Recon’s remote-control mulcher is turning heads

A Recon FM-80 clearing dense Lantana on a New South Wales roadside.

James and Cameron Gray are turning heads with their new remote-control mulcher, specially designed for the harsh Australian bush.

The twin brothers and founders of Recon Industries Australia in Newcastle developed their ground-breaking mulcher with a DEUTZ engine and mulching heads by FAE Shredding Technologies.

James says it’s a match made in heaven as the radio controlled machine, dubbed the Recon FM-80 (FM stands for Forest Mulcher), is innovative and versatile – like Recon and DEUTZ.

Designed and manufactured in Australia, the purpose built machine is powered by a DEUTZ BF4L2011 engine developing 55kw/77HP. It operates in all conditions, including areas that normal skid steer machines can’t reach. 

“We manufacture these in our Newcastle workshop,” James says. “It is designed to handle the harsh Australian terrain and temperatures.

“With the machine being remote controlled, this removes the machine operator from dangerous or potentially hazardous situations, including motorway shoulder clearing. 

“The operator can be safety positioned to avoid injury from a collision from passing traffic.” 

James says the unique product was developed for the Australian and possibly international markets. The FM-80 could prove ideal for local councils, road traffic authorities and anyone needing to clear stubborn vegetation from uneven ground.

While COVID-19 freight issues have slowed development and production, James already has some interest and plans to take the FM-80 on a roadshow around New South Wales and then other states when restrictions ease.

Recon Industries manufactures specialised machinery and equipment, including tracked and wheeled loaders and carriers, and wheeled airport equipment such as electric tugs. It has contractors around Australia.

James and Cameron are qualified electrical fitters and service the niche purpose-built mobile machinery market. Each job is custom made with care, creativity and quality parts. 

Using a DEUTZ engine in his latest project was a no-brainer for James, who says they are extremely reliable, as are his DEUTZ Australia contacts, including BD Manager – Engines Ross Harman.

“They’re very helpful,” James says of DEUTZ. “They go the extra mile. It’s a good product, it’s reliable, it works, and it’s got a good brand name behind it.”

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The Recon FM-80:  

  • Excels at operating as a forestry/ brush mulcher in steep, difficult terrain, hot temperatures and tackling Australian hardwoods.  
  • Can maintain roadside vegetation and grass, and clear areas with hard wood timber up to 125 mm in diameter.  
  • Has a skid steer attachment plate for attachments such as stump grinder, trencher and dozer blade.  
  • Is designed to operate high flow attachments day in, day out, regardless of the conditions.  
  • Minimises operating costs with features such as gearbox driven independent closed loop hydraulic pumps for travel and high flow hydraulics. 
  • Has large access doors and covers for easy maintenance.  
  • Boasts a hydraulic system that allows most high and standard flow attachments from various manufactures to be fitted and used. 

General Specifications  

  • Weight maximum with mulching head and options fitted – 3350 kg 
  • Length – 2500 mm without winch or attachment  
  • Height – 1350 mm (depending on options) 
  • Width – 1600 mm 
  • Engine – Deutz 77 Hp 
  • Fuel Tank – 80 litres  
  • Hydraulic tank – 80 litres plus system volume  
  • Operating angle exceeding 45 degrees.
  • Tracks – 300mm wide steel tracks with rubber pads or options for rubber only 
  • Travel speed – variable displacement travel drives 0 – 7 Kph. 
  • Hydraulics – Closed loop variable displacement pumps for travel drives and high flow hydraulic output of 150 lpm to drive high flow attachments.