Investing in the future...

As an independent, freelance trainer I'm looking for ways to invest in the future and make the most of new technology. Now, I'm not one for technology for technology's sake (my climbing system is all rope - there's no spiderjack, ascenders and what-not to clutter and confuse; although I will admit to a couple of micro-pulleys!).

Anyway, back to the point at hand... I've been intrigued by the battery powered chainsaws for quite a while, and I was demonstrating at the Bath & West Show a number of years back when I came across a guy using a small Makita battery saw. We had a chat and I watched him using it, but what struck me most was how slow the chain ran. Fast forward several years and battery technology has moved on leaps and bounds and battery saws may well be the future - they're not there yet for full-on, everyday forestry contractor use, but for many applications they are perfect.

So, why did I invest in this Husqvarna 536Li ground saw? How do I envisage using it?

Let's state the obvious, using a battery to power the saw means no petrol, no 2-stroke oil, no more mixing it up, no more smell of petrol, no more fumes. Charging the battery costs a matter of pence each time, and one battery is fully charged in 35 minutes.

That's all well and good, but the decision was not that easy from a training point of view; with no petrol engine to worry about, there's no air filter maintenance, no recoil starter to tension, no spark plug gap to check, no woodchip to clear out from the exhaust - all great things but the NPTC assessment still requires the learner / candidate to demonstrate maintenance of all these things.

From a training point of view, it's not a clear cut decision, however there are many advantages:
  • the chain stops instantly (there's no 'run-down' period as there is on a petrol chainsaw);
  • I don't use the saw continuously, as I generally use it for demonstrating cuts, and so a couple of batteries will get me through a day of training;
  • when a cut is finished and you release the throttle, the saw stops... it's completely silent and that means I can explain relevant points to learners without having to shout over the noise of a chainsaw on tick-over.
  • there's no risk of fuel spillage, which is great for 'eco-sites'.
I'll let you know how I get on with it in the fullness of time...

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