By Steve Noe
The 2015 Green Industry & Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO), which was held Oct. 21-23 at Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center, set several show records.
The footprint of the show was 1.35 million square feet (more than 30 acres and the size of 27 football fields), which was the show’s largest ever. More than 21,000 people attended the show, representing an 11-percent increase in registration over last year. Hardscape North America (HNA), co-located with GIE+EXPO, also had a record attendance with a 4-percent increase over 2014.
There were 704 indoor exhibits, which represented a 4-percent increase over 2014. With 193 new exhibitors, it was the largest show since the Green Industry Expo (GIE) and the International Lawn, Garden and Power Equipment Expo (EXPO) merged in 2007. The popular New Products Showcase featured 63 companies spotlighting more than 100 products that were introduced within the past year, and more than 25 exhibitors hosted press conferences.
With sunshine and temperatures in the 70s and 80s, activity in the Outdoor Demonstration Area buzzed both days, giving attendees a chance for hands-on experience with equipment from 120 exhibitors.
Following is an in-depth look at news from many of the exhibitors. For additional exhibitor news, please see our extended coverage at outdoorpowerequipment.com.
Altoz continues to expand with all-new XR series, more options for XE series
Altoz, manufacturer of high-performance zero-turn-radius (ZTR) mowers, announced the introduction of the all-new XR series and more options for the XE series.
Thanks to a successful 2015 introduction of the XE series, the XR series will cater to the multi-acre homeowner and continue Altoz’s line expansion that includes 33 models. Both the XE and XR will have the option of Honda GXV and Kohler engines, and the XE will continue to have the option of Vanguard and Kawasaki engines in 2016.
“This season, Altoz will have two great model lines engineered specifically for homeowners and commercial operators maintaining larger yards or multiple-acre properties — the XE and now the all-new XR model,” said Dennis Brazier, Altoz chief executive officer. “The XE was a strong addition for our dealers last year, and we expect the XR to be even more successful. With having an option of two great engines to choose from, we believe these two models will help dealers reach even more customers.”
Using the same engineering principles and attention to detail found in Altoz’s award-winning XC model, the XR line will deliver the precision cut, reliability, durability and comfort that have become synonymous with the Altoz brand. Two unique models — XR 480 and XR 540 — make up the XR line. Durable twin Hydro-Gear ZT-2800 commercial transmissions are featured in both models, which are available in 48- and 54-inch cutting-deck widths. Large 20-inch rear tires and a high-back seat combine for a comfortable ride.
“It’s exciting to add Honda GXV and Kohler engines to our lineup; they have a very high satisfaction rate,” added Brazier. “Offering consumers options is also important to Altoz. With Kohler, Kawasaki, Briggs & Stratton and Honda, consumers will have a choice of quality engines.”
In 2016, Altoz will also offer its XE series with several optional features. They include the Altoz Independent Front Suspension (IFS), the industry’s first parallel twin A-arm independent front suspension (IFS). With adjustable coil springs over gas shocks, which are fine-tuned for precise compression and rebound, the IFS system smoothes out rough terrain and allows operators to mow faster with superb comfort and control. The IFS system is designed to further enhance the performance, function and race-inspired style for which Altoz is famous. In addition, the 2016 XE series will be available with a choice of Honda, Kohler, Briggs & Stratton or Kawasaki engines.
“The XE was so well received by our dealers last year that we wanted to offer a few more options to make it an even better mower,” said Brazier.
For more information, visit www.altoz.com.
ARI highlights latest dealership offerings
At GIE+EXPO 2015, ARI Network Services demonstrated two of its latest OPE dealership offerings: ARI Premium Directory Management and ARI Inventory powered by LotVantage.
1) ARI Premium Directory Management: A whopping 61 percent of local searches result in a purchase, according to Search Engine Watch. However, 50 percent of online business listings contain errors, and 70 percent of business owners say they don’t have time to manage listings on sites used by consumers.
ARI’s Premium Directory Management (PDM) allows dealers to control their online business listings and tap into 7.5 billion local searches, so prospective buyers have no problems finding a dealer’s website or brick-and-mortar store using a search engine or directory. PDM provides the following:
* Real-time updates: Dealers can update information instantly from an ARI-powered website across 60-plus directories, search engines and navigational apps, ensuring their business listings are accurate and up-to-date.
* Google My Business optimization: Dealers can gain control of their listings on Google, where more than 50 percent of online local searches occur. The service helps dealers claim and optimize their listings on Google to attract the #1 search engine and respond to Google reviews.
* Delete duplicates: Dealers can identify, redirect, and deactivate duplicate listings to ensure that only desired listings are public, and there is no confusion for the shopper or the search engine.
* Online reputation reporting: Dealers can get access to what people are saying about them online.
* Exclusive clickable featured messages: Dealers can add featured messages on the top online directories that click through to their website to drive more qualified leads to their store.
“Premium Directory Management normalizes and standardizes your data,” said Bob Jones, ARI’s vice president of sales. “It makes sure your contact information is accurate with all of the aggregators such as Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, Foursquare and Facebook.
“The average dealership has 80 to 100 errors in their listings. Dealers could go into these sites and correct each manually or pay ARI a monthly fee (for Premium Directory Management) to take care of all of their errors and lock it down. This will also optimize their (search engine optimization).”
2) ARI Inventory powered by LotVantage: ARI Inventory powered by LotVantage gives dealers the power to feed multiple sales channels with the inventory information loaded into an ARI dealer website. ARI Inventory powered by LotVantage is tailored to each dealership, with live tracking, easy-to-use templates and one-on-one customer service all designed to help dealers drive more leads and “Sell More Stuff!” online and in-store.
“LotVantage takes your inventory and pushes it out to third-party websites such as Craigslist and eBay,” said Jones. “It allows dealers to work on their business, not in their business.”
Jones also said that ARI plans to introduce a dealership mobile app in early 2016.
For more information, visit arinet.com.
Ariens Company introduces IKON XL zero-turn mower
Ariens unveiled the IKON XL, an all-new zero-turn mower built for the prosumer and large-acreage cutter markets. The IKON XL is crafted with the same durability and quality as the Ariens IKON X, but includes several upgraded features needed for cutting larger properties. Packed with premium features like fabricated deck designs in either 42-inch or 52-inch sizes, the IKON XL incorporates enhancements that improve overall durability and comfort.
While other residential mowers incorporate multi-piece frames, the IKON XL is built on a single tubular steel frame, which is welded, not bolted, at every joint for added strength and stability. In addition, the newly designed, fully fabricated, commercial-style cutting deck has a 4.5-inch-deep design to provide airflow in challenging mowing conditions, delivering an outstanding quality of cut. The wide discharge opening allows for even dispersal of clippings without clumping, while the constant tension deck belt system increases the life of the belt and reduces the need for adjustments.
The IKON XL was built with several considerations that improve the operator comfort, integrating features such as a custom-designed, plush, high-back seat with padded armrests, which helps support the operator who needs to tackle a large job. The dial height-of-cut selection, which puts 13 cutting positions at the operator’s fingertips, and other upgrades like the foot-operated deck lift, cup holder, storage compartments and advanced vibration isolation were added to increase operator efficiency.
Larger front and back tires add to the machine’s durability and efficiency, while the easily-serviceable Hydro-Gear ZT-2800 transmission reduces downtime. All models are available with a Kohler 7000 Series engine.
“With the Ariens IKON XL, we sat down and looked at everything that was working well for the IKON X, and added even more features to increase the durability for operators who are using their mowers longer than a typical homeowner,” said Jeralyn Braun, Ariens Company product marketing manager. “We wanted to create a machine that can stand up to the work that our customers with large properties have to maintain. The IKON XL is the perfect solution for those that need a more efficient, more comfortable ride.”
Models start at a list price of $4,459 USD and are available through authorized Ariens dealers only. The unit comes backed by a three-year limited consumer warranty and a five-year limited warranty on the frame and deck shell. A full slate of accessories is also available for the IKON XL, including a powered two-bucket bagger, mulching kit, LED headlight kit and full range of tow-behind accessories. For more information, visit www.ariens.com.
Briggs & Stratton displays latest innovative products
Briggs & Stratton Corporation showed off its latest wave of innovative products and technology at GIE+EXPO.
“A few year years ago, I talked a little bit about innovation and where our company was headed,” said Todd Teske, chairman, president and CEO of Briggs & Stratton Corporation. “And I think now two to three years later, if you look around the booth, we’re executing.”
* On the commercial engines side, Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power introduced its Vanguard air-cooled V-Twin Big Block EFI engine, which gives landscape contractors the power and durability that only Big Blocks offer with the increased fuel efficiency of a closed-loop electronic fuel injection (EFI) system. “Since Vanguard pioneered the Big Block engine category in turf in 2005, they have been famous for delivering big power in a compact air-cooled engine,” said Jim Cross, marketing manager for Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power. “With the Big Block EFI engine, operators are getting that versatile all-day power with the added benefit of a more fuel-efficient power source.” The new engine joins a growing lineup of Vanguard EFI engines, including open-loop Big Block EFI engines for mud boats in the marine market and the closed-loop 810 EFI engines for zero-turn commercial mowers. Big Block engines are designed for the toughest mowing jobs, powering commercial mowers with 54-inch cutting decks and larger. The new EFI technology is available in 33- and 37-gross-hp. Big Block engines. It features an automotive-based closed-loop EFI system for up to 25 percent better fuel economy compared to the already-efficient carbureted Big Block engines. EFI engines use less fuel than carbureted engines because fuel in an EFI system is delivered precisely where and when needed, so fuel flow is less under certain conditions. Like the Vanguard 810 EFI engine, the Big Block EFI engine offers unique diagnostic features to arm fleet or dealer technicians with an abundance of information to eliminate downtime and optimize engine performance. Three diagnostics options will enable easy identification of issues in the field, and provide technicians unmatched ability to test, update, save, and share engine data. These include in-field blink codes, supported by Vanguard’s exclusive Power Code; a Tiny Scan reader that can be plugged into the service port to display error codes; and a cable connecting the ECU to a computer for a deeper dive into engine data. For more information, visit www.vanguardengines.com.
* On the consumer engines side, the company introduced Gas Off by Briggs & Stratton hand and surface cleaner. Whether at the pump or in the garage or workshop, nearly all of us have experienced the unwanted, lingering smell and/or leftover residue of gas or diesel on our hands, clothes, cars or outdoor power equipment. Gas Off by Briggs & Stratton provides an effective solution to the widespread challenge of removing that residue and odor of gas or diesel. Gas Off doesn’t mask the smell like other sprays, cleaners and home remedies. Its special mal-odor, nano-scale formula transfers the gas or diesel molecules onto wipes (or towel if using the spray), leaving your hands clean and odor-free. Gas Off is a non-toxic, plant-based formula, and will not dry out hands like alcohol-based cleaners. Gas Off comes packaged in convenient single-use foil packs, an eight-ounce spray bottle, a 15-wipe flat pack perfect for glove compartments or a 36-wipe canister ideal for a garage or workshop. Gas Off is currently available at Walmart and will be available at other dealers and select retailers in spring 2016. For more information, go to www.briggsandstratton.com.
In addition, Briggs & Stratton’s Turf and Consumer Products Division introduced several zero-turn mowers under its Ferris, Snapper and Simplicity brands, as well as an inverter generator. The division also highlighted its POWERflow+ technology pressure washers, as well as its SnowShredder auger system on single-stage snowblowers under its Simplicity and Briggs & Stratton brands.
* Ferris announced that for 2016 the Ferris IS 3200Z will feature three new top-of-the-line powerful commercial engine options: a Briggs & Stratton 32-gross-hp., 896-cc Vanguard Big Block; a Briggs & Stratton 37-gross-hp., 993-cc Vanguard Big Block with EFI; or Kawasaki 35-gross-hp., 999-cc FX1000V. For commercial cutters seeking a diesel option, the new IS 2600Z with Ferris’ patented mower suspension system will be available with a 24-gross-hp., 904-cc Yanmar diesel engine, allowing it to travel up to 10 mph and mow up to five acres per hour. Ferris also rolled out three new Fleet Series fixed-frame zero-turn mowers: the compact, mid-frame F160Z with three engine options (a 26- or 28-gross-hp. Briggs & Stratton or a 23.5-gross-hp. Kawasaki FX730V engine), Hydro-Gear ZT-4400 transaxles, and iCD cutting system in 48- and 52-inch cutting widths; the mid-frame F210Z with 2 engine options (28-gross-hp. Briggs & Stratton Vanguard 810 EFI or a 25.5-gross-hp. Kawasaki FX801V engine), Hydro-Gear ZT-5400 powertrain transaxles, and a 61-inch iCD cutting system with a professional striping kit; and the F320Z for tackling large-acreage jobs with a 37-gross-hp. Briggs & Stratton Vanguard Big Block EFI or 35-gross-hp. Kawasaki FX1000V engine, Hydro-Gear ZT-5400 powertrain transaxles, and iCD cutting system with 61- or 72-inch cutting widths. Ferris also debuted the Soft Ride Stand-on (SRS) Z2 mower, featuring a first-of-its-kind adjustable operator platform for optimum comfort and unprecedented performance. For more information about Ferris mowers, visit www.ferrismowers.com.
* Snapper introduced its 360Z zero-turn mower, complete with a rear cargo bed to provide homeowners with more on-the-go versatility and convenience than a traditional zero-turn mower. The integrated rear cargo bed (optional on some models) has a 50-pound capacity to add even more utility around the yard. The 360Z includes many commercial-grade-inspired features. A 46-inch stamped or 42-, 48- or 52-inch fabricated steel mower deck offers cutting durability. A commercial-style foot-operated mower deck lift makes adjusting between 13 height-of-cut positions simple for the operator. “The Snapper 360Z is much more than just a zero-turn mower,” said Harold Redman, president of Briggs & Stratton’s Turf and Consumer Products Division. “With the new cargo bed, homeowners can carry tools, mulch, flowers, debris, and even a cooler for ice-cold water for those warm days of mowing.” The 360Z is available with a 22-gross-hp. Briggs & Stratton Intek, 21.5-gross-hp. Kawasaki, or a 23- or 25-gross-hp. Briggs & Stratton Professional Series engine with ReadyStart. For more information about the Snapper 360Z, visit www.snapper.com.
* Simplicity introduced two zero-turn mowers — the Contender for prosumers and the Courier for residential use. The Contender is a commercial-quality zero-turn mower that is available in two models featuring a 25-gross-hp. Briggs & Stratton Commercial Series V-twin engine; high-performance Hydro-Gear ZT-3100 transaxles; a rugged, welded-steel frame; and a 52- or 61-inch fabricated mower deck. Both models feature speeds up to 8 mph, a 5.5-gallon fuel tank and 20-inch drive tires. The Courier is a premium zero-turn mower with the versatility of a utility vehicle, thanks to an integrated rear cargo bed with a 50-pound capacity and universal attachments. The Courier also features an exclusive suspension comfort system, a 23- or 25-gross-hp. 724-cc Briggs & Stratton Professional Series engine with ReadyStart, a 12-gauge steel frame, pivoting welded steel front axle, durable stamped or fabricated mower deck, foot-operated deck lift for 13 possible height-of-cut positions from 1.5 to 4.5 inches, and an integrated parking brake. For more information, visit www.simplicitymfg.com.
* The new P2200 PowerSmart Series inverter generator is equipped with parallel capabilities previously only available on more expensive units, so it can be tethered together with another inverter generator to provide outdoor recreation and tailgating enthusiasts with even more quiet and consistent, affordable power. “Outdoor recreation enthusiasts who require more power than a standard 2- or 3-kilowatt inverter, but still want the benefit of quiet operation, now have the ability to connect two Briggs & Stratton PowerSmart Series inverter units,” said Dan Roche, director of marketing for Briggs & Stratton’s Portable Power and Cleaning Systems group. “This provides tailgaters and campers with the additional power needed to run their RV’s HVAC unit, while simultaneously keeping the lights on, cell phones charging, and music playing.” Parallel capabilities allow two PowerSmart Series units to be connected — either on two P2200s, two P3000s or a P2200 and a P3000 inverter — for more power. The new PowerSmart Series P2200 has 1,700 running watts and 2,200 starting surge watts, and comes with a USB adapter, two 120-volt outlets and one 12-volt DC accessory battery-charging outlet. The P2200 inverter is up to 45-percent lighter than traditional camping generators. Designed with camping and tailgating in mind, all Briggs & Stratton PowerSmart Series inverter generators are quiet, lightweight and efficient. They feature computer-controlled technology that continuously monitors and automatically adjusts engine speed to reduce noise and conserve fuel. With less than 3 percent total harmonic distortion, the PowerSmart Series inverter generators are safe for powering laptops, cell phones, TVs, gaming systems and other sensitive electronics. A twin-handle design makes it easy for two people to lift and transport the generator from one location to the next. For more information about the P2200 PowerSmart Series inverter generator, visit www.briggsandstratton.com.
Columbia brand emerges as dealer-exclusive opportunity in U.S.
Columbia is an exclusive brand for independent dealers across North America — it is not sold in mass retail. As the oldest brand in the MTD family, Columbia currently has a broad footprint across Canada and has been a leader in OPE for many years. This year, MTD is establishing the Columbia brand in the United States as a dealer-exclusive opportunity.
As part of MTD’s North American operations, Columbia’s product lineup now includes both lap-bar and steering-wheel zero-turn riders; yard tractors, built on an all-new performance platform; rugged cultivators; and a wide range of snow throwers, including Columbia’s first line of three-stage units designed for even the toughest of tasks.
MTD’s Columbia distributor group handles product distribution, using many established relationships with some of the best equipment distributors across the U.S. MTD’s distributors provide dealers with floorplan financing, service and technical support. Columbia distributors can provide weekly deliveries or next-day deliveries as needed, allowing for optimum inventory turnaround and growth potential.
Columbia is sold through an extensive network of professional dealers, in Canada and the U.S., who offer years of experience in outdoor power products; trusted customer care; and expert support, including genuine Columbia parts, accessories and service for all of its products.
Columbia is a growth opportunity for residential dealers and professional dealers looking to enter the consumer segment, without pulling sales away from current customers.
To learn more about Columbia, visit ColumbiaEquip.com.
Cub Cadet debuts handheld line, first EFI-equipped lawn tractor, and commercial zero-turn mower line
Cub Cadet unveiled a wide range of new products, including a gasless line of handheld equipment, the first fuel-injected lawn tractor and a commercial zero-turn mower line.
“With zero emissions, little noise and torque levels equal to two-cycle engines, Cub Cadet Powered by CORE brings a new level of power to outdoor power equipment like string trimmers, hedge trimmers and blowers,” said Emily Sword, Cub Cadet director of brand marketing. “Now owners of these products can get all the muscle of gas with none of the hassle.”
With printed circuit board technology and magnetic rotors to generate concentrated, efficient power and torque, CORE’s proprietary motor design replaces traditional electric motors. The motor generates torque on par with gas power, so the toughest outdoor challenges can be tackled without the fill-ups, fumes or pull-starts. By delivering high-torque performance with no dependence on battery voltage, CORE technology establishes a new standard for outdoor power.
For 2016, the Cub Cadet Powered by CORE line includes a dedicated string trimmer and a unique system called the Power-Lok system. The Power-Lok system includes string trimmer, hedge trimmer and blower attachments all designed to fit one standard Power-Lok drive unit. This system allows users to convert the drive unit into multiple tools, saving storage space and cost.
Cub Cadet Powered by CORE products will be available in spring 2016 at Cub Cadet independent dealers and at Tractor Supply Company. They are backed by a 5-year limited product warranty and a lifetime motor warranty, giving extra assurance that your investment is built with strength and supported for years to come.
“This innovation is yet another example of how Cub Cadet is constantly working to create the future of lawn care by challenging the perceived limitations of design and technology,” said Sword.
Cub Cadet also announced an industry first, becoming the first manufacturer to offer a fuel-injected lawn tractor within in its line of XT Enduro Series lawn and garden tractors.
“Electronic fuel injection (EFI) gives you reliable performance and power with significant fuel efficiency — which is why it’s been used in the automotive industry for decades,” said Sword. “Professional landscapers have enjoyed the advantages of EFI on commercial equipment, but it has never been available for homeowners — until now. With the introduction of a fuel-injected model of the XT Enduro Series, now the tractor in your garage will have the same engine advantages as the car parked next to it.”
Starting in 2016, the new Cub Cadet 547-cc EFI engine will be available on the XT2 LX42 EFI Cub Cadet lawn tractors, part of the latest line of XT Enduro Series that set new standards in strength and comfort.
Cub Cadet’s new EFI engine reduces emissions and delivers excellent fuel consumption — using up to 25 percent less fuel than carbureted engines.
The new technology also results in lower maintenance costs as less oil changes are required. It accepts gasoline-ethanol blends up to E20, and there’s no need to drain the fuel tank to prepare the lawn tractor for off-season storage.
Additionally, the XT2 LX42 EFI features a dependable and convenient push-button start feature. This makes the tractor easy to start in all weather conditions with just the push of one button — no need to for a choke.
Cub Cadet also backs it up with a strong warranty — unlimited hours with 5-year chassis/front axle and 3-year powertrain.
Cub Cadet also introduced its PRO Z 100 Series of commercial zero-turn mowers. The PRO Z 100 Series features excellent standard features and powerful commercial engines for outstanding overall value. Features include:
* Heavy-duty design: Built to stand strong with a fully reinforced frame and Triple Guard fabricated deck with 7-, 10- and 11-gauge layers of steel. It also includes three-position, easy-adjust ROPS with spring-loaded locks and an automotive-grade corrosion defense system.
* Commercial electronic fuel-injected engines: Fuel-efficient Kohler Confidant EFI engines are available on the 48-inch deck model (25 hp.) and the 54-inch and 60-inch deck models (27 hp.). A 23.5-hp. Kawasaki FX engine is also available on the 60-inch deck model.
* Full line of new commercial-grade transmissions: The Hydro-Gear ZT-3400 transmission features a 12-cc pump and 16-cc wheel motor design, offering responsive ground speeds up to 10 mph and 500 foot-pounds of torque for quick, smooth control.
* Performance-tuned controls: With a lap bar or steering wheel option, the PRO Z 100 Series offers less effort and less fatigue while providing better response for faster cutting and unmatched hillside stability.
* Comfort: PRO Z 100 Series includes all the comforts professionals appreciate — a standard suspension seat, roomy operator station, intuitive control panel and easier deck lift for less operator fatigue.
* Warranty: 2-year unlimited-hour commercial warranty
“Landscape professionals need equipment that shows up ready to work hard — all day, every day with no exceptions,” said Sword. “To deliver on that, we built added strength into every aspect of the PRO Z 100 Series and surrounded that strength with the best overall package of features and specs in the industry. Then we tested it — putting it in the hands of landscapers for the past six months to ensure that it is trusted to work efficiently in tough conditions, while keeping the operator comfortable.”
The PRO Z 100 SERIES will be available at Cub Cadet independent dealers this spring with an MSRP starting at $6,499.99.
For more information on all Cub Cadet’s products, visit www.CubCadet.com.
DEWALT expands battery-powered outdoor power equipment
DEWALT expanded its offering of professional-grade battery-powered outdoor power equipment at GIE+EXPO 2015. The expansion adds a 40V MAX brushless backpack blower and 40V MAX brushless chain saw to the existing 40V MAX system from DEWALT. The line of 40V MAX DEWALT outdoor power equipment for landscapers is “Gas Performance. Guaranteed.”
The 40V MAX brushless backpack blower generates up to 450 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of air volume at 140 mph and will be available with one or two of the new 40V MAX 7.5 Ah lithium-ion batteries. Only one battery is required to operate the tool, but the backpack blower features two battery wells for extended runtime. The activation switch on the handle allows the user to choose which battery to pull energy from or to lock the tool off for transport and storage. The speed control features a full variable trigger and speed lock that is activated or de-activated with the push of a button. At just 63d(A), DEWALT’s backpack blower is compliant with noise-restricted areas across the U.S. and is ideal for working on noise-sensitive properties such as at schools, hotels, hospitals, offices, parks, retirement communities and more.
The 40V MAX brushless chain saw is equipped with a powerful motor that achieves up to 100 cuts per charge using a DCB406 40V MAX 6.0 Ah lithium-ion battery and up to 70 cuts using a DCB404 40V MAX 4.0 Ah lithium-ion battery, both on 6-inch by 6-inch pressure-treated pine wood. The unit features a low-kickback 16-inch Oregon bar and chain with LubriLink and LubriWell auto-oiling for continuous lubrication and a tool-free tensioning system for quick bar and chain adjustments. The chain saw delivers smooth cuts, long chain life, and no engine maintenance like gas-powered chain saws. With no more of the pull-to-start issues associated with gas-powered equipment, this chain saw is ideal for use in landscape and construction applications, even in closed spaces.
In addition to the 40V MAX system for landscapers, DEWALT also offers an expanding line of 20V MAX outdoor power equipment for construction and maintenance professionals that includes a 20V MAX 5.0 Ah brushless string trimmer and a 20V MAX 5.0 Ah brushless handheld blower with plans to expand the line further. For professionals already heavily invested in DEWALT’s 20V MAX power tool system, the outdoor power equipment expands their system — now up to 55 tools — and allows the professional to “Get More Done.”
New to DEWALT’s 20V MAX system of outdoor power equipment is the 20V MAX 5.0 Ah hedge trimmer. At only 7.8 pounds, it’s lightweight, durable and the right tool for serious hedge trimming tasks. The 22-inch, laser-cut, hardened-steel blades with 3/4-inch cut capacity provide long blade life, lasting sharpness, and precise cuts. A wrap-around auxiliary handle gives the user a comfortable grip, while the switch with lock-off allows for fast, yet controlled actuation.
DEWALT’s 20V MAX and 40V MAX outdoor power equipment eliminate the hassles that come with gas-powered equipment, including mixing and spilling fuel, breathing fumes, and costly trips to the pump. The equipment also eliminates the engine maintenance that gas-powered equipment requires, doing away with carburetors, spark plugs, and air filters. This battery-powered equipment starts with just the pull of a trigger and eliminates the inconvenience of pull cords and cold starts, especially important for equipment used less frequently like chain saws.
Whether DEWALT outdoor power equipment is used in landscaping or construction applications, it is built for durability. Each DEWALT outdoor tool features an impact-resistant Xenoy housing and comes standard with a three-year limited warranty, one-year free service contract, and 90-day money-back guarantee.
Dixie Chopper continues military campaign
Back by popular demand, Dixie Chopper’s “Chopper Army” returned to GIE+EXPO 2015 as the Coatesville, Ind.-based mower manufacturer continued its military-themed marketing campaign from last year’s show.
“We introduced Chopper Army last year at the GIE+EXPO with much fanfare and an overwhelmingly positive response from attendees,” said Chris Vernon, vice president and general manager of Dixie Chopper. “But Chopper Army is about much more than just tanks and camo. Dixie Chopper has expanded its product portfolio, hired additional staff, and increased our coverage in the market. As a result, we’ve seen significant increases in sales, segment share, brand awareness and dealer confidence.”
The Chopper Army theme blanketed both the indoor and outdoor spaces of Dixie Chopper, featuring a real World War II tank, an armored vehicle, a mower parachuting in from the ceiling and a live bald eagle.
Dixie Chopper also played center stage for the GIE+EXPO nightlife, sponsoring rock legends Grand Funk Railroad on Wednesday night. Dixie Chopper brand ambassadors were on hand during the concert to blast out T-shirts and interact with attendees next to another full-size World War II tank.
At GIE+EXPO, Dixie Chopper introduced its new 2016 product lineup, which features several updates and cosmetic enhancements to its existing zero-turn, walk-behind and stand-on models.
Dixie Chopper added several new models to its tried-and-true Silver Eagle zero-turn series. The new 72-inch Elite X deck with X-blade technology is now available on the Silver Eagle. With Kawasaki FX and fuel-efficient Kohler EFI engine options, the Silver Eagle can cut up to 6.4 acres per hour to power through the toughest jobs with ease.
At the show, Dixie Chopper also announced its exclusive sponsorship with celebrity Willie Robertson of Duck Commander. Robertson has used Dixie Chopper products for many years, so teaming up with Duck Commander was the perfect fit to target the outdoor enthusiast.
“Dixie Chopper had another successful and exciting year at the GIE+EXPO with the Chopper Army theme, the reveal of our 2016 product lineup, and our new sponsorship with Willie Robertson and Duck Commander,” Vernon said. “The booth traffic and customer engagement exceeded our expectations, and we cannot wait to see what 2016 will hold for Dixie Chopper.”
To learn more about Dixie Chopper, go to www.dixiechopper.com.
EDA recognizes Fred Whyte as honorary member
The Equipment Dealers Association (EDA), formerly known as the North American Equipment Dealers Association (NAEDA), announced that Fred J. Whyte, retiring president of Stihl Inc. in Virginia Beach, Va., has been recognized as an honorary member of the association. Whyte has been a part of the Stihl organization for more than 44 years, including the past 23 years as president of Stihl Inc.
During his career, Whyte has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in positioning Stihl Inc. at the top of the outdoor power equipment industry. His emphasis on a dealer-focused retail distribution/support model emphasized the critical role of the full-service dealer, many of whom are EDA members. During his tenure as president, Stihl Inc. achieved record growth to become the nation’s top-selling brand of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment.
Joe Dykes, EDA vice president of industry relations and staff contact to the association’s OPE Council, presented a plaque to Whyte during a short ceremony on October 21 at GIE+EXPO.
“We are extremely pleased to have this opportunity to honor Fred for his outstanding contributions to the industry,” said Dykes. “This recognition is extremely well deserved as he has been a staunch supporter of the association and our members for many years. He will be missed, and we wish him well as he approaches retirement.”
One of the highest honors the association can confer on an individual is honorary membership. This status is reserved for individuals who have shown exceptional leadership, dedication and support of the industry and the association. Whyte is the first individual to be recognized with this honor by the newly branded association.
efco offers look at present and future
At GIE+EXPO 2015, efco provided insight on its current wide range of outdoor power equipment available to the U.S. market, while teasing some new models and accessories for 2016.
* Speed & Go Head: The future of reloading trimmer line has arrived with efco’s new Speed & Go head. Developed by EMAK, Italy, Speed & Go provides instant access and refilling of line, while also being universally compatible with other commercial machines. With a line disk that pops into place, users can replace trimmer line in just seconds. The disk not only loads up quickly, but also lasts up to twice as long as typical line and provides an aggressive cut throughout. And efco is the only brand to have the Speed & Go head standard on select trimmer models, as well as sold separately.
* DS 2700 S and DS 3000 T professional trimmers: New for efco in 2016 are the DS 2700 S and DS 3000 T professional trimmers. Both models were designed for the demanding user in mind. The DS 2700 S engine sits at 27 cc/1.3 hp., while the DS 3000 T provides 30 cc/1.5 hp. Each trimmer has a robust 26-mm tube, solid-steel drive shaft and maintenance-free bearings. The trimmers also have improved debris guards for efficient protection and easy-access air purge for cold starts. The DS 2700 S includes an ergonomic grip loop that not only reduces vibration, but increases operator safety as well. The Speed & Go line head will come standard with the DS 2700 S. The DS 3000 T will have a heavy-duty gearbox for intense use and an ergonomic bike handle that provides safe operation and reduced vibration. Look for both models to be available in the second quarter of 2016.
* POWERLINE: For 2016, efco is proud to introduce the new POWERLINE trimmer line. For users, there will be two options: POWERLINE Round and POWERLINE Power Twist. The round trimmer line has a rich mix of resins and exclusive additives that increases line durability and cutting performance, while being forgiving around fences and poles. Power Twist comes with a twist profile that greatly reduces the chances of fraying and splitting at the end of line. Also, it has a white flexible core that absorbs shock and helps prevent line failure against sharp and angular posts/fences. To top it off, Power Twist has an outer layer that acts as a shield to increase the line durability. POWERLINE is universal to all brands and will come in a variety of sizes.
All efco products are engineered with Italian design and performance. The product range includes an assortment of commercial-grade chain saws, string trimmers, blowers, hedge trimmers, and pole pruner. All efco products are backed by a 5-year consumer and 2-year professional warranty.
To learn more about efco and its products, go to www.efcopower.com.
Exmark expands availability of suspended operator platform
Following the successful mid-year debut of a suspended operator platform for its Lazer Z commercial zero-turn mower, Exmark announced at GIE+EXPO that it is expanding the platform’s availability for 2016.
Exmark is adding suspended operator platform-equipped 52-inch Lazer Z E-Series and 72-inch Lazer Z X-Series options to the existing 60-inch options in both models for the 2016 model year. The suspended operator platform uses three coil-over hydraulic dampers to significantly reduce the impact of bumps and vibration. It provides 3.6 inches of travel in vertical and fore-aft directions, with trailing arms to limit lateral travel and increase operator stability.
“We initially launched the suspended operator platform on 60-inch versions of our Lazer Z E-Series and Lazer Z X-Series mowers, as it’s our most popular cutting deck size,” said Daryn Walters, Exmark director of marketing. “Almost immediately we began to receive calls, emails and social media messages, inquiring about the platform’s availability with other cutting deck widths.
“These new models are the direct result of the feedback we received.”
The suspended operator platform preserves the performance advantages that have led to the popularity of the Lazer Z, and it significantly reduces the negative effects of mowing rough terrain on the operator. The design is easily adjustable for operator weight and ride quality preference without tools, making it easy to achieve the desired ride quality for any operator. There’s no harsh bottoming, regardless of operator weight, and the design eases access to hydrostatic-drive system components, making routine maintenance easier to perform.
Suspended operator platform-equipped Lazer Z models are equipped with a new seat design that uses patented Elastomeric Vibration Control (EVC) stretch fabric and plush foam padding for maximum comfort. In addition, Exmark’s patented Iso-Mount isolation system provides a controlled 3/4-inch of lateral and 1/2-inch of vertical isolation to further insulate the operator from bumps and vibration.
Learn more about Exmark’s suspended operator platform-equipped Lazer Z models at Exmark.com.
Gold Eagle announces support of the use of alcohol-free stabilizers in small-engine equipment
Gold Eagle Co., maker of STA-BIL fuel stabilizers and ethanol treatments, announced its support of Power Distributors and Briggs & Stratton’s decision to only recommend consumers use alcohol-free fuel stabilizers in small-engine equipment. Designed to combat the corrosive properties of today’s ethanol-blended fuels, the full lineup of STA-BIL products has always been alcohol free.
“Gold Eagle Co. fully supports the importance of only using alcohol-free fuel stabilizers, as they protect small-engine equipment more effectively and efficiently from the harmful side effects of ethanol-blended fuels,” said Tom Bingham, senior director of marketing at Gold Eagle. “As the maker of the industry-leading, alcohol-free STA-BIL brand, we work hard to deliver innovative, unmatched products that provide customers with effective solutions to help with proper fuel management and provide enhanced engine performance.”
The STA-BIL brand has been recommended by more than 125 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) around the world. In addition, the company produces private-label fuel stabilizers for small-engine OEMs, including Honda, John Deere and many more.
Grasshopper expands, enhances 100V Series mowers for 2016
The Grasshopper Company announced plans to grow and improve its 100V Series mowers for 2016.
New for 2016, select 100V Series mowers will be equipped with 61-inch cutting decks capable of mowing up to 4.5 acres per hour, making the 100V Series the ideal entry point for commercial contractors looking to step up from walk-behind or stand-on mowers.
In addition, 100V Series models will feature single-fill, 6.5-gallon fuel tanks located under the seat for a lower center of gravity, enhanced traction and longer mowing intervals between fill-ups. For added convenience, the fuel gauge will be located in a visible location in front of the operator seat.
All 100V Series models are equipped with commercial-grade components and comfort features for excellent value: fully hydraulic pump-and-wheel-motor transmissions; professional-grade engines with limited three-year engine manufacturer warranties; 5.5-inch-deep cutting decks with effortless foot-pedal and drop-pin height adjustment; large turf-style drive tires; and fully cushioned Cordura-covered seats with padded armrests.
Combined with the longest transmission fluid-change interval in its class — with no break-in period — self-tensioning belts and no more than five grease points, Grasshopper 100V Series mowers are designed for less maintenance, low cost of operation, extended service life and long-term value.
Grasshopper 100V Series mowers are available in 41-, 48-, 52- and 61-inch cutting widths to provide the agility of a zero-turn mower with a compact size able to maneuver in tight spaces without the fatigue of a walk-behind mower. These compact power units are well suited for landscape contractors who maintain small-acreage and confined areas, as well as ranchers, farmers and rural lifestylers who want to maintain lawn areas around their homesteads. Its small footprint also allows for easy transport on trailers and space-saving storage in shops, garages or outbuildings.
To learn more, visit www.grasshoppermower.com.
Gravely unveils redesigned Pro-Turn 200 and 400 zero-turn mower lineup
Gravely unveiled a redesigned series of Pro-Turn 200 and Pro-Turn 400 commercial zero-turn mowers at GIE+EXPO. Redesigned from the inside out, the new Gravely Pro-Turn 200 and 400 series feature smarter components, a smoother ride and more intuitive controls.
With the launch of these new units, Gravely introduced to the market a constant-belt tensioning system, which enhances overall performance. The new system maintains a constant belt tension, which produces a consistent blade tip speed; eliminates belt slippage, which can damage belts and pulleys; improves engine efficiency and reduces the load, which save fuel and engine life; and eliminates spring adjustments, which saves time by ensuring consistent cut quality.
In addition, the new deck level system features an exclusive design requiring only a four-point adjustment, reducing parts by 50 percent, which helps the mower maintain its best cutting performance. The deck level system also eliminates deck hanger welds, resulting in a flat deck and improving cut quality.
Also new for MY2016, the EZ Lift Deck System found on the Pro-Turn 400 series mowers requires 25 percent less effort to operate, and it is manufactured with 50 percent fewer parts. The 19 cutting positions with quarter-inch increments help eliminate overhung loads.
The Pro-Turn 200 and 400 also have new custom-made seats that offer more support and comfort than previous models. The Pro-Turn 400 has a high-back comfort seat that integrates Elasticity Vibration Control (EVC), which moves and flexes up to 1.5 inches with the operator, reduces low-amplitude vibration, and takes pressure off of the operator’s spine and tailbone. The seat also has three-inch air suspension with a three-inch pillow-top insert and a 12-volt internal air compressor, concave lateral support with spinal detent and side bolster, reclining backrest, adjustable and padded armrests, adjustable lumbar and a two-inch retractable seatbelt. The seat can also be collapsed 40 degrees for easier shipping and storage.
The 72-inch Pro-Turn 200 and 400 series mowers also feature Gravely’s new X-Factor II Deck, a seven-gauge, all-steel welded deck that is backed by a lifetime warranty. The deck has a notched blade and a better blowout profile, preventing grass from blowing out the front of the deck and onto the operator. The larger deck allows grass to move more freely through the space, improving efficiency and quality of cut.
Other performance upgrades to Pro-Turns in both the 200 and 400 series include improvements to the discharge chute, control panel, steering controls and mulching kit. The Pro-Turn 400 features Superior Traction Technology (STT) radial rear tires, to help operators overcome challenging mowing conditions with less damage to the turf they are working on. Puncture-proof, semi-pneumatic, front tires make the Pro-Turn 400 and 200 long-lasting, durable machines.
“The new Gravely 200 and 400 Pro-Turns were inspired by the landscape contractors that use our machines all day, every day,” said Gravely Brand Director Bill Engler. “We’ve spent years researching and talking to the professionals that rely on our equipment, and we used that feedback to redesign and reinvent the Gravely brand.
“As we step into our 100th year of business, we couldn’t be more excited about the next generation of Gravely commercial mowers. We’ve thought about everything with this new lineup, from the belt system and X-Factor II deck, to the new seats, to the overall appearance, and we think we’ve created something that will really astound our customers as we welcome the next era.”
The Pro-Turn 200 and 400 were also designed following Gravely’s new visual brand language (VBL), displaying visual cues that are stout, solid, structural, chiseled and energetic. The Gravely Atlas Job Site Vehicle (JSV), introduced to the market in 2014, was the first product to display the new Gravely VBL, and many of the JSV’s visual characteristics were carried over to the new Pro-Turns.
“The Atlas JSV and the new Pro-Turns are a new chapter for the brand,” said John Adams, Ariens Company manager of industrial design. “We knew that it was not only critical to bring the right feature set to market, but to bring the right look and feel of the product that resonated with the end customer — not just because we wanted it to look cool, but because this is what these guys do for a living. They’re professionals, and they deserve a product that reflects their professional expertise and the work that they do.”
A full slate of accessories is also available for the Pro-Turn 200 and 400, including commercial bagger systems, operator-controlled discharge chute (OCDC), mulching kit, professional headlight kit and a full range of tow-behind accessories.
The Pro-Turn 200 and 400 series mowers are offered in 52-, 60- or 72-inch deck sizes, and are available with either Kawasaki or Kohler EFI engines. The Pro-Turn 200 starts at a list price of $9,899 USD, while the Pro-Turn 400 starts at $11,999.
For more information, visit www.gravely.com.
Honda Power Equipment unveils VersAttach multi-purpose system
At GIE+EXPO 2015, Honda Power Equipment entered the split-shaft trimmer market with the introduction of an all-new product offering: the Honda VersAttach multi-purpose system. Featuring two powerhead options and six different attachments, the VersAttach system combines the power and reliability of Honda 4-stroke engines with a robust lineup of tools to fit a wide range of lawn and garden needs.
The Honda VersAttach system offers two powerhead models, the UMC425, powered by a Honda GX25 mini 4-stroke engine, as well as the UMC435, powered by a GX35 mini 4-stroke engine. Each model can be paired with an optional interchangeable edger, line trimmer, blower, hedge trimmer, pruner and cultivator that fit quickly and securely into the attachment shaft by way of Honda’s SureLoc joint locking system, saving time and effort for the user.
* Changing attachments with a click and a twist: Honda engineers designed the VersAttach system for maximum versatility, user convenience, and the ultimate in ease and comfort in operation. The product includes a number of technologically advanced design innovations, including the SureLoc joint locking system. This two-position joint mechanism operates with a click and a twist, allowing the user to easily connect and disconnect attachments with no tools required. The SureLoc feature incorporates a durable high modulus resin key; is wear resistant; and offers intuitive assembly and instant, secure engagement of attachments. In addition, the anti-vibration system includes two rubber-mount shaft inserts between the shaft and clutch and the handle assembly, providing comfortable use, especially for long periods of operation.
The VersAttach UMC425 powerhead features the Honda ultra-lightweight GX25 mini 4-stroke engine, and the VersAttach UMC435 model offers the Honda ultra-lightweight GX35 mini 4-stroke engine. Both models provide tenacious power and torque with exceptional fuel efficiency, low maintenance and dependable performance. In addition, 4-stroke engine technology eliminates the need to mix fuel and oil, saving the operator valuable time, money and frustration of trying to get the right fuel/oil mixture. The innovative design of the Honda mini 4-stroke engine provides for full 360-degree operation, allowing the VersAttach to be used — and stored — upright, sideways or even upside down.
“As the world’s largest engine manufacturer, Honda pairs unparalleled depth of engine development experience with a commitment to designing products that meet or exceed the demands of our customers,” said Scott Conner, senior vice president, Honda Power Equipment. “Our new VersAttach system, with its focus on user comfort and convenience, extends the Honda Power Equipment product portfolio to meet a broader range of consumer needs in the lawn and garden market.”
Each VersAttach powerhead includes a pair of safety goggles and a single (GX25) or double (GX35) harness for added convenience and control. Both models carry a 36-month residential warranty and a 24-month commercial warranty.
* Power behind the product: The ultra-lightweight GX25 mini 4-stroke engine, the power behind the UMC425 powerhead, is the world’s lightest 4-stroke overhead cam (OHC) engine, efficiently delivering the clean, powerful, quiet performance of a larger engine — but in a very compact package. The Honda GX35 mini 4-stroke engine powering the UMC435 powerhead is the company’s most powerful engine for handheld applications. Both engines are easy to use and maintain, with easy starting, an easily accessible spark plug, and easy access to drain and refill oil.
Efficient 4-stroke technology not only offers excellent fuel economy, but also requires no mixing of oil in the fuel, substantially reducing oil consumption and the emission of unburned oil in the exhaust. The GX25 mini 4-stroke and the GX35 mini 4-stroke engines also feature an oil-immersed timing belt and OHC configuration, allowing the engines to be operated in any position. The belt-driven OHC design reduces mechanical noise, while the timing belt is designed to be maintenance-free over the life of the engine. Honda mini 4-stroke engines provide powerful output across a wide range of operating speeds with ample low-speed torque, which means that they do not always need to be operated at wide-open throttle. This reduces noise and operator fatigue while substantially increasing fuel efficiency. The design of the Honda mini 4-stroke engines, including a cross-flow combustion chamber, provides a wide, smooth range of torque unique to 4-stroke technology. State-of-the-art design and manufacturing techniques have reduced the number of moving parts. Many of these techniques have resulted in smoother operation for the end user.
* One engine for all: Honda continuously works to meet future, lower Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) emissions standards applicable to its products. In January 2007, Honda Engines began certifying its models to the new, lower CARB 2007 standards, existing EPA Phase 2 emission requirements, and offering technology and designs necessary to meet 50 state-compliant engines. Investing in meeting the strictest of environmental regulations in order to develop one engine for use in all 50 states reflects Honda’s forward thinking on emission regulations, air quality and the needs of its customers. Moreover, most Honda engines meet the current CARB exhaust and evaporative emissions requirements without the use of a catalytic converter.
As a result of Honda’s forward thinking, the overall emissions from the Honda engine lineup have been reduced by more than 32 percent compared to 1995 levels. Further, the EPA implemented an emission control program to reduce hydrocarbon emissions from small spark-ignition engines by approximately 35 percent. Honda engines are in compliance with the current EPA Phase 3 standards (for both exhaust and evaporative emissions).
For further information, visit powerequipment.honda.com.
Husqvarna unveils innovative products and services for pros and consumers
Husqvarna announced at GIE+EXPO that it is extending its suite of high-performing professional products and services that cater to the needs of tree care and landscaping experts, and the company is bolstering its consumer line with innovative products.
For 2016, Husqvarna will be offering an array of new, professional-grade solutions that optimize operational efficiencies and ensure consistently high performance. Innovations include:
* A new fuel-efficient zero-turn mower, plus a sleek and powerful new walk-behind model
* A low-maintenance, feature-rich, battery-powered blower
* Upgrades throughout the high-end handheld 500 Series
* Safe, reliable personal protective equipment (PPE)
* A novel, cloud-based data system for landscaping professionals
Shortly before GIE+EXPO, Husqvarna hosted a group of 42 commercial end users at its Charlotte, N.C.-based headquarters to preview these new products through demonstration sessions — and create a forum for some of their most valuable customers to provide feedback.
“Equipping our commercial end users with innovative, reliable products is incredibly important,” said Walt Rose, national sales manager, commercial lawn and garden and tree care for Husqvarna. “The commercial summit created an opportunity for our internal experts to provide some of our highly valued customers with hands-on demonstrations of key new products and discuss application for their specific businesses.”
Husqvarna showcased the following products and services at GIE+EXPO:
Professional Products and Services
* New mowers: For large properties requiring professional performance and premium-cut quality, the company introduced the latest addition to its M-ZT Series zero-turn high-performance mower lineup — the Husqvarna M-ZT61 EFI.
An enjoyable, reliable mowing experience is ensured, thanks to a 27-hp. EFI engine, intuitive operator interface, rugged 2-inch by 3-inch heavy-duty steel frame, and commercial-rated hydraulic system. With a rugged fabricated steel deck that is mulch and collection capable, the M-ZT61 EFI is practical for all property maintenance needs.
The latest walk-behind mower — the Husqvarna LC221Ai — integrates technology advancements with proven design elements, providing balance and power to all four wheels to handle tough-terrain cutting. Key features include all-wheel drive for optimum traction on hills or wet grass; a high-capacity 2.3-bushel bag; a 15-gauge-steel high-performance deck for superb cutting; a 21-inch all-in-one cutting blade; and the easy, no-prime, no-choke InStart bail starting system.
* Battery-powered blower: The Husqvarna 436LiB blower is lightweight, low maintenance and easy-to-use for the time-conscious professional seeking high-quality performance similar to gas-powered products. A simple tap on the control panel starts it instantly, and cruise control maintains constant speeds while the power boost setting allows removal of stubborn debris, leaves and dirt — even indoors. A slim, narrow design and soft grip make operation a breeze. Pair it with an efficient backpack battery system (Husqvarna’s BLi520X or BLi940X) for longer runtimes.
* Husqvarna 500 Series: Powerful, fuel-efficient, low-emission X-Torq engines and well-balanced, ergonomic designs are hallmarks of the Husqvarna 500 Series of battery-powered, handheld equipment. Each product delivers the discerning professional the power and durability needed to efficiently complete the most demanding jobs.
The Husqvarna 562 XP mid-size chain saw has a unique design and heavy-duty construction for long-lasting performance.
The Husqvarna 525HF3S fixed-pole hedge trimmer has a 26-inch-long, double-sided cutter bar on a durable 32-inch shaft for operator safety.
The Husqvarna 580BTS is a powerful backpack blower designed for demanding tasks, thanks to an efficient fan design that generates large air flow and high air speed.
The easy-to-operate Husqvarna 555 FX clearing saw has an optimized gear head to deliver professional performance even during tough, long and demanding shifts.
One durable 40V Li-ion high-performance battery may be used interchangeably among all battery-powered Husqvarna products.
* Accessories: Husqvarna complements its products by offering a wide range of reliable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including two new product lines that blend comfort with the latest safety enhancements.
New technical jackets and pants are designed for comfort and protection. They provide zippered pockets, pre-bent knees and arms for better fit, ventilation zippers and Cordura reinforcement over elbows, and other essential protective features. The jackets and pants feature 4-way stretch material — the pants also include chain saw nylon warp knit protection materials.
The new pro technical forest helmet is comfortable and lightweight, featuring a one-handed ratchet system that allows for easy size adjustment. Built to meet relevant ANSI standards, it includes a free-view visor for optimal visibility and mesh ventilation for increased comfort during long hours of use.
* Husqvarna Fleet Services: A new cloud-based service, Fleet Services connects the machine fleet and landscaping teams directly to an online portal, enabling landscaping professionals to have insights into their operations at their fingertips. By mounting a small wireless machine sensor to an outdoor power product, Husqvarna Fleet Services captures machine status data, translating it into valuable information that can be used to help boost productivity and improve the bottom line. The Fleet Services system is in final beta testing with key tree care and landscape pros, and it will be made available as early as 2016.
Husqvarna plans to launch a smartphone app to further support onsite operations and improve crew involvement.
“Professionals rely on Husqvarna for power, precision and durability under the harshest conditions,” said Jeff Dewosky, vice president, general manager for Husqvarna NA. “These product and program innovations ensure professional users can address any challenge.”
Husqvarna continues to reduce the gap between man and machine, with innovative, powerful new products that make lawn and garden care easier than ever for homeowners.
Robotic mowers that require minimal operator support, a highly efficient battery-powered trimmer, and a technologically advanced walk-behind mower add to Husqvarna’s centuries-old reputation for engineering excellence.
“These new products superbly continue our tradition of producing powerful, ergonomic products that are packed with innovation,” said Dewosky. “We are proud to be delivering homeowners more high-quality products that are convenient to use, reliable, and durable.”
* Advancements in robotic mowing: Husqvarna is the world’s market leader in robotic lawn mowing, and its new three-product line offers users a wide range of features and benefits.
The Husqvarna Automower 315, for smaller yet complex lawns; Husqvarna Automower 430X, for medium- to large-size lawns; and Husqvarna Automower 450X, for large lawns, blend ease-of-use with advanced technologies to produce a carpet-like lawn with minimum interaction with the machine.
The Husqvarna Automower 315 has a mowing capacity of 1/3 acre, delivering silent, emission-free performance over rough terrain, steep slopes and in complex areas.
The Husqvarna Automower 430X has a mowing capacity of 2/3 acre, and its environmentally friendly solution delivers a continuously well-cut lawn, even with steep slopes and intricate lawn layouts.
The Husqvarna Automower 450X has a mowing capacity of 1.25 acres, and its numerous sophisticated, built-in functions include Automower Connect — a smartphone app that allows the user to keep track of and control the robotic mower from anywhere.
* Environmentally friendly trimmer: A new addition to the Husqvarna Battery Series of ergonomic, low-maintenance products enables homeowners to easily complete even the most challenging task — with no gas and no emissions. The Husqvarna 136LiL trimmer features high-quality performance that efficiently gets the job done, thanks to advanced battery technology that allows for optimal power. The intuitive keypad allows for one-touch on/off control and access to the save mode, which lowers output performance and increases battery life in less-demanding situations.
Driven by a powerful 40V lithium-ion battery pack, it provides a telescopic shaft and a broad 13-inch cutting diameter.
* Walk-behind mower: The latest walk-behind mower — the Husqvarna LC221Ai — integrates technology advancements with proven design elements, providing balance and power to all four wheels. It meets high expectations for tough-terrain cutting — even in urban environments.
Its key features include all-wheel drive for optimum traction on hills or wet grass; a high-capacity 2.3-bushel bag; a 15-gauge-steel high-performance deck; a 21-inch all-in-one cutting blade; and the simple-to-use, no-prime, no-choke InStart bail starting system.
Hustler Turf showcases stand-on mower and more
Hustler Turf Equipment introduced a new stand-on mower product line, as well as a new member to the Raptor family of mowers at GIE+EXPO 2015.
The Hustler SS is a long-anticipated stand-on mower from Hustler that is available in four deck sizes and features the toughest frame and deck in its category, best-in-class operator comfort with ergonomic controls, and Hustler’s signature SmoothTrak steering. The compact stance of the patent-pending SS makes it ideal for tight spaces and trailering.
Brad Unruh, director of product strategy, is excited about the SS and Hustler’s continued commitment to bring more quality products to the industry.
“We have talked to dealers and end users from coast to coast regarding features that will make the best stand-on unit available,” said Unruh. “I am confident that commercial contractors will be impressed with the innovative and heavy-duty design, and appreciate the value that will be second to none.”
The all-new Raptor Limited 52-inch zero-turn mower is equipped with the outstanding features of a Raptor, including Smart-Choke technology for easy starting. An engine guard, hour meter, bigger drive tires, bigger caster tires, and a new bolstered seat with armrests all come standard on the new Raptor Limited.
For more information, visit www.hustlerturf.com.
Ideal enhances mobile app
Ideal Computer Systems, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based provider of industry-specific dealership management software, unveiled new service and parts features for its first-of-kind mobile app.
The Ideal mobile app, initially launched in 2014, has evolved to include a number of new features and is an on-the-go companion for the overall dealership software suite. It provides sales, service and parts employees with the ability to perform important daily tasks from anywhere in the dealership.
Equipped with this mobile technology, dealers have been able to conduct quick and easy physical inventory counts and upload them directly into their Ideal system. Now, with the introduction of Ideal’s latest version, dealers can benefit from several new technician-focused capabilities, allowing a dealership’s employees to remotely check in a unit for service, clock in and out of work orders, add labor and comments, take pictures for files and inter-office communication, and complete jobs.
Another major enhancement that is popular with dealers is the ability to collect credit card payments and customer signatures, as well as email work orders and receipts — all from a mobile phone.
“We are thrilled with Ideal’s new mobile app,” said Ideal user Andy Tallman of Philbrick Farm and Garden Equipment in Vineland, Ontario. “By having the ability to handle important store operations directly from a mobile device, we’re able to save time and get more done without having to go back to the computer all of the time. My employees love the fact they can provide customers service right on the spot with their phone, and love how easy it is to relay that information back into the Ideal system. We couldn’t be happier with its capabilities, and we look forward to its future developments.”
To see Ideal’s new app in action, visit www.idealcomputersystems.com/dealer-mobile-app.
Jacobsen makes orange splash
Jacobsen, a Textron Inc. company, made an orange splash at GIE+EXPO. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company unveiled nine new products, creating a buzz on the floor of the Kentucky Exposition Center, and carried that over to downtown Louisville at 4th Street Live!
Wrapped in a theme titled “The Power of Orange,” Jacobsen used its distinctive brand color to help promote its Professional Series product line to the market.
“‘The Power of Orange’ is about letting GIE+EXPO attendees and the market know how serious we are about providing quality, reliable products to a new segment of the market,” said Glenn King, director of marketing for Jacobsen.
In addition to launching the Jacobsen Professional Series, which includes three lines of zero-turn mowers and seven different models of utility vehicles, Jacobsen also sponsored Kellie Pickler’s Thursday night concert at 4th Street Live!
The flagship of Jacobsen’s new Professional Series is the RZT line of ride-on zero-turn mowers, which provides the power and performance to handle any turf job with ease. The new Jacobsen utility vehicles are led by the diesel-powered Truckster HX, featuring a large capacity of 1,600 pounds and a top speed of 24.9 mph.
“The GIE+EXPO is the ideal launching point for our new Professional Series of mowers and utility vehicles and our message to the market,” said David Withers, president of Jacobsen. “Because we’ve been around since 1921, many folks are familiar with our brand and associate Jacobsen with the professional end of the market. The GIE+EXPO gives us the opportunity to broaden our customer base. The show also gives us a chance to meet with distributors interested in carrying our new line of products.”
Additional information about Jacobsen can be found at jacobsen.com.
John Deere unveils Special Edition Gator UTV
John Deere is offering a new Special Edition Gator utility vehicle geared toward customers who work long days and nights, and require additional storage to keep their tools organized and easily accessible. The XUV 825i Special Edition Gator features two integrated cargo tool boxes ideal for carrying tools or supplies, plus LED roof lights for added visibility.
“The Special Edition Gator was designed for those customers who require additional storage to complete the task at hand, day or night,” said Mark Davey, John Deere marketing manager, Gator utility vehicles. “This model will continue to provide customers the durability and productivity they come to expect from a Gator with added amenities like integrated tool boxes and LED lights. The added storage capability makes this a distinct offering in the market, and a first for John Deere.”
The two cargo boxes are situated on the driver and passenger side of the 50-hp., 812-cc XUV 825i Special Edition vehicle. The driver’s side box opens from the top and has two divided compartments with a removable tray. The passenger side box opens from the side and has one open compartment. Both tool boxes boast a 75-pound capacity.
The Special Edition Gator also features two integrated LED roof lights designed for customers who are out early in the morning or late at night. The new LED lights use one-quarter the amps of equivalent halogen work lights and last 250 times longer.
In addition to the Special Edition package, the heavy-duty model is outfitted with power steering, a deluxe cargo box with polyurea liner, integrated brake and tail lights, and an Operator Protective Structure (OPS) with nets. The vehicle is also equipped with yellow alloy rims and Maxxis Bighorn tires. A power and front protection package includes power lift, a heavy-duty front brush guard and fender guard, along with floor mats. Inside the cab, the XUV 825i is outfitted with a yellow bench seat.
The 2016 XUV 825i Special Edition Gator will be available for purchase in December 2015 with a $16,799 list price.
Visit www.johndeere.com for more information.
Kawasaki’s new EFI system now on first FX Series engine
Kawasaki’s new FX730V-EFI engine boasts the most technologically advanced electronic fuel injection (EFI) system ever built by the company. It incorporates a fully integrated electronic governor and an advanced ECU that instantly matches power to cutting load and ground speed. These new features will allow professional landscapers to mow lawns more efficiently with the same Kawasaki performance and reliability they have come to expect.
Commercial usage calls for specific demands, and this system responds with features focused on those needs. Helping to avoid typical hillside-mowing slowdowns, the load-matching e-governor keeps drive wheels and cutting blades working at peak productivity. The elimination of power loss through the entire load range lets operators move quickly through almost any turf conditions. Kawasaki’s renowned cutting power allows users to cover wider areas at a faster pace, serving up uniform results.
Designed to provide the utmost in support to professional landscapers, this 25.5-hp. EFI powerplant is a feature-laden entry in Kawasaki’s already-strong family of engines.
Among some of the design and operational highlights:
* Multi-port sequential fuel injection for high-precision fuel delivery, maximizing power per stroke and fuel economy
* High-pressure “returnless” fuel system offers consistent fuel delivery and smooth operation in high temperature situations
* An ECU that continuously monitors ambient conditions and engine performance, delivering optimum power and efficiency in all situations, regardless of weather conditions
* No need for cold-start choke, automatic enrichment to ensure fast, dependable starts in any type of weather — cold or hot, wet or dry
* Engine temperature monitoring guards against overheating while protecting the landscapers’ investment
* Optimum blade tip speed — critical to reducing the need for re-cuts — is aided via the system’s power/load matching, helping make for a clean cut on the first go-around.
The open-loop design is at the core of this system’s reliability for tough commercial use. Furthering Kawasaki’s approach to simplifying the job for commercial applications, the all-new EFI is matched by a PC or tablet plug-in diagnostic system for quick, easy troubleshooting, accurate service, and minimized downtime. Kawasaki has even maintained the same footprint as its carbureted engine models, so upgrading to EFI is clean and easy.
Similar to all Kawasaki engines, the FX730V-EFI features the company’s exclusive SAE-certified Critical Power, ensuring that engines deliver a minimum of 98 percent of rated horsepower for the needed productivity commercial users can count on.
For more details, visit www.kawasakienginesusa.com.
Kohler Engines expands EFI, alternative-fuel technologies
Kohler Engines expanded its electronic fuel injection (EFI) technology with the introduction of three engines and its alternative-fuel technology with the unveiling of four tri-fuel engines. It also announced a warranty extension on all consumer engines in its 7000 Series.
* New EFI engines: Kohler’s three new EFI offerings are the Confidant EFI, Command PRO EFI ECH440, and Command PRO EFI 999 cc. All three models offer the benefits of Kohler’s closed-loop EFI technology, including enhanced fuel efficiency, greater overall reliability, and easier starting in a wide variety of conditions.
Similar to Kohler’s existing EFI engines, the new models are anticipated to deliver an estimated 25 percent in fuel savings when compared to similar Kohler carbureted engines under comparable load conditions. All three new models use Kohler’s closed-loop system, which means an oxygen sensor in the muffler continuously monitors the air/fuel mixture. If the air/fuel mixture strays from the ideal level, the sensor triggers adjustments to the amount of fuel injected into the system.
In addition to delivering optimal fuel efficiency and turn-key starting, the technology also provides improved power and enhanced reliability. Since EFI systems replace carburetors, downtime due to carburetor-related issues is also eliminated, including the buildup of residue that often occurs when using ethanol-blended gasoline.
“Our new Kohler Confidant series is fulfilling a need in the rapidly growing ZTR market with an engine that makes commercial-grade performance available at a lower price point,” said Eric Hudak, marketing manager – consumer ride and walk engines for Kohler Engines. “The Confidant EFI minimizes fuel usage, which leads to significant cash savings and fewer trips to the pump. Plus, our automotive-grade EFI system has a higher tolerance to poor fuel and provides easy, worry-free starting in all conditions — a user can simply turn the key and go.”
Kohler Engines has more than 3,000 proprietary EFI diagnostics software kits at dealerships in the field to enable faster, more effective service repairs for commercial users. The Kohler EFI Diagnostic Software enables an outdoor power equipment dealer’s service technicians to tap into critical performance data logged by the engine control unit (ECU) to help troubleshoot engine operating conditions, failure codes, total hours, oil temperatures, detailed load parameters and much more.
The durable new Confidant EFI line will include four engines, ranging between 20 and 27 hp., and encompass an option with recoil starting — the first engine ever to offer recoil starting in combination with electronic fuel injection.
In another industry first, Kohler Engines is incorporating its EFI technology into the company’s Command PRO ECH440. The new 14-hp. ECH440 EFI engine, which features Kohler’s Quad-Clean four-stage cyclonic air cleaner, will be the first single-cylinder engine to integrate closed-loop EFI. This new product will bring the benefits of Kohler EFI to a wider array of utility equipment, including generators, welders, utility vehicles, stump grinders and more.
The Kohler Command PRO EFI 999 cc is a powerful new option designed for large commercial mowing equipment, as well as equipment typically found at rental houses, such as chippers and concrete saws. This new EFI workhorse will deliver up to 38 hp. and 55.3 foot-pounds of torque.
“The expansion of our EFI technology into the Confidant series, ECH440 and 999 cc really speaks to the strong overall demand for our existing EFI engines,” said Mark Johansen, director of marketing – gas engines for Kohler Engines. “Commercial landscapers across the country are already profiting from the unmatched fuel economy and best-in-class reliability offered through our EFI technology. With the new Confidant EFI, ECH440, and 999-cc EFI options, we wanted to extend the benefits of Kohler EFI to even more markets and additional equipment operators worldwide.”
All Confidant EFI and Command PRO EFI engines are backed by a three-year warranty.
* New Tri-Fuel engines: Kohler announced that four of its Command PRO horizontal-shaft engines — the CH260, CH270, CH395 and CH440 — now offer the ability to run on three different fuels: gasoline, propane, and natural gas. This advancement allows end users to simply turn a dial to switch between the three options based on fuel availability or fuel preference for the task at hand.
“Our new Tri-Fuel engines provide ultimate flexibility for engine dealers, as well as end users,” said Scott Lee, product manager for Kohler Engines. “Now, dealers have the ability to stock a single engine model and — as long as they have the necessary fuel kits — they’ll be able to set the engine to accept gasoline, LP or natural gas. This level of engine flexibility can significantly cut a dealer’s inventory costs while also giving their customers the ability to easily adjust the fuel source for optimum engine performance.”
The four new Kohler Command PRO Tri-Fuel engines are available in power ratings from 6 to 14 hp. and will be used in a wide variety of utility equipment, including blowers, concrete saws, pumps, welders and wood chippers.
In another alternative fuels development, Kohler Engines announced the commercial availability of its propane-powered 824-cc Command PRO EFI engines. These powerful new engines — initially introduced in late 2014 — are now available in two models offerings: 27 and 29 hp. Both models feature Kohler’s closed-loop EFI technology.
Kohler Engines is the only company in the industry to manufacture a closed-loop EFI engine designed and optimized for propane use, producing equivalent power and torque to carbureted gasoline engines. The factory-direct propane EFI models eliminate the need for aftermarket propane kits that typically require fuel adjustment and priming, and often don’t perform as well.
Since propane is a cleaner-burning fuel, the 824-cc Command PRO EFI propane models are ideal for users in states that enforce Ozone Action Days, which limit mowing with carbureted gasoline engines. Propane-fueled equipment can also help commercial cutters win business contracts with municipalities and other organizations seeking “green” fuels and technologies.
“As propane and other alternative fuels continue to gain traction, we’re very pleased with the initial feedback we’ve received to our new Tri-Fuel engines, and we’re certainly excited for our propane EFI units to be hitting the market,” Lee added. “At Kohler Engines, we remain committed to driving new advancements that offer tangible benefits to end users who continue to seek out an ideal combination of both savings and performance.”
* Extended warranty on the 7000 Series: Kohler Engines is extending the consumer warranty on all 7000 Series engines to now cover a period of three years. The enhanced warranty reflects the commercial durability and reliability Kohler Engines has built into the company’s 7000 Series, including a professional-grade cylinder head, crankcase, and cast-iron crankshaft. The new three-year warranty retroactively covers all Kohler 7000 Series engines dating back to the line’s initial production in 2013.
“The Kohler 7000 Series, which is ideal for consumer ZTRs and ride-on mowers, was born from our company’s strong heritage in commercial turf engines,” said Eric Hudak, marketing manager – consumer ride and walk engines for Kohler Engines. “We wanted to extend the warranty on these engines to reflect our complete confidence in the 7000 Series. Simply stated, these engines are tough as nails and designed to deliver unmatched durability to homeowners who seek professional-level performance from their lawn equipment.”
For additional information, visit KohlerEngines.com.
Kubota enters commercial walk-behind mower market, positions its dealers as full-service turf equipment providers
Kubota Tractor Corporation introduced three commercial walk-behind gas-powered mowers (WG14-36, WH15-48 and WHF19-52), positioning its dealers as an all-under-one-roof turf equipment provider for landscape professionals and homeowners alike.
“Kubota’s zero-turn mowers and lawn tractors maintain a strong reputation for quality and reliability,” said Tom Vachal, Kubota senior product manager for turf equipment. “Since initiating our alliance with Echo last year for handheld outdoor power equipment, and now with our introduction of commercial walk-behind mowers, we’ve taken steps to become a full-service, one-stop shop for our turf equipment customers.”
Kubota’s new commercial walk-behind mowers are available in three deck widths, and each model is powered by a reliable Kawasaki V-twin gasoline engine with outputs ranging from 14 to 19 hp. The WG14-36 features a five-speed gear-drive transmission with reverse assist, and the WH15-48 and WHF19-52 use proven Hydro-Gear variable displacement pumps with Parker wheel motors.
All three mowers feature fabricated welded-steel decks and are equipped with a powerful electric clutch (125 foot-pounds), maintenance-free spindles, and easy-to-use controls. The WG14-36 uses a traditional pistol-grip control, while the larger WH15-48 and WHF19-52 models use a twin-lever hydro control similar to those found on zero-turn mowers, enhancing ease of use and improving maneuverability in tight spaces. All three mowers have adjustable cutting heights (ranging from 1-3/8 to 4-5/8 inches, depending on the model), making them suitable for most common grasses. The 52-inch model, WHF19-52, features a Kawasaki FX engine and a floating deck with a pin-adjustment mechanism that facilitates easy cutting-height adjustments.
The new walk-behind mowers provide the landscaping and maintenance pro with an attractive cutting option, while offering the ability to perform close-quarters chores that would be cumbersome and impractical with larger riding mowers. The line offers customers a new and affordable alternative in the commercial walk-behind segment and will be available at Kubota dealerships starting January 2016.
In addition to the commercial walk-behind mowers, Kubota also unveiled the all-new ZD Series zero-turn diesel-powered mowers — the ZD1000 and the ZD1200. The mowers are available in four deck widths (48, 54, 60 and 72 inches) and are driven by powerful Kubota diesel engines, with outputs ranging from 19 to 25 hp., with hydrostatic transmissions and pivoting front axles. The ZD Series features Kubota’s latest patented innovative Aerodynamic Cutting System, which provides for more efficient use of power, resulting in better fuel efficiency and faster cutting performance. The ZD Series offers a reduction in steering control-lever resistance for easier maneuverability. Operator comfort is enhanced by premium high-back suspension seats; additionally, the ZD1200 comes with a 3.5-inch LCD display screen to allow the operator to more closely monitor vehicle functions. Low-profile tires and an aerodynamic deck design reduce rolling resistance, improving fuel economy, and newly designed blades allow the mower to cut faster with less horsepower. All told, the ZD zero-turn mowers offer high levels of comfort, convenience and performance while remaining true to the Z Series’ no-nonsense, workhorse nature.
Kubota also introduced its K-Vertible Four-Passenger RTV-X1140 and its BX-Series Drive-Over Mower Deck at GIE+EXPO.
To learn more, visit www.kubota.com.
Makita lands at GIE+EXPO 2015 with expanded tool box for landscapers
Makita opened up its tool box to the power equipment market at GIE+EXPO with an expanding range of solutions for landscaping, hardscape applications, forestry and related maintenance. Included were efficient MM4 4-stroke engine products, easy-starting MM2 2-stroke chain saws, and the world’s largest cordless equipment/tool lineup powered by an 18V lithium-ion slide-style battery. GIE+EXPO also marked the re-integration of Makita U.S.A. and DOLMAR power equipment.
“Raising productivity and efficiency is a driving force in the construction world, and it’s also a major factor in power equipment in the green industry,” said Dennis Stauch, vice president and general manager, outdoor power equipment, Makita U.S.A. “Makita is giving landscapers, hardscape contractors and forestry professionals more solutions than any other manufacturer with efficient 4-stroke and 2-stroke engines, corded and cordless power equipment, and a range of accessories that help professional landscapers and contractors solve problems and be more efficient.”
Makita’s GIE+EXPO highlights included:
* Makita and DOLMAR: Since 1991, DOLMAR has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the Makita Corporation, and Makita has successfully sold Makita-branded power equipment, including power cutters, chain saws, blowers, trimmers and other models. As of Oct. 1, 2015, Makita U.S.A., Inc. became fully responsible for DOLMAR products throughout the U.S. This integration gives users a combination of DOLMAR professional 2-stroke chain saws, Makita MM4 4-stroke engine products, and more than 100 18V LXT and 18V X2 LXT (36V) solutions, including a growing range of cordless power equipment. Makita is committed to supporting the independent servicing dealer with expanded service and parts support.
* MM4 4-stroke engine technology: Engine seizure due to improper fuel and oil mixing is one of the most common failures of 2-stroke power equipment. Makita believes that it is delivering a better solution with MM4 4-stroke engine power equipment, including backpack and handheld blowers, a mist blower, string trimmers, brush trimmers, hedge trimmers, edgers, telescoping pole pruners and couple-shafted products. For hardscape applications, Makita created the world’s first 4-stroke engine power cutter with the 14-inch EK7651H. These efficient 4-stroke engine solutions go beyond tool performance, as they require no fuel mixing so users require only one gas can for all their power equipment. In addition, Makita MM4 4-stroke engines run quieter, idle smoother, have lower emissions, and give users quicker and easier starts.
* MM2 2-stroke engine power equipment: The integration of DOLMAR power equipment will result in an expanded range of durable 2-stroke engine gas-powered chain saws, including entry-level 32-cc saws, 45- to 50-cc mid-range and larger saws for the forestry professional, as well as an expanded line of 2-stroke concrete-cutting saws. Select models feature Easy Start technology, which is a spring-assisted starter combined with a low-spark ignition coil to significantly reduce pull-starting force for easier starts. Users and dealers will also benefit from Makita’s expanding parts and service support for power equipment.
* More 18V LXT lithium-ion cordless power equipment: Makita created the 18V lithium-ion cordless tool category in 2005. Now, with more than 100 tools, Makita has the world’s largest 18V cordless tool lineup powered by 18V lithium-ion slide-style batteries — and the lineup includes a growing range of solutions for landscape contractors. Makita 18V X2 LXT (36V) tools are powered by two 18V lithium-ion batteries, so users get 36V power, speed and runtime without leaving the 18V battery platform. Makita offers 18V X2 (36V) blowers, as well as a hedge trimmer, string trimmer and two chain saws, with more solutions are on the way.
Makita also offers several cordless power equipment solutions that run on single 18V LXT lithium-ion batteries, including 18V 2.0 Ah, 3.0 Ah and 4.0 Ah batteries, as well as the 18V 5.0 Ah battery that gives users 65 percent more runtime than 3.0 Ah batteries. Makita 18V batteries also have the fastest charge times in their categories, so they spend more time working and less time sitting on the charger.
GIE+EXPO attendees also saw Makita 18V cordless solutions for on and off the jobsite — including 18V cordless flashlights, radios, vacuums, work lights, heated jackets, and even a coffee maker — as well as a range of 18V tools for maintenance, including drills, impact drivers, impact wrenches, recip saws, and more. With the world’s largest 18V cordless tool lineup, Makita is expanding the tool box with more 18V cordless tools and power equipment, giving contractors more opportunities than ever to unplug the cord.
* Anti-vibration technology for less vibration: Makita’s exclusive Anti-Vibration Technology (AVT) is more than just a padded or spring-loaded handle. AVT is an internal counterbalance system engineered into the tool that greatly reduces vibration for increased user comfort and productivity. Makita offers an AVT solution in every major hammer class, from 1-inch rotary hammers to a 70-pound breaker hammer. At GIE+EXPO, Makita showed select hammer solutions, including the 27-pound AVT Demolition Hammer, ideal for hardscape applications and breaking concrete.
To find out further details, visit www.makitatools.com.
TurfMutt, Kris Kiser to appear on TV show
A Washington, D.C.-area rescue dog named Lucky and his owner, Kris Kiser, will appear this season on the Emmy Award-winning “Lucky Dog” television show that airs Saturday mornings on CBS as a part of the ‘CBS Dream Team, It’s Epic’ block of programming. They made their show debut November 7.
The “Lucky Dog” show follows animal trainer Brandon McMillan, who rescues hard-to-love, out-of-control, untrained and unadoptable dogs. McMillan turns these pooches into perfect pets. In the end, a lucky family will adopt an even luckier dog, making each episode an adoption story that warms the heart.
Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), and his adopted dog Lucky, the “TurfMutt,” are on a mission to educate viewers on ways to create environmentally responsible living landscapes that families and pets can enjoy.
Lucky the “TurfMutt” is a real live superhero who serves as the “spokesdog” for the OPEI Education & Research Foundation’s TurfMutt environmental stewardship and educational program by Scholastic, for children in grades K-5. The national program has reached more than 62 million children, educators and families, since 2009, showing them how they can “save the planet, one yard at a time.”
“Lucky and I are very excited to participate in the ‘Lucky Dog’ television show,” said Kiser. “I met many families living in California as part of taping the show, and was able to visit their yards and provide tips on how to make a living landscape a home for their new pups.”
Kiser continued, “It’s not just about having a lawn for your dog and your kids at all costs. It’s about having the right kind of yard, including a lawn, for the environment you are living in today.”
To see when the CBS show will air in your area, go to http://cbsdreamteam.com/lucky-dog/show-schedule/.
Oregon unveils pair of productivity-enhancing products for pros
Oregon showcased two new products that it believes will be “game changers” for green industry professionals: the Gator SpeedLoad Cutting System and the SpeedCut Bar and Chain Cutting System. Details on both products are as follows:
* Gator SpeedLoad Cutting System: The integrated head and disk line system simplifies the replacement of trimmer line — with no winding, spooling, or cutting line — reducing replacement time to seconds.
“The Gator SpeedLoad Cutting System is designed to get professionals back to work and keep them working longer,” said Dale Marcell, senior global product manager for Oregon. “It was engineered to eliminate the hassle and frustration of winding line onto spools. Less loading time and a high-quality, durable trimmer line equal more time on the job — and a big impact on a business’s bottom line.”
The Gator SpeedLoad Cutting System combines a specially designed trimmer head with a patented line disk. The trimmer head is designed as a solid-body piece, with no loose parts, spools or screws that could get lost on a jobsite. Its low-profile design provides better visibility and improved line position for trimming.
Oregon’s proprietary Gator SpeedLoad trimmer line is its most durable to date. Its unique formulation and manufacturing process delivers significantly improved line durability and longer life, while the tongue and groove profile creates sharp edges for cleaner and faster cutting. Gator SpeedLoad trimmer line comes pre-wound in small, self-contained disks for easy transport and fast loading. The result is a fast, easy-to-use trimmer line replacement solution for green industry professionals.
“Landscape pros who tested the Gator SpeedLoad in the field were able to change out their trimmer line in under 20 seconds,” said Marcell. “And when they tested the trimmer line against concrete, chain link and other rugged surfaces, it proved to be more durable, lasting up to two times longer than competing products.”
Available in January 2016, the Gator SpeedLoad Cutting System will be available in three models that fit more than 95 percent of gas-powered trimmers on the market. The models include a 5-inch-diameter head for commercial straight-shaft trimmers that use .095-inch and .118-inch line; a 4.25-inch-diameter head for straight-shaft trimmers that use .080-inch and .095-inch trimmer line; and a 4.25-inch-diameter head for curved-shaft trimmers that use .080-inch and .095-inch trimmer line.
The Oregon Gator SpeedLoad Cutting System will be available at Oregon authorized dealers nationwide. To learn more about the product, visit OregonProducts.com/GSL.
* SpeedCut Bar and Chain Cutting System: SpeedCut is Oregon’s next-generation narrow kerf bar and chain cutting system.
“Professionals have trusted Oregon’s guide bars and saw chain for nearly 70 years, but we’re always looking for new ways to offer an even better cutting experience,” said Derek Vlcko, director of product marketing for Oregon forestry products. “We designed every aspect of the SpeedCut System with the end user in mind. Designed to meet the demands of professional users, the lighter and faster SpeedCut System helps our customers accomplish more on the job.”
The SpeedCut System combines Oregon’s new .325-inch pitch narrow kerf saw chain and SpeedCut laminated guide bars. The new SpeedCut narrow kerf saw chain offers higher cutting efficiency and durability due to a redesigned cutter shape. Oregon’s precision grind technology ensures the SpeedCut saw chain is sharp and ready right out of the box, and it’s designed to cut 10 percent faster than Oregon’s top-performing narrow kerf .325-inch pitch saw chain. For more uptime, the saw chain’s cutting surfaces have been engineered to stay sharper longer, with an easy-to-file cutting surface.
The SpeedCut guide bar offers unmatched rigidity and control. Built using aerospace bonding technology, the guide bar is designed to be stiffer and stronger than Oregon’s other lightweight products. An aluminum core reduces weight up to 20 percent, for easy handling with less effort. The SpeedCut guide bar’s redesigned nose and hardened bar rails enhance overall durability and strength.
Available in 2016, the SpeedCut System can be purchased together in a guide bar and saw chain combo pack, and it will be available in four lengths: 13, 15, 16 and 18 inches. The SpeedCut guide bars and saw chain can also be purchased on their own. The guide bar family will be available in five lengths, ranging from 13 inches to 20 inches. SpeedCut saw chains can be purchased in a variety of loop lengths or in bulk reels at authorized dealers. A narrow kerf icon on product packaging helps customers easily identify guide bar and saw chain compatibility.
The Oregon SpeedCut System, guide bars and saw chain will be available at Oregon authorized dealers nationwide.
In addition to the Gator SpeedLoad Cutting System and the SpeedCut Bar and Chain Cutting System, Oregon also displayed its new battery-operated CS300 chain saw with a 16-inch bar, on-tool PowerSharp, and 40 percent more power than its predecessor.
PERC’s Propane Mower Incentive Program returns for limited time
The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) announced that it is bringing back its Propane Mower Incentive Program for a limited time. Effective immediately, landscape contractors can apply to receive $1,000 toward the purchase of a new propane-powered mower and $500 toward a qualified conversion. The incentive will be available until program funds expire, so applicants are encouraged to act fast.
“It’s officially the buying season for landscape contractors and, while many already know the value of propane mowers, a little assistance with the upfront costs associated with converting their equipment can prove to be the tipping point,” said Jeremy Wishart, PERC’s deputy director of business development. “Propane can give landscape contractors a lower total cost of operation and also reduce emissions compared with traditional fuels, so it’s exciting to be able to help offset some of those initial conversion costs for contractors wanting to take advantage of propane’s benefits.”
Since the Mower Incentive Program first began in 2012, well over 3,000 applications from landscape contractors have been received by PERC. Contractors can apply for the Propane Mower Incentive Program at propane.com/mowerincentive.
The Mower Incentive Program is just one of many tools that PERC offers contractors to help them save money with propane. PERC’s suite of cost-calculator tools is designed for use in the propane industry’s fastest-growing markets, including commercial landscape. The calculator tool, available at propanecostcalculator.com, estimates potential fuel savings and return on investment (ROI) for contractors using clean, American-made propane when compared with conventional fuels like gasoline and diesel.
Spartan Mowers makes GIE+EXPO debut
Robert Foster is back, and in a big way. With the October 2015 launch of Spartan Mowers, the owner of the Intimidator Group, headquartered in Batesville, Ark., could not be more proud.
“I have always loved mowers,” Foster said. “They are a passion of mine. The Spartan is truly a culmination of many years’ experience, many lessons learned, and countless hours of work and engineering. We literally built this mower from the ground up. The inspiration for the design of the mower came from the muscle car era of the ‘60s and ‘70s.”
The Spartan features all-new Smart Ride Technology (SRT) with middle and rear Elastomer TecsPak and front neoprene cushioning to absorb any shock or jostling. Another selling feature of the Spartan includes the soft-ride steel-belted radial tires. The ergonomic cockpit puts the driver in the center of the circle; the new brake system frees up arm space, giving the driver the ultimate ride and range of motion. Drivers will also appreciate the control panel with LCD and warning indicators.
The Spartan offers a high-quality cut. Boasting a shock-assisted deck lift and certain models with an electric actuator, deck lift is simplified. The low center of gravity and angled front forks allow for a close cut through the straights and turns. The Spartan is built with the same heavy-duty frame as Intimidator utility vehicles. Spartan mowers are also designed with a simple “plug-and-play” system to allow the owner to add on whatever accessories are necessary.
“The mission behind this mower was to change the turf industry by raising the bar on simplicity and functionality in a top-of-the-line mower,” Foster said. “We did it…this one is special. We believe the Spartan is the best possible mower on the market.”
All of these top-of-the-line features create an outstanding mower at a lower price. There are five mower series — RT PRO, RT HD, SRT PRO, SRT HD, and SRT XD — accommodating everything from small yards to commercial use. Starting price for the base RT model is $4,995.
For more information, visit www.SpartanMowers.com.
Stihl Inc. introduces new products and technology
At GIE+EXPO, Stihl Inc. introduced new products and new innovations, including the world’s only professional backpack blower with an integrated electric start, during its press conference at its annual Oktoberfest celebration with beer and brats. Denise Long of Gardners Outdoor Power Equipment in Goshen, Ind., was selected as the winner of Stihl’s $5,000 giveaway. Retiring Stihl Inc. President Fred Whyte also made his farewell remarks at the press conference.
The Stihl BR 450 and BR 450 C-EF (63.3 cc) backpack blowers come packed with new features for operator comfort and convenience. In addition, the BR 450 C-EF is the world’s only professional backpack blower and the first Stihl blower to come equipped with an integrated instant electric start, designed to help pros save time and money on the job.
With the push of a button on the throttle of the BR 450 C-EF, the electric-start technology allows professionals to start and stop the unit while wearing it on their back. No more idling while walking to the next job and no need to remove the unit to restart, saving precious time and money. The electric start is conveniently powered by an on-board battery that charges while the unit is running, making it an ideal product for pros on the go.
These powerful blowers have user-friendly design elements that make them ideal go-to tools for everyday cleanup. Both of these workhorses feature the following:
* Newly designed telescopic tube adjustment that allows the user to quickly adjust the length for a variety of user heights and cleanup applications.
* Stihl Easy2Start and semi-automatic choke offer smooth, easy starts with a reduced chance of flooding.
* A toolless control handle allows each user to easily adjust to their most comfortable control handle position without the use of an additional tool.
* Comfortable design with large straps, a backpack pad and a soft rubber grip on the throttle come standard for optimal control and support comfortable operation.
“Both units combine performance and comfort to help pros and homeowners complete large-property maintenance with less fatigue,” said Stephen Meriam, director of sales at Stihl Inc. “The BR 450 and BR 450 C-EF have powerful blowing forces rivaling our top-rated backpack blowers.”
In addition to the two gas-powered backpack blowers, Stihl Inc. also unveiled the following products at the show:
* Handheld gas-powered blower: The Stihl BG 50 is the lightest gasoline-powered handheld blower in the Stihl lineup. At only 7.9 pounds, the compact yet powerful (27.2 cc) BG 50 has the power to get cleanup jobs around the home done quickly and easily.
* Three gas-powered chain saws: Designed for arborists and tree care professionals, the MS 193 T packs 1.3 kW of power and 20 percent more fuel efficiency than its predecessor, the Stihl MS 192 T. The MS 201 C-EM (35.2 cc) provides the power and performance for pruning and firewood-cutting tasks, and it is equipped with the microprocessor-controlled Stihl M-Tronic intelligent engine management system that automatically adapts to changes in the environment such as fuel quality and altitude. The MS 201 T C-M (35.2 cc) is Stihl’s ultimate chain saw designed for professional arborists and its first top-handle saw equipped with Stihl M-Tronic technology.
* Two gas-powered hedge trimmers: The new Stihl HS 82 and HS 87 top-of-the-line hedge trimmers (22.7 cc) provide precise and tough cutting for professional performance. Compared to previous models (HS 81 and HS 86), both are lighter, have increased blade speed, and are powered by an advanced low-emission engine that is 20 percent more fuel efficient.
* Battery-powered handheld blower: The BGA 100 handheld blower is the lightest (5.5 pounds), quietest (56 decibels), and most powerful handheld blower in the Stihl line. This blower is part of the Stihl Battery KombiSystem, which means no gas, no cord and no exhaust emissions. Its jet engine-inspired axial turbine fan not only delivers more blowing force than many other battery products on the market, but performs better than many gasoline-powered models. And because the unit requires no fuel or oil, and has minimal maintenance, operating costs are reduced.
* Battery-powered trimmer: The professional FSA 90 R trimmer, part of the Stihl Battery KombiSystem, combines the low-maintenance and cost-effective benefits of Stihl Lithium-Ion battery technology with the renowned power of Stihl. Quiet, yet powerful, this cordless trimmer is ideal for professionals landscaping in noise-sensitive or exhaust-emission-sensitive areas like school grounds, business districts or hospitals. It also saves users time and money by eliminating the need for gasoline and two-cycle oil.
Fred Whyte, who will retire at year’s end after serving the Stihl organization for 44 years, including the final 23 years as president of Stihl Inc., reflected on Stihl’s remarkable growth and success during his time with the company and gave a lot of credit to Stihl dealers.
“Forty-four years has seen a great deal of change at Stihl,” Whyte noted. “If you look at the products, we started in the United States, in Virginia Beach, we had one model, the 015 (chain saw), in a very humble facility with about 58 employees. We now produce over 70 models and have over 2,000 employees in Virginia Beach.
“When I started back in the Dark Ages, when you said you worked for Stihl, people would look at you and say, ‘Is that U.S. Steel or Bethlehem Steel.’ And then you would have to explain, ‘Well, this is a chain saw company.’ Well, I think you saw today from what (products) we were introducing, we’re certainly far more than a chain saw company today — obviously, with a lot of effort and attention on the battery products.
“And our dealer organization has changed dramatically as well,” he continued. “Our dealers are certainly very sophisticated, really good business people, and I think it’s a tribute to you, and in part to Stihl, the fact that we have been able to become the number-one-selling brand of handheld outdoor power equipment, both in the United States and Canada, without having to mass merchandise our product. Let’s stay true to the servicing dealer!
“But as change is inevitable, and as Steve (Meriam) said, I will be retiring, the time comes. My mother always used to say, ‘You live your life in chapters.’ Well, I’m about to turn another page.’”
For additional information, visit www.stihlusa.com.
Toro has Multi Force, much more on its side
The Toro Company unveiled several new products, including the next generation of its stand-on mowers and one that will be a force to be reckoned with year-round.
Toro is bringing four-season versatility to its stand-on mower line with the all-new GrandStand Multi Force featuring a BOSS snow plow attachment. The new models allow operators to switch between a mowing deck and a snowplow with a simple change of attachments.
Ideal for clearing snow from sidewalks, the GrandStand Multi Force is equipped with a unique movable caster assembly that shortens the frame to maximize the performance of each attachment. This makes the machine more maneuverable and effective for removing snow. In addition, once Toro’s Quick Attach System is set up, users can switch from a mowing deck to a snowplow in minutes.
Attachments for the GrandStand Multi Force connect to a Power Arm that is able to lift more than 18 inches, allowing an operator to push snow up and over curbs.
Toro partnered with BOSS to design the GrandStand Multi Force with productivity, safety and durability in mind, according to Ross Hawley, senior marketing manager for Toro. “This design draws upon the collective experience of both teams, leading to a better result,” he noted. “Designing when and how the plow blade trips over an obstacle was a critical part of the collaboration.”
The GrandStand Multi Force also offers all the advantages of Toro’s traditional GrandStand stand-on mower, including a large, comfortable operator platform with smooth suspension; outstanding visibility; and a smaller footprint that’s easy to transport. Two models will be available in spring 2016. Customers can choose either a 52- or 60-inch Toro 7-gauge-steel Turbo Force mowing deck, which delivers a pristine after-cut appearance, to be paired with a 60-inch BOSS snowplow. Additional options and attachments are planned for the future.
“The GrandStand Multi Force gives our customers a way to do more with one machine, instead of needing dedicated equipment for each season,” Hawley added. “The result is added equipment utilization and higher productivity.”
In addition to the Multi Force, Toro unveiled its all-new 48-, 52- and 60-inch GrandStand stand-on mowers for 2016. These next-generation models offer a range of enhancements to help landscape contractors save time and operate more profitably. Toro upgraded the top ground speed on the new models from 8 mph to 10 mph, a 25-percent increase from the previous generation. This delivers more tractive power for a more responsive feel, especially on hills. Fleet owners and managers can set the top ground speed back to 8 mph, should they want to limit the speed for operators. With these new models, Toro increased the fuel capacity from 7.8 gallons to 10.5 gallons, so operators can spend more time mowing and less time stopping to refuel. A transparent fuel tank also makes it easy to gauge the fuel level on sight. In addition, the new GrandStand models are designed to simplify service, with fewer parts and streamlined systems. Toro eliminated hydraulic hoses, and there’s a stronger, simplified frame. Regular grease points were reduced from seven to zero, virtually eliminating daily or weekly maintenance. Plus, Toro’s durable, hefty cast-iron spindles are now maintenance free.
Toro also introduced its MyRIDE suspension system on select Toro Z Master zero-turn mowers. Built for maximum comfort, the MyRIDE suspension system features a fully suspended operator platform that delivers up to 3.6 inches of platform travel and isolates the operator from the rest of the machine. This design reduces impacts, bumps and vibrations for a more comfortable ride. The MyRIDE suspension system also features adjustable rear shocks, which allow operators to choose their personalized comfort setting. The system is quick and easy to adjust, and it offers a wide range of ride preferences, from soft to firm. The new Z Master mowers with MyRIDE deliver maximum comfort and ride quality without compromising performance, durability, reliability and quality of cut. The MyRIDE suspension system will be available on six models in the Z Master line, including the 3000 Series with 52- and 60-inch cutting decks, the 5000 Series with 52- and 60-inch cutting decks, and the 6000 Series with 60- and 72-inch cutting decks. “Our goal was to combine Toro’s legendary toughness with an industry-leading ride experience,” explained Chris Hannan, Toro senior marketing manager. “The response from those who have used this product has been overwhelmingly positive.”
In addition, Toro introduced three TimeCutter zero-turn mowers, a TurfMaster 30-inch commercial walk-behind mower, a rear-wheel-drive Personal Pace Recycler mower with space-saving SmartStow, and the SnowMaster and Power Max snowblowers.
For additional information, visit www.toro.com.
Wright introduces 72-inch Stander ZK
At GIE+EXPO 2015, Wright introduced a 72-inch model to its growing line of Stander ZK mowers. This zero-turn mower is now available with a choice of three Aero-Core deck sizes — 52, 61 and 72 inches.
The 72-inch Stander ZK’s wider cut, push-button deck lift, powerful engine options, mowing speed of 12.5 mph, and fully independent left/right hydro systems all contribute to the mower’s improved productivity.
Operators won’t have to ride the new Stander ZK long before experiencing its better balance and stability, especially on hills. Reinforced wheelie wheels and elastomer bumpers for progressive ride control help the mower hug the ground on all types of terrain. The mower’s short overall length makes it more maneuverable than mid-mount Zs.
Fleet managers will also like the 72-inch Stander ZK because its only critical in-season maintenance points are engine oil and blades, and there are no grease fittings. The 17.5-gallon fuel tank eliminates the need to carry extra gas, and the mower’s light weight and compact footprint make trailering multiple units easier.
The rugged Aero-Core deck has air-tapered surfaces that eliminate clumping, and its airflow stands grass up for a uniform cut. The deck is equipped with anti-scalp rollers for smooth, even results, even on varying terrain. Recessed caster wheels reduce the turning radius, and the compact footprint improves maneuverability and reduces the space required on the trailer.
The minute operators step on the Stander ZK, they will notice the added comfort on the roomier foot platform. The platform is easy to step off of to exit or pick up debris, and a five-gallon debris container is even provided.
For more information, visit www.wrightmfg.com.