With the advent of portable electric hand pieces, gone are the days of having to transport a generator and shearing plant around the property, or to muster stock to the shearing shed. Although not intended to replace traditional machine shearing in sheds, portable shearing equipment can be useful for crutching mobs and shearing on the spot, ‘out the back’ away from power.

One of the innovators in this field is New Zealand farmer David Short who won the ‘Best Innovation’ award at Sheepvention’s farm invention competition in 2009 for his portable ‘Handypiece’ product. David says it wasn't long before the Handypiece found favour with many other farmers around his native New Zealand and then Australia, becoming famous for its slimline design, durability and ease of use.

The product has continued to develop with the launch last year of the new Handypiece ProTM which won the ‘Wool Harvesting and Equipment’ section at Sheepvention. The technology in the new Handypiece Pro boasts a high 1.3Nm of torque (the brushless motor creates little heat build-up), 1.4kg of weight (up to 100gms lighter than a traditional handpiece) and consistent speed adjustable for 2400rpm through to 3500rpm.

After seven years of development, David feels his company has come up with a complete package in the Handypiece Pro which he says combines all of the requirements needed for a true portable handpiece – comfort, convenience and effectiveness.

“With the new Handypiece Pro, we are offering our Handypiece Drive and power pack already attached to the new Lister hand piece,” he says. “This unit is superior in that it has no vibration and is extremely quiet. “The beauty of this system is that, unlike a lot of older hand pieces that are brushed, the Handypiece relies on a double roller sealed bearing behind the cam that can’t be clogged or fouled by dust, dirt, or mud. The direct drive design means fewer moving parts and therefore a longer motor life. This system will last for years.

“With its well-engineered weight distribution, it is not only balanced, but easy-to grip and comfortable to hold.” David says that with a low current draw from the 12Ah Lithium Polymer battery, you can crutch between 300-400 sheep on one charge, depending on the condition of the sheep and how dirty they are, or shear up to 50 sheep. “With an extra battery you will do a whole day’s crutching out the back of the farm,” David says. 

The Handypiece's batteries are long-life, with an average of 80% capacity remaining after 1000 recharges. Additional batteries can be purchased on request. As well as being battery operated (attached to the user’s belt, which is provided), for continuous crutching or shearing the 5 meter extension cord can attach to a quad bike or ute to power the 12-volt motor.

“The Handypiece’s design has been proven in working situations for farmers seeking an easier way of operating in today’s farming environment. It’s also ideal to keep in your vehicle through times of flystrike,” David adds.

The Handypiece Pro™ kit includes a Lister hand piece, Handypiece Drive, 5m extension cable, 12v Lithium battery pack and charger, belt, holster and pouch, screwdriver, oil bottle and carry bag. Additional battery packs are also available on request. David says the extreme quiet of the Handypiece when in use can benefit both the animal and operator – helping make it suitable not only for crutching and shearing sheep but also for use on alpacas and cow tail clipping.

Source: Beyond the Bale