There are some terms in the Swedish language that must be read a few times before understanding them. ‘Amfibisk vassklippare’ and ‘amfibisk redskapsbärare,’ (amphibian reed cutter and amphibian tool carrier) are two such terms.
“They are not so strange after all,” says Torbjörn Hahlin, President of Dorotea Mechanical. “It is commonplace that reeds spread in rivers and lakes, and one reason for this is eutrophication. The cause can be anything from small ponds on a golf course to long stretches on the Danube water system. Sooner or later, the reeds must be cut but ordinary mowers and construction equipment don’t suffice. What is needed instead are amphibious machines that can work both in water and on land.”
Dorotea Mechanical develops and sells reed cutters and other environmental technologies to some 40 countries. Amphibious is a key word in their business that includes a range of tools for cutting reeds, dredging and oil recovery.
Eutrophication – a local and regional problem
Phosphorus is almost always the main culprit of eutrophication in small lakes, steams and rivers. In Sweden, the south and central cultivated plains are the worst affected. Since the early 1900s, eutrophication has caused overgrowth problems in bays and shrunk the availability of phosphorous-free water. This applies both inland and at sea.
The causes of eutrophication have shifted over the years. Inadequate treatment of wastewater was previously a major problem for Swedish rivers, but now detrimental nutrients come from other sources. Leaching from agriculture, and emissions from vehicles and industries, contribute large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus to bodies of water. Inadequate sewage treatment is still a major problem in many parts of the world, not least in the Baltic Sea.
“Eutrophication has created a world market for us, where our machines help to keep waterways open. We have the technology to handle many different types of reeds but new challenges constantly emerge. One example is the Asian water hyacinth that spreads quickly and can grow ten meters wide in just eight months. This calls for innovative solutions,” says Hahlin.
Truxor does it all
“Our first mower was developed in the early 1990s as an attachment to a pleasure craft, and we still sell them. More advanced amphibian mowers like the Truxor are based on a model that we developed in the mid-1990s. We build about 60 units per year, almost all for export.”
“A Truxor cuts and collects reeds, and can dredge, excavate, clean up oil spills and perform other tasks. Because it works under water with low ground pressure, the Truxor can work in sensitive areas without damaging the environment.”
“Truxors are ideal for use around protected areas like golf courses, wetlands, or private properties where conventional construction equipment would cause soil damage. The machine easily turns on its own axis and can stop from full speed in less than half a meter. The collection of reeds and plants is important because otherwise they cause continued eutrophication,” continues Hahlin.
The Truxor can also clean up oil spills. “It is possible to operate in very shallow water using a skimmer that separates oil from water and can be stored in a tank for proper disposal. We also have a rotating device mounted on a Truxor that makes it easy to spread an oil absorbent material. A lot has happened since the 1990s. In 2009, we introduced the next generation Truxor, which was the same size as before but boasted higher performance and capacity to use different tools,” concludes Hahlin.
The article was published in September 2014