Merlo/GMT and ATC Land Management

Melbourne-based ATC Land Management has taken a giant leap forward in productivity and safety – thanks to the acquisition of a Merlo Roto 50.26S telehandler and GMT050TTC grapple saw from Forest Centre.

ATC Land Management has been in the arbor industry for over 35 years, and offers services ranging from full tree and stump removal through to mulching, chipping, stump grinding, pruning, and arboricultural reports. The company is based out of Essendon, Victoria, and works throughout the Melbourne metro area.

Owner/Director Tom Salt is a climber and a seasoned professional.

“While tree works can require a light touch, where possible we try and incorporate our heavy machinery to assist with our work,” Tom told us. “This not only reduces the time of man hours for the works, but also reduces the fatigue and increases worksite safety.”

It was this business strategy which led Tom to go looking for a suitable telehandler/grapple-saw outfit, and to end up with a new Merlo/GMT combination: Australia’s first new Merlo Roto with GMT050TTC attachment.

Hard work

ATC Land Management couldn’t be happier with the increased efficiency and safety the Merlo Roto 50.26S and GMT grapple saw have brought to its work sites. Image: Forest Centre

“We do a lot of clearing and storm damage…that kind of work,” Tom told us. “With the Merlo/GMT we’re trying to utilise both being able to do the job safely and efficiently, and also to limit the need for outside trades, cranes and EWPs. We’re trying to streamline everything so we can do a bit more in-house.”

Shaun Pollard at Melbourne Tractors could see Tom was an excellent candidate to reap big benefits from Merlo and GMT equipment combo.

“Tom’s in tree-care management, and the two products, the Merlo and the GMT, work hand-in-hand,” said the cheerful sales manager.“The Merlo weighs just over 17 tons. It’s a big machine with a lifting load capacity of five tons and a lifting height off its telescopic system of 25.9m. It also has a maximum reach at ground level of 22.9m.

“And this thing’s capable of getting into some really intricate areas.” That’s clearly a big plus for any forestry or arbor equipment, but Shaun, like Tom, could see some an even more important benefit.

“Safety,” said Shaun with a firm jaw and steely gaze. “Tom and his team were doing jobs manually were they had ropes and they’d sling themselves up the tree with a chainsaw. He’s much safer from doing this work from inside the cab.

A big step forward

And so far the equipment is doing everything expected of it.

“I was climbing and cutting for the crane, so I have a good understanding of what weights I’m taking,” explained Tom. “As long as you have that knowledge behind you, the rest’s fairly simple.

“There’s a few really good features on of Merlo/GMT rig. The stabilisers let me set up in some pretty cool spots where I couldn’t get a crane, and it still has good capacity to do what I wanted and needed it to do.”

“‘Roto’ in the name means it offers continuous rotation on the top of the operating station for that machine,” chimed in Shaun. “Tom can continuously turn 360° on a turntable and get in to some really tight spaces, and he has the ability to park the machine in a safe area, or in a tight-spaced area, and then reach and lift to height to work with that GMT grapple saw to bring down branches and heavy bits and pieces safely.” “That’s probably the biggest thing, I think.”

Tom Salt and his offsider, Enver, were doing jobs manually were they had ropes and they’d sling themselves up the tree with a chainsaw. They’re much safer with the new machinery. Image: Forest Centre

The best bit

With big increases in efficiency and safety the machinery has already proven a total winner, Tom pointing out with satisfaction the rig, “…massively reduced our risk. That was the main thing.”

And after his early run with the machinery, has ATC Land Management been happy with the new equipment?

“I’m rapt,” chuckled the Victorian. “It’s well worth the investment.

See more Merlo and GMT equipment at

Image: Forest Centre


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