime and money.” He explains that this is 40 times longer than any other chippers, which have to be resharpened every 20 to 30 hours.

“I believe that Vandaele has a very strong selling point here.” He adds that when he took on the agency for Vandaele he almost ended up a little disappointed. “For the number of machines we sold we have been extremely surprised at the small number of spare parts that we have sold. Often the money is made from the spare parts, but these machines have proven to be extremely reliable.”

Bunce is in the process of supplying a Noremat reach arm mower to Lower Severn Drainage Board, which bought the mower because of their positive experiences with the Noremat 7.3m unit and were impressed by its strength and reliability.The mower is available in two types, the Optima and Magistra and its reach varies from 5.1 - 8.3m. Because it is available with a straight arm or with a cracked arm the visibility for the tractor driver is excellent.

“Many people are interested to see how the equipment copes with less frequent cutting of hedges required under new environmental schemes,” he points out. “I would like to highlight the following points.

“The Noremat mowers are all professional, extremely robust machines. The arms are made of highyield steel which gives a stronger, lighter frame with increased resistance compared with competitors' units using mild steel, so they are already able to cope with the possible increased rigours caused by heavy but less frequent cutting.”

Bunce began selling the SEP two wheeled tractors as snow and ice clearing units for footpaths, but then decided to offer a full range of attachments. Since then the units have found popularity with a whole range of LA customers in different departments, such as landscaping, as well as prisons and airport authorities.

The tractors are also of an extremely robust construction and are simple to operate. The change of the attachments is simple with a quickchange flange on the tractor and the attachments.

For the more challenging landscape Bunce also offers the Fuji ride-on brush cutters which are very wellsuited for cutting overgrown and rough terrain. “The cutters are powered by either a 18 hp or 21hp Kawasaki engine,” explains Andrew.

“This makes them considerably more powerful than other brush cutters available on the market. Both units have a two range hydrostatic drive with a height adjustable 950mm cutting width.”