Case Studies

City of Bruges

The Belgian city of Bruges is pesticide free, and has been since 2015. The City has been operating two Multihog MX units for chemical-free weed control since April 2017, and Jan Slabbinck, (an expert in organisational management) was responsible for sourcing the units to replace an older machine which used a less eco-friendly weed burner.

The City’s previous weed burner method wasn’t the most ergonomic, comfortable or safe option for the operators. They often had to get out and manually burn weeds whilst working in busy urban areas. With the arrival of the Multihog, fitted with the Heatweed chemical-free weed control attachment, a better option was found.

The Heatweed attachment is fitted to the front of the Multihog with a water tank on the rear. It administers boiling water to weeds on a sensor-system, and uses no chemicals. Since the sensor is only triggered when the camera system spots a weed, it’s very economical with water, reducing water wastage, emissions and refill times.

Having seen it at a demo, Jan was impressed by the high build quality of the Multihog compared to their existing tractor. “The cabin was really comfortable. I noticed that when I jumped in during the demo. You’ve got to think about the comfort of your operator when they’re doing long shifts, often in bad weather. The warm cabin is invaluable for wet or cold days. They’re also no longer straining their backs to get hand lances in places where the old tractor couldn’t go. Everything is done via joystick from inside the cabin. The Heatweed attachment is great because it is sensor-triggered, my operators don’t have to guess when to spray. It’s clever – it does all of that for you, saving a lot of wasted water. All of these are small but significant bonuses when we are trying to be as environmentally-friendly as possible on a daily basis.”

Staying inside the cabin when treating the weeds saves the crew a lot of time, which means they can cover a larger area in less time, giving the City’s taxpayers better value for money.

The weed control season generally runs from March to October, so the Multihog is out in force during that period. Jan mentions that they are considering watering arm attachments for the front of their Multihog units. “With efficiency in mind, we are thinking about using the Multihog to water the City’s hanging baskets in the summer, as their height means they require a bit of organisation for manual watering to take place. It could be another way we can save time and money for our residents.”

The best advantage of the Multihog for Jan comes from a more personal viewpoint. “Apart from the environmental benefits, it’s also really, really comfortable to drive, which means a lot when an operator is spending 5 days per week in it. For me, I’m relieved that it has improved our operational safety. Busy streets and sidewalks in a large city brings a set of risks which can’t be removed completely, but now that my crew are stationed inside a cabin instead of standing out on the kerbside/roadside, it’s certainly more reassuring for me.“

  • City of Bruges, Belgium
  • MX