Contractor: Burford’s Tree, Inc.
Location: Anniston, Alabama
Equipment Used: Jarraff 4 Wheel Drive All-Terrain Tree Trimmer
Specifications: Row Maintenance, 7 State Service Area
With ROW maintenance and tree trimming crews operating in seven states in the southern US, Mike Burford, owner Burford’s Tree, Inc, Anniston, AL, knows the value of efficiency. Since 1984, Burford’s crews have been working year round maintaining right-of-ways for utility, power and gas companies, both private and public. In order to meet project requirement is and projects deadlines Burford must keep operations running smoothly. His mix of experience, training and equipment selection makes this happen.
Burford said, “All of our projects are driven by timelines. We try to be the most productive for our customer. We’re always trying to reduce overall cost whether it’s per mile, per job or per project.”
Burford helps ensure peak performance in his crews by maintaining high standards and expectations when it comes to equipment and safety training. Burford employs a full time safety director that overseas equipment training, certification and develops internal safety programs. Burford said, “We are a very safety oriented company. Training is an on-going, continuous, weekly and daily program.” One way Burford meets those expectations is by utilizing the Jarraff All-Terrain Tree Trimmer from Jarraff Industries, St. Peter, MN.
Efficient and Effective Equipment
According to Jarraff Industries CFO Heidi Boyum, Burford’s Tree is a good example of a contractor getting the most from his equipment. She said, “Mike and his crews are really some of the best out there. Their approach to projects is strategic and effective. They’re just a great company to work with.”
Burford has twenty-five (25) 4-wheel drive Jarraffs in his arsenal, as well as 250 aerial lifts. He also has a good number of highly skilled climbing crews. Ten-man aerial lift crews are equipped with hydraulically powered saws and trimmers. The Jarraff crews are typically two-man crews, one for machine operation and one in a follow-up truck.
According to Burford, the trimmer has proved to be a very effective machine for clearing and maintaining right-of-ways. The unit features a 24-inch carbide tip saw blade that operates at 3200 rpm. A hydraulically powered, non-conductive fiberglass boom extends up to 75 feet. With a turntable base that offers a 360° range of motion and a 40° lateral tilt, the boom itself has a 90° range of motion giving. The boom is shock resistant and is equipped with limb deflectors to protect the operator from falling branches.
Boyum said, “The reach and the range of motion of a mechanical tree trimmer really adds another dimension to a right-of-way maintenance operation. The tree trimmer can improve efficiency dramatically and provide added safety as well. When workers can trim branches at 75 feet and not leave the ground, everyone is safer.”
On The Job
The projects that Burford’s Tree, Inc. undertakes can be very large in scope. One project, for example, in one state alone, covers over 3,500 miles of right-of-way. Despite their size, the projects are let in terms of cost per mile and cost per hour, meaning that Burford has many contingencies to consider when bidding projects. One area that he knows he has a step up on the competition is the way that he approaches projects.
On most ROW projects a Jarraff is used before aerial lift and climbing crews on trimming projects. For Burford this has proven to be the most efficient way of approaching tree-trimming operations. Burford explained, “We send the Jarraff in first. That way it can trim everything that it possibly can right away. After that’s done, we send in the aerial and climbing crews to finish the job. We’re a peak performance and efficiency. One Jarraff will out perform five lift truck crews.”
Five models of the tree trimmer are available to operate in almost any kind of terrain. They include a 4-wheel drive model, steel and rubber track model, all-rubber track model, amphibious model and 8-wheel drive model. According to Burford the 4-wheel drive model Jarraff gives him the greatest versatility in terms of the terrain and conditions his crews encounter. He said, “Four of them are equipped with floatation tires. That gives us low ground pressure for swampy areas. Our jobs take us from wet and hilly terrain to pavement. And we’ve found that the 4-wheel drive rubber tire gives us the best performance.”
In addition to large, municipal and private ROW maintenance projects, a portion of Burford’s business includes responding to emergency work after weather events. Weather in these situations and on other projects effects how Burford’s crews perform. Burford said, “Having a piece of equipment that enables us to work in all kinds of weather really helps our productivity. The enclosed cab on the Jarraff allows us to work in rain, ice and to assist in storm restoration. We’ve used it quite a bit after ice storms to cut down dangerous limbs. It’s a versatile machine.”
An enclosed cab gives Burford’s crews the ability to work in varying weather conditions. Boyum said, “The cab is ergonomically designed to provide both comfort and control. It is completely enclosed and comes with heating and air conditioning as options, which can come in handy depending on the region of the country you’re working in.”
Regular equipment maintenance is also on Burford’s agenda. Servicing equipment and keeping it up and running is a high priority. Jarraff Industries does its part to help keep Burford and his crews up and running through their customer service and parts department. Boyum said, “Outstanding customer service is something that we believe in strongly. We’re always available to answer a question or troubleshoot a piece of equipment. We take parts orders in person, on the phone and over the Internet and offer next day parts service. That’s important. Downtime doesn’t help anyone.”