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Vegetation Management | North American Oil & Gas Pipelines: New Mulching Head Designs to Sink Your Teeth Into

June 13, 2018

The vegetation management industry has seen some recent changes when it comes to the use of mulching heads on skid steers, excavators and other power units. And the design of mulching heads has also changed to better accommodate operators, helping them become more productive and create a better finish. Here’s what you should know about the latest trends in mulching head design, and what it means to you.

Cutting Tooth Trends

For many years, carbide cutting teeth were the most popular tooth option for mulching heads. That’s because they’re highly durable, cost effective and virtually maintenance free. As a result, many mulching heads were once optimized for the use of carbide teeth.

Lately, however, the industry has seen a shift, and many more vegetation management professionals want to use knives on their mulching heads. Although they need to be sharpened regularly and have a heightened risk of damage when striking rocks and other foreign objects, the knives offer unmatched aggressiveness that can provide a big productivity boost on the job. Also, the use of sharpened knives naturally results in a finer particle size.
Rotor Redesigns

As knives are gaining popularity in recent years, manufacturers have responded with newer mulching head rotor designs that better accommodate the performance of knives. Because the knives are so much more aggressive than carbide teeth, some of the newer rotors are larger in diameter and often include some type of limiter to keep the knives from biting into too much material at one time. These limiters are intended to feed the proper amount of material into the knives for maximum efficiency, as well as produce ideal particle sizes.

The two main types of limiters found on today’s mulching heads are rings and depth gauges. Ring-style mulching heads have metallic rings fixed around the rotor between every tooth. They keep trees, branches and any other material from entering the machine deeper than the rings....

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