Firm Grip on Efficiency and Safety

Firm Grip on Efficiency and Safety

Built-in grapple and cutter let Altec MT66-76 cut tree-work cost, boost safety.

For tree trimming professionals, cutting down trees can be time consuming and carry risks from working at height and around power lines.

That is especially true when it comes to the right-of-way clearing required by most public utilities.

According to Andy Price, Altec’s tree care market manager, “Through customer feedback, Altec developed a product that offers an industry-leading approach to safety while performing utility line clearance.”

The MT66-E76 is a remote-controlled insulated (46kV) tree-trimming unit with a cutting head designed and built by Altec.

Price continued, “This unit was engineered with the worker in mind. With a combination of features new to the industry, it lets operators stay outside the danger zone while safely cutting most problem limbs, even those with incidental line contact.”

This innovative technology from Altec signals a shift in protecting workers, something the tree care industry hopes to see more of in coming years.

Chriso Lee is vice president of ArborWorks Inc., Oakhurst, California, a tree care company specializing in hazard tree removal, utility line clearance, and vegetation management. Lee said his company’s experience with the MT66-E76 has been revolutionary for trimming trees around power lines.

“The MT66-E76 can reduce and even eliminate human exposure to the hazards that are unique to our industry while it expeditiously executes some of what used to be the most dangerous tasks,” Lee said.

“With this technology, we’re able to remove tree branches that are over, near, and around energized conductors without endangering human life,” he added. “The MT66-E76 will become the standard for accessible trim work in the utility setting.”

Altec’s MT66-E76 can:

  • Eliminate the need to de-energize and ground power lines to complete trimming
  • Lessen the time it takes to trim limbs that have incidental contact with power lines
  • Reduce the time to trim problem limbs that overhang power lines

Unique Design 

With three methods of articulation for easy positioning, the MT66-E76’s cutting head design is exclusive to Altec.

The unit’s insulating boom, permanently installed cutting head, radio remote control, and elevator that provides up to 76’ of reach all combine for an inventive piece of equipment that can improves productivity and safety both in the electric utility and tree care industries.

The MT66-E76’s unique design lets operators cut and control an 8” diameter limb with the grapple or cut and drop a 14” limb, all while staying safely away from the tree. For added operator and equipment safety, the unit also includes an insulating boom.


The MT66-E76’s insulating boom and remote control enable reliable production in the safest manner possible. Because all work can be completed remotely, the MT66-E76 allows workers to have the lowest exposure to risk than any other known trimming equipment.

While maintaining a safe distance from the drop zone and work area, workers can cut and move a 150-lb. limb away from an energized line. In the past, that would have been almost impossible for a man in a bucket with a traditional saw.

As another benefit, the remote controls let an operator complete any job with minimal physical output.

Sean Graziano, a tree care product specialist at Altec, has 16 years of experience in the tree care and utility safety industry. He is also an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist, a Tree Care Industry of America Certified Tree Care Safety Professional, and a Utility Safety & Ops Leadership Network Certified Utility Safety Professional.

According to Graziano, the MT66-E76’s remote controls not only make tree care removal safer; they also help extend the careers of arborists.

“If they’ve been doing tree care work for a long time, their body is naturally going to wear down because of the intense nature of the job,” he said.” Their experience is really valuable, and with the MT66-E76, they can continue to do the work without any physical strain. It makes light work out of what traditionally has been very difficult.”

Cost Savings

The unique design and improved safety features of the MT66-E76 can reduce costs for business owners.

In many cases, a three-person crew and an MT66-E76 can do jobs that would in the past have taken a larger crew and more equipment.

Also, the permanently installed cutting head allows quick setup, reducing time on the job site.

Overall, this unit allows a smaller crew and more efficient work. A minimal crew with the MT66-E76, an aerial lift, and a chip truck will help many businesses reduce the typical operating cost associated with line-clearing equipment.

When considering the future of tree trimming, this unit leads the way for crews to shorten working times, reduce costs, and above all, increase safety, something that should always be top of mind


Lift & Access is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.