Alan Murray, landscape manager at Conway Aecom is continually looking for ways to improve the contract by adopting the latest technologies in business.
His keen interest recently lead him to visit the SALTEX (Sports, Amenities, Landscaping, and Trade exhibition) where he was exposed to the most up-to-date innovations, tailored to the green space around us.
As a result two stand out products were recently implemented, already proving to have created some great benefits for Conway Aecom.
'North-West give the weeds a wacking'
The first product is the Mosquito II Weed Wacker, an environmentally friendly and durable machine for efficient weed ripping. The machine removes detritus as well as weeds removing the breeding ground in which weeds grow, disposing of them in their entirety.
The traditional method of clearing weeds on some areas of our network involved being shovelled out, the area of removal being sprayed with weed killer and the waste being disposed of. The process required up to 4 men on one job. A job to clear a 7 mile footpath of weeds could take over a week to complete with the need for this process to be repeated on average of every 4-6 weeks.
The new weed Wacker, The Mosquito II quietly cuts away at weeds, disposing of them as dust blown out onto the grass. The job to clear a 7 mile footpath of weeds can be completed in half a day, with the need for only 2 men on the job boosting a 90% increase in productivity and the process only needing to be repeated once every 3-6 months.
The specs of the machinery include: improved vibration damping allowing for continuous 4 hours of work, a state of the art Honda engine, adjustable handlebars, ergonomic special grips and 3D brush adjustment allowing for the best working position to be achieved for better access along walls, fences and hedges.
The lightweight kit also doubles as a sweeper and can be used for edging. The benefits of this new technology have allowed for reduction in noise pollution, manual labour, finance and manpower, all of which will prove to have long term benefits for the future of weed disposal.
'Tyred of being punctured'
The second product rolled out are new tyres for the John Deer 1445 mowers.
Up until recently Duro tyres had been used on our machinery causing up to 2-3 punctures on a daily basis per machine, proving to be a costly investment. The downtime to replace tyres could sometimes take up to 3 hours, significantly slowing down the length of time it takes to complete a job as well as creating frustration for workers.
Without punctures, workers gain on average 50% of their time allowing them to complete jobs in a faster turnaround. The unseasonal weather has also had an impact of more cuts being needed than normal. The cuts would have been completed in October but due to the unusually mild weather this has been extended to November causing even more demand for the use of reliable tyres.
Maxxi tyres were recently implemented, trialled for over six weeks and so far caused zero punctures for machinery. This is a huge improvement in productivity compared against previous daily punctures. The Maxxis ‘lawn and turf’ tyres use the latest technology, featuring a hard wearing tread compound that offers high levels of grip without being overly aggressive enough to damage the turf.
The new tyres have proved to be reliable and cost effective. We aim to roll them out on all of our horticultural machinery over the next few months, replacing existing tyres.
Innovation in Health and Safety
'Give it a miss'
In spring this year FM Conway rolled out a campaign to encourage staff to report any near misses experienced whilst at work. Near misses identify any risks to health and safety which could come from sites, equipment or anything that could cause injury and ill health.
The initiative involved communicating various methods available to staff for reporting near misses, the latest feature has involved devising an app with the goal being to raise awareness and making the reporting process as simple as possible.
The mobile app allows anyone to upload and post a report using their smartphone. The app has many benefits including an easy and intuitive reporting system, ability for reporting to be carried out anywhere, immediate reporting to health and safety allowing for a faster follow up action to be taken and the ability to capture data to monitor improvement trends. FM Conway plan to integrate more features to the app one of which will allow a user to upload photos taken on their phone to illustrate near misses.
The campaign has already proved to be a massive success showing a clear impact on the number of people feeding back to the business with a twelvefold increase in the number of reports received compared with last year. This allows FM Conway to mark improvements to health and safety procedures - improvements that could one day save someone's life.
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