Future-proof solutions on show

Anyone who went to last week's IoG Saltex exhibition looking for real innovation in the grounds care kit and machinery armoury couldn't fail to have been impressed with what they saw.

This year's show was packed with ground-breaking developments and examples of innovation - not least Rigby Taylor's launch of the world's first automatic robot for the precision (GPS-driven) marking of sports pitches.

After a challenging few years for the market as a whole, it was clear manufacturers and suppliers have taken time out to focus hard on research and development - the fruits of which were on show at the event in Birmingham.

Alongside this focus on R&D, two other factors have combined to drive forward the breadth of solutions available to the sector. Firstly, technologies arriving from other industries - and at a stage where they have become truly useful to the sector, not just offering the distant promise of benefits to come. Battery technology is a case in point. We now have waterproof batteries - essential in an industry that works outdoors - and recharging is no longer an overnight job.

Secondly, in the municipal market there is a recognition across the board that there is simply no going back to the days when the grass was mown every week.

Today's cuts-driven culture is a matter of great regret. Nevertheless, we recognise it is here to stay. It is therefore only right that manufacturers should be focusing on solutions that meet the needs of clients in today's tough budgetary environment - and at this year's show they proved more than up to the task.

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