What’s yellow, has a long neck and likes munching on foliage in tall trees? A giraffe, yes … and also a Mini-Jarraff, an urban tree-trimming vehicle that’s making line clearance safer and easier for AEP Ohio’s forestry team.

The Mini-Jarraff isn’t difficult to use. Tree trimmers require two days of onsite training but, after that, they’re ready to operate the vehicle.

The Mini-Jarraff is designed for Right of Way maintenance in neighborhoods and city streets. It has a 55-foot reach, a 180-degree rotating saw head and, most importantly, a compact body that allows the vehicle’s operator to navigate it through tight backyard spaces.

Fallen trees and branches are one of the most common causes of power outages, so managing the limbs and brush that grow around our lines and equipment is critical to providing reliable service. Tree trimmers working near our customers’ power lines often climb and hoist themselves high in the air to execute precision cuts, so the option to perform the work from the ground is a big safety advantage.

Dale Hopkins, AEP Ohio’s region forestry manager, says the Mini-Jarraff is pretty easy to use. Tree trimmers require two days of onsite training but, following that, they are ready to operate the vehicle.

“It’s an incredible piece of equipment and a great tool for us,” says Dale Hopkins, AEP Ohio’s region forestry manager. “There’s a little joystick for operating it that our guys pick up pretty fast. We can get into tough spots so much easier, and the safety aspect is very important, too.”

AEP Ohio’s contractor Asplundh has three Mini-Jarraff vehicles working in the Columbus, Athens and Newark districts with one more on order. We’re hoping to add more to our fleet as budgets allow.

One response to “Say Hello to the Mini-Jarraff, AEP Ohio’s Newest Tree Trimmer

  1. Very nice and a very good idea. I’ve also seen videos of those amazing helicopter tree-trimming devices. I have vast respect for the tree coordinators in any power system, for theirs is the very definition of a thankless job.

    When I was learning electric power engineering in the 1990’s an article appeared in an EPRI journal describing a laser-based tree trimmer. Not the world’s most practical device, it consisted of a huge truck fitted with a laser cannon. Part of the discussion addressed the possible vulnerability of aircraft that might overfly the trimming operation.

    Thanks for keeping the lights on.

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