THE Botex xCrane control system is now available from forest machinery supplier Jas P Wilson for new Botex loaders and is retrofittable onto a wide range of machines.

Ahead of its official release, the new system was offered to a few long-standing Botex customers to allow them to get a first look and allow Jas P Wilson to adapt the system to provide something like never before.

One such owner-operator is John Shutler of John Shutler Tree Services who, with his new roof mount, is now on his fourth Botex unit. As such, John was deemed the ideal candidate for this system, having first-hand experience of three other units and with an understanding of the need for the advantages the new system brings.

Forestry Journal: Andy Hampson of Elm House Tree Services.Andy Hampson of Elm House Tree Services.

John has owned and operated a Valtra 8050 with Botex 560 on manual leavers, a T150 with a Botex 570 on manual leavers and a T163 with a Botex 580 load flow share. Now he has added a stunning N144 with Botex 570 xCrane controls. With this new xCrane system – as well as the user-friendly control of all major loader functions with two electric joysticks – John can now easily access system settings using a digital touchscreen.

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From this menu system, xCrane owners can set movement speeds, control sensitivity, access system diagnostics and fault logs and see usage data. The system also allows for multiple user accounts, meaning every member of the team can set the machine to exactly how they like it. Within a couple of button presses, a new user can step in and have the machine respond in the way they’re used to. This option can be incredibly useful in training settings, where owners could make one account with lower sensitivity and slower speeds to allow trainees to get familiar with the controls.

Forestry Journal: The xCrane is now available on new units and can be retrofitted to a range of machines.The xCrane is now available on new units and can be retrofitted to a range of machines.

Jas P Wilson said this was without doubt its most responsive, user-friendly and productive control system to date.

Invited to offer feedback, John Shutler said: “I’ve enjoyed putting the all-new Botex xCrane system through its paces on my new Valtra N174 with Botex 570 crane. The ability to alter the crane’s settings to suit different operators is fantastic. Being able to unlock the crane controls from the armrest is a great improvement on the previous system, as it offers much greater fluidity for the operator. This is the fourth tractor I’ve bought from Wilsons and I wouldn’t look anywhere else when buying a tractor and crane.”

Forestry Journal: John Shutler with the new roof-mounted Botex.John Shutler with the new roof-mounted Botex.

These comments have been echoed by two other xCrane customers in recent weeks. A second unit has gone to Joe, Colin and the team at Weeks Forestry – also time-served Botex roof-mount owners – who contacted Jas P Wilson to say they were blown away by the new system.

Joe told Jas P Wilson’s Ian Brown: “It’s so easy to adjust and set it exactly how we need it. Day by day I’ve adjusted things here and there, and now my configuration is seamless. It simply does exactly what I’m asking of it, in such a fast and effortless way – it’s a real joy to use.

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“Also, as I’m not the only operator, it’s nice to know that other users won’t be adjusting my configuration. They have their own, so we’re all winners as I’m sure my settings wouldn’t be for everyone – but I guess that’s the point. The whole team can work productively on the same piece of kit, in entirely different ways.”

Forestry Journal: The digital display and easy-to-use menus offer full configuration access to user accounts.The digital display and easy-to-use menus offer full configuration access to user accounts.

Andy Hampson is Jas P Wilson’s third xCrane owner (for the moment), who again is a time-served Botex roof-mount owner. Andy, of Elm House Tree Services, recently purchased a stunning bronze Valtra with this new system controlling the Botex 570 roof mount.

He previously owned a Valtra 8150 fitted with the roof-mounted 6.75 m reach manual Botex 570 and commented: “I have just had my first experience of the xCrane after taking delivery of our brand-new N174 straight from Wilsons with a 570C. The xCrane is night and day in comparison to the trusted Parker hydraulic controls I have been using for over 10 years.

“The xCrane is very smooth in operation and able to do multiple functions with ease and without loss of speed or function as you would with the old hydraulic valve bank. With a short read of the manual and a little help from Mr Templeton, I navigated the menu to enable me to fully tailor the crane’s speed and response to my own liking. As always, the support from Wilsons is excellent and I would definitely recommend the new xCrane if you’re looking to upgrade to a power beyond Valtra.”

Forestry Journal: All major functions are within easy reach on the arm rests.All major functions are within easy reach on the arm rests.

Another important and sometimes overlooked area that Jas P Wilson has spent a lot of time developing is the operator’s driving position. Operators can spend long hours in these machines and it is very important to design this with ergonomics in mind. Wilsons has developed and produced its own lever pods and has improved the location of other related controls at the same time. All controls are mounted just where you want them, without the need to compromise on legroom. The result is a comfortable working environment for the operator and significantly less driver fatigue.

As well as operating new Botex loaders, the xCrane system can be retrofitted to a range of machines – for instance, older purpose-built machines with tired or faulty controls, or situations where replacement components may be very expensive or even obsolete.

Jas P Wilson says it can provide a complete system to replace all the electronics from your fingertips to the hydraulic valve for less cost than you might think.

For more information, call 01556 612233.

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