By Steve Noe
MTD Products Inc. usually goes about its business quietly, allowing news to trickle out slowly through each of its brands, such as Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt, Columbia, Yard Machines, Remington and Arnold. Even when the Cleveland, Ohio-based company makes a big splash, it is slow to release details.
So, it should come as no surprise that MTD waited until January 28 to announce not only one, but two major acquisitions that took place in December. In the process of announcing the acquisitions of CORE Outdoor Power, known for its gasless motor technology, and Precise Path Robotics, known for its advanced robotic technology, MTD sent a loud and clear message to the rest of the industry.
“MTD is committed to the professional market,” said MTD CEO Rob Moll. “Robotic and gasless technologies have the power to transform the world of outdoor power equipment, and we look forward to bringing the benefit of these new innovations to our consumer and trade customers.”
CORE Outdoor Power, a Polson, Mont.-based company, is widely known for its Conductor Optimized Rotary Energy (CORE) gasless motor technology that produces high-torque rotary motion at higher efficiencies and power levels than conventional electric motors. With zero emissions, little noise, and torque levels equal to two-cycle gasoline-powered engines, CORE technology, according to MTD, is poised to disrupt the market for portable outdoor power equipment — especially when combined with the company’s recently developed lithium power cell, which is capable of storing and delivering unprecedented amounts of power in a very small package. The marriage of these two technologies allows for an environmentally clean line of products that will allow for a new approach to the OPE market, which has been historically dominated by two-cycle gas engines.
Precise Path Robotics, an Indianapolis-based company, is a leader in advanced robotic outdoor equipment with patented technologies that will enable the development of a wide range of robots for use in a variety of outdoor environments, including golf courses, sports fields and residential homes. Precise Path’s robust and modular system architecture integrates a variety of custom and off-the-shelf sensor technologies that combine to produces precise cutting patterns. The company brought to market the world’s only commercially available autonomous greens mower, the RG3, designed specifically for golf course putting greens. Advanced robotic technology allows the RG3 to travel in straight lines and along curved perimeters without the need of an operator to guide it — enabling golf course superintendents to achieve consistent and excellent course conditions while reducing operating costs.
“MTD has a history of bringing game-changing innovation to the market,” said Jean Hlay, president and COO, MTD Products, “and these two acquisitions serve to reinforce our core principles and accelerate the pace with which we bring our vision of the future to life.”
As a privately held company, MTD does not disclose financial investments. However, according to a company spokesperson, MTD now owns the rights to CORE technology and expertise as it applies to the OPE industry. CORE Outdoor Power will be integrated into MTD’s handheld division in Tempe, Ariz., and will continue to distribute the Core Elite-Series and Pro-Series products through CORE’s current dealers and retailers, as well as at www.coreoutdoorpower.com, while developing new outlets for distribution. CORE handheld products will be manufactured at MTD’s facility in Nogales, Mexico, to leverage low-cost assembly and vertical integration. The employees that are behind the CORE technology will continue to work within MTD to evolve this technology further with the additional resources available at MTD.
MTD acquired Precise Path in full. As a part of the acquisition, MTD Products has chosen to retain the Precise Path operations in Indianapolis, where engineering, R&D, and low-volume manufacturing operations can excel. MTD is finalizing details to be announced at a later time regarding distribution.