Ritlee Info page covering various topics
Defenition of: 125 and 225 Ritlee wood chipper
Back in 1992 Ritlee started importing wood chippers from USA.
During this time we at Ritlee realized there was a market for a well made SA manufactured SA designed farmer sized wood chipper for various agricultural, sport and education applications!
During early 2002 we started with design and trials of our first unit.
Then our story!– Read on!
Development of Ritlee 225 wood chipper with Grinder
Various areas of South Africa and most of Africa has been affected by devastating droughts during the last few years. The effects of which are ongoing as our climate is ever changing. A number of farming areas is and has been affected.
With climate change, with lack of descent rainfall, with farmers being forces to allow over grazing, this all has lead to areas where there is absolutely no grazing left for livestock and game.
Picture from one of our Namibian farmer customers
Video of Swart Haak being chipped, ground and collected + video of drought area
Early picture after firs rains at Namibian farmer customer of Ritlee’s
Ritlee was approached on numerous occasions to see if we had any viable available solution at a farmer scale
It was during this period that Ritlee had been running performance, product properties and end product size tests with our Ritlee Wood Chipper which produces normal chips and built in our grinder into same unit to process and grind the chips in the same pass with 40 swing blades through a 15 mm screen. We had been running the machine the whole day on a property where we were clearing, chipping and grinding Vaalbos. This property also happened to have cattle grazing in the same area. Next morning when we arrived the cattle had eaten all grindings produced which was approximately 6 cubes of the raw material.
After much research, working together with farmers, vets, university research, laboratories, trials on different farms, corresponding with many interested and informed parties, and inhouse design team, the Ritlee designed 225 Chipper & Grinder Wood chipper was created.
We had to adapt and take into consideration different climatic conditions and vegetation characteristics. Suitable grinding sizes etc.
Following trials and research Ritlee has produced a chipper/grinder that we are proud to attach our name to. We work closely with existing customers taking into consideration all feedback received and are doing our best to supply a suitable machine fine tuned to the job at hand. This has obviously taken us through many a trial and error. This is a learning curve for all of us as we move forward. Ritlee is a small passionate family business. We are large enough to manufacture but small enough to really listen to your concerns and action new ideas when looking beneficial!
It is also important to note that you as the operator must be aware of what plants and vegetation you are making use of to produce your feed. It’s always a good idea to consult with your local agricultural laboratories. We offer guidelines but ultimately the onus is on you
Video of Namibia at its worst!
One of many emails received from Namibian farmer Ritlee customer using our tractor mounted 225 wood chipper with grinder Hydraulic feed!
Dear John, Dan and Marc
I dont really know how to start and try and explain to you guys what I REALLY want to say.
I think to fully understand what we as farmers have been through, and some are still experienceing, in 2019, you would have had to be here for about 10 months, straight, with no day off, what so ever.
To see how grazing disappears daily, and not finding any new growth in the rainy season, and knowing that another 10 months is ahead before there will hopefully be rain for growth, is as nerf wrecking as it probably can get for a farmer.
For me personally, this has been my first real bad drought, and if it wasn’t for my father, that have been through this before, we would have been in a much worse situation than we currently are.
We still lost a lot of money, but were able to pull through all our livestock and save most of the game on the farm. Had hickups here and there, but at least did not lose hundreds of livestock like some farmers did.
Also the guys that helped, and at this moment are still helping, to feed 500 cattle every day, and later another 100 or so, if it was not for them sacrificing hours, weekends and holidays this would not have been possible to achieve.
But with all that said, non of this would have been possible without the help of all you guys at Ritlee.
Without the equipment to produce food for starving animals, you already lost.
I can truly say, that the machine we got from you, was worth it in every way.
Yes, it was not optimised for bush and conditions in Namibia, but with feedback you recieved from us using it, and you actually listening to that feedback, and actually doing something with the feedback, I think deffenitly improved the standard of the Ritlee 225.
Yes improvements can still be made and yes unfortunately I have one of the earlier “test” models that dont have all the new changes :), but will I be able and willing to use it again or continuously? YES, I definitely can and will use it.
All I actually want to say is THANK YOU.
THANK YOU for all the help and understanding.
From the day we phoned to esquire about the product, received it, maintaining it, fixing it, and hopefully in the next couple of weeks to switch it off, for a while at least, the service, listening, understanding and help from you was beyond expectations.
You guys always stayed friendly and understanding. Always helped and responded where necessary, maybe the waiting part during production was a little frustrating :), but also understandable.
So from us here in a wet and green Namibia, THANK YOU again.
Paul Jnr + Snr.
Some of our design and product evolvement especially on the Grinding side of our product improvement and development
Our first 225 chipper with grinder was developed around local edible bush and trees here in SA, and works exceptionally well, 2nd to none!
The bush and trees here in SA are really different to those in Namibia and Botswana. Because of uncontrollable factors and dryness of material, did cause unforeseen problems on some of the units.
With Cymot Namibia’s help we slowly but surely got on top of the typical Namibian problem! With no help from some of our opposition with their clever? comments.
Though a real problem at the time, it was also a blessing in disguise in that our chipper with Mk2 grinder now has all the small but necessary changes built in as a standard giving us a chipper with grinder 2nd to none!
What is so nice is that we are big enough to do the job and small enough to listen to our customers to do the product improvement when and if required speedily!
Below are some Ritlee grinder improvements done as we developed for the chaining needs from Wattle to Acacias and each with their growth and bush characteristics.
Screen still same size, same holes but with rearranged holes to give more “Meat between holes” for extra strength Plus allowing one to reverse the screen if uneven wear!. ALSO mounting of screen into grinding chamber made easy now and universal on all MK2 grinders.
Universal screen to fit all Ritlee models and in a wide range from 8, 10, 12, 15, 20mm
Easy access into grinding chamber especially when doing Acacias which grow in all directions not like Black Wattle with vertical branches
New screen with reinforcing and ease of mounting!
Previous Screen & Mounting:
Quick video of tractor Mtd chipper grinder
In Namibia, now (2019) when so dry, when chipping and grinding, a lot of “‘Organic” dust is generated to levels never experienced by us at Ritlee.
On the original Ritlee Model 100 we sold, this should have had a better engine cover which allows efficient cooling.
Even, with this modification, because of the exceptional conditions, the body and engine should be checked and cleared of dust and fibre buildup at screens and ducting on a 2x per day basis.
Thankfully this problem only happened on the model 100 and no other models!
Obviously this fibre buidup was allowed without any control or supervision!
Flail Blade carrier bolts have been beefed up to 10.9 hardness high tensile
Flail Blades with reinforcing crease and correct hardness!
Blades used for grinding– Now all standard with ideal hardness, thickness and quality!
Grinder flail drum with 40 swing grinder blades
Jockey Pulley was overheating and bearings were ceasing.
New 1/3 larger Jockey Pully fitted with Tamkin bearings so that speed is reduced and temperature drops
Greasable Mounting bolt with center grease discharge nozzle to grease inside of the fitted bearings
Note how Jockey pulley mounted with easy tensioning.
Will easily take new bigger pulley and greasable bolt
Below problem was basically resolved with larger pr-grinding belly to allow ease of travel and, higher RPM
Most of the points below with relation to our wood chipper and optional grinder, are covered in the instruction and parts manual supplied with each new unit!
Chipper not pulling branch into feeding chamber.
- Check Blades, they may be blunt and need turning around, sharpening, replacement or setting of gap between Blade and Anvil
- Check that material fed is trimmed with panga to assist with ease of feed
Video of 225 Tractor Mounted gravity feed being fed with totally oversized material– Should be logically managed with panga!
Chipper is chipping, but not throwing product out.
- This means the unit is blocked, or, the drum is not turning at required speed of 1500 r/min minimum.
- You will hear a definite and pleasant whopping noise generated when turning at ideal chipping speed.
Log/branch bouncing in infeed chamber?
- Gap between Blade and Anvil too wide.
- or Blades need to be turned or sharpened or replaced.
Chippings blowing out of infeed chamber.
- Chipper housing and out feed chute are blocked.
- Shut unit down and unblock.
Chipper blocks easily
- Check product not too wet,
- or over feeding,
- or drum revolution too slow.
Video of 225 wood chipper with grinder battling to grind properly– please read 4. Prune what you want to grind one or 2 days before
- Engine Speed on Trailer Mount
- Maximum Revolution, Petrol 2,500 r/min Diesel 1,800 r/min
- Each machine has correct speed at manufacture with correct pullies and V-Belts fitted
- Tractor PTO speed
- 540 r/min
Chipper Drum & Blade & Anvil Related
When should Blades be changed?
- When sharp edge badly chipped, totally worn or rounded or sharpened past recommended blade minimum width of 117mm.
What is recommended gap between Blade and Anvil?
- The gap for best feeding and performance is 1mm.
What is the recommended torque setting of blade bolts?
- Assure that blade locking plate is in good condition.
- The recommended Torque is 200Nm using a torque limiter
Chipper Drum will not turn
- When finished work and turning unit off, ALWAYS assure that all material in in feed has been processed and chipped—when clear only then switch off!
- Piece of wood is stuck between the Blade and Anvil, this can be unblocked, turn drum in other direction.
Chipper drum out of balance causing vibration:
- Check that there is no water in drum — if yes, drain using drain hole built into drum.
- Assure drain hole at bottom of chipper camber housing is also open and allow water to drain.
Tractor required revolutions
- Depending on Tractor, anything from 1500-1700 r/min (you must hear whopping noise on Drum.)
- Please Note:We have a client in Postmasburg, who was using a John Deere 5 series Tractor, which was not effective for our Chipper, as the PTO speed although on 540, was variable speed and although good enough for implements, was not producing constant 540 revolutions on the PTO, so the drum speed was not fast enough, this was rectified by using another Tractor.
Video of material build up in infeed — Problem is speed from PTO– see 6– Do you hear the Whopping sound??
- Tractor has 540 and 1000 r/min can we use both?
- We recommend 540, but we do have clients that use both effectively.
- Product not coming out of Grinder.
- Check that the lever has been selected from Chipper to Grinder, or screen blocked, or product too wet.
- When chipping wet lush material like wattle, after harvesting branches and leaves some 2½ years and younger, allow to lie on ground for some 2 days before grinding.
- Do not overfeed chipper when grinding—allow grinder to process all material being loaded. You will hear when you are working at ideal feed rate which grinder can handle efficiently!
Rest of chipper related
Belts on Chipper smoking
- Belts need tensioning—all belts stretch within a few hours of operation and need tensioning.
- Overfeeding of fresh wet product can cause this, feed less product, be aware of behaviour.
Belt constantly braking
- When purchasing new sets of V-Belts, please try assuring that all belts for particular set are as matched as possible!
- Check Tension daily, check and grease Bearings daily, don’t overfeed unit.
Belts get hot
- This is normal, its friction.
Jockey Pulley gets hot
- This is normal, please ensure that you grease daily.
Engine makes clicking noise when starting or won’t start
- Check Battery Terminals, or Battery could be flat, or piece of wood is stuck between Blade and Anvil.
Engine smokes excessively at startup
- Assure that correct sump oil level is kept to—do not overfill!
- Video sent to me complaining about smoke within 1 month of delivery.– Unit was totally over filled with oil when servicing!
Quick way of setting anvil to chipper blade:
- Loosen anvil, its mounting bolts and its locator locking bolts.
- Make loose enough so that anvil can easily slip in to blade and out from blade – parallel to.
- Push anvil towards blade –Parallel to – about 3mm deeper than should be when tightened.
- Finger tighten anvil in this position with mounting bolts!—loose enough that blades can push anvil backwards along blade sharp edging.
- Turn drum with blades BACKWARDS so that blades will push anvil back close to position it should be when working well!
- Gently turn drum a few times backwards so that both blades make correct spacing with anvil.
- Happy with this then tighten mounting bolts and turn drum backwards again by hand —this tightening normally pulls anvil down that small distance to allow the 1mm and less clearance required!—
- Make sure that blade is clear from anvil before operating!
- Tighten all down, set locator bolts and tighten down as well!