Inventor says anchors keep posts in place, allowing the fence line to follow riverbanks and hills and around bluffs of trees
SUNDRE, Alta. — Lloyd Quantz has designed a farmers’ fencing dream machine.
His fencer shakes the posts into the ground in three seconds, drills holes into the post, threads the wire automatically and moves onto the next one.
The design for Quantz’s automatic fencer was 30 years in his head. Each time he built a barbed wire fence or pounded in a staple or drilled on an insulator, he knew there had to be a better way.
“It was years getting ready for the idea and getting used to the idea of drilling through posts. I always thought we should be putting the wire through the posts, but I knew we had to come up with a mechanical way of doing it,” said Quantz, who farms near Olds, Alta.
He began building his Greenedge Precision Fencing prototype in 2006, and the first machine was built two years later.
Quantz believed plastic insulators and fence staples were the weak parts of a fence, which always needed to be replaced. Drilling holes through the wood eliminated the need for both.
Wood engineers told Quantz that drilling a hole through a fence would dry out the inside of the post, which meant the wood would no longer act as a conductor of electricity.
However, Quantz said the wood has amplified the current. What starts out as 7,000 volts of electricity at the power source can magnify to 9,200 volts farther along the fence.
“In a radio frequency amplified system, we have two opposite charge plates,” said Quantz, who showed off his fence at Red Deer River Ranches.
“We have a live wire and a ground wire, and they act as a capacitor and increase the current. They don’t create more electricity, they just increase the voltage.”
Quantz has since changed to a heavy duty bit that can drill holes through posts without wearing out. One of his machines has drilled 3,000 posts.
He said he often persuades producers to work with the topography and build fences along the landforms, down gullies and around trees.
“This machine is only as good as the fence it creates,” he said.
“We can build a fast fence and go along at a mile and a half a day pretty effortlessly and put up post and wire, but if that doesn’t stay in place soundly, it doesn’t work.”
Quantz uses anchors, braces and side plates to design fences that can curve around streams, trees and hills without pulling out of the ground.
“We have a three-angle plate, we drive it in beside the post on the line of force. Instead of the post pushing against the soil, it pushes against the steel plate like a dead man underground. We also anchor the fence with anchor plates that have a fin on them. We drive it in and pull it up and it makes a dead man,” he said.
“The important part is the bracing is strong. That is why we anchor everything in a dip. If we go down through a dip, put an anchor in the post to keep it down. That gives us an advantage to put the fence wherever you want it. We call it land form management and precision fencing.”
Unlike the more common “high and heavy” fencers that pound posts into the ground, Quantz’s fencer vibrates the post into the ground, even through rocky land.
“It should put a post in the ground in three to five seconds and it actually liquefies the soil around the post as it goes in.”
Once the post is in the ground, an arm folds out of the machine and holes are drilled into the post. The machine can be programmed to drill one to seven holes in the post. An automatic threader pulls the wire through the hole.
“The reason it works without insulators is because under 20 percent moisture, the wood is not a conductor,” he said.
“I maintain insulators are a racket we don’t need to get involved in. The plastics industry may need them, but we don’t.”
Quantz said he can build a fence on a straight line, but he prefers following riverbanks and hills, going around bluffs of trees and following the land.
“We talk a lot of people into leaving trees for wildlife because there isn’t good grazing there any how,” he said. “We follow the landforms . Some of those are etched in history. We don’t try to make straight lines. This machine allows us to make curves and we don’t have to make straight lines.”