Grounds maintenance

This extensive range of machinery at IoG Saltex 2010 will feature something for everyone says Sally Drury.

Saving the planet should not cost the earth - that is the philosophy behind the launch of two new road-legal electric vehicles by ePower Trucks on stand V12.

Suitable for urban deliveries, facilities and estate maintenance, ePower's XT320E electric van is capable of 60 miles on a full charge with its pure lead acid battery pack. A double battery pack means 120 miles - the battery technology used having been adapted from military use and requiring zero maintenance. The flat bed can carry a 1,000kg payload. The XT320E is also rated to tow loads up to 1,500kg on the road. Offered in twoand four-wheel drive, the van starts at £29,000 ex VAT.

The second introduction from ePower is the E-Merge E2 - the UK's first fully road-legal electric golf cart. With a top speed of 25mph and a range of 30 miles on a full battery charge, this vehicle is aimed at lower-mileage applications and costs less than 4p a mile to run.

With increasing pressures for fast turnaround and safe loading, the Roadload U-trail lowers its box-to-ground level and eliminates the need for tail-lifts or ramps while allowing for easy, safe loading and unloading. Empty detachable boxes or flat decks can be dropped off for loading and preloaded boxes picked up for delivery.

Lowering the box to the ground or raising it to the driving position takes about six seconds and cameras and load sensors provide the driver with accurate alignment assistance. The load sits lower than on conventional 3.5-tonne Luton vans to provide a smooth ride, less air-resistance and reduced height. The U-tail conversion comes in two wheelbase versions and three weights - 3.5, four and five tonnes. Roadload's Beavertail range will also be on display.

Fitted with a wide range of attachments, the Multihog multi-purpose utility vehicle can provide a one-vehicle solution for ground care and roadside maintenance applications. The MH90 model, diesel powered and hydrostatically driven, can be viewed on stand W59 in standard format and with optional tilting driver-platform.

If you are looking for off-road transport, there will be plenty to see at IoG Saltex. ATV riders should be sure to see Honda's latest big red, the TRX420FPM, on stand S31. The company has taken its best-selling model and enhanced it with power steering to lessen fatigue for professional users performing tasks at low speed for long periods of time.

Ticking all the boxes expected of a diesel 4x4 side-by-side utility vehicle, the Polaris Ranger Diesel will be unveiled on stand W13. Recognising that power and economy are important, Polaris has chosen a 904cc engine delivering 24hp and up to 35mph top speed. Being diesel, torque is substantial throughout the operating range. Benefits in fuel economy are also expected.

Traction is boosted by On Demand True All Wheel Drive, automatically engaging all four wheels when needed and then reverting to two-wheel drive on easier ground. The Polaris VersaTrac turf mode is designed for operation on more sensitive terrain.

Carrying a payload of people and gear of up to 680kg, and boasting a class-leading 907kg towing capacity, the Ranger Diesel has independent, adjustable suspension, giving 22.9cm of travel and 30.5cm ground clearance.

Barrus has also gone diesel. With a Yanmar engine, the Cub Cadet Big Country 4x4 has five per cent increased horsepower. It also features four-wheel, fully independent double A-arm suspension and a wide wheelbase for stability on rough terrain. The cargo box will carry 409kg at 25mph.

The 6x4 and 4x4 versions of JCB's Groundhog utility vehicle can be seen on stand R17. Opening up a vast range of potential applications in the landscaping, golf course, grounds maintenance and estate management sectors, the 4x4 model is powered by a 26hp diesel engine selected to deliver impressive torque and a top speed of 31mph.

Other features include CVT transmission with high/low gear range and engine braking, plus all-wheel hydraulic disc brakes with split circuit and a twin-calliper parking brake. To iron out the bumps and provide a smooth ride, the 4x4 Groundhog has fully independent suspension at each wheel, with high ground-clearance and progressive rate springs at the rear.

Powered by a 768cc liquid-cooled 20hp diesel engine, the 6x4 JCB Groundhog also features CVT transmission with manual differential lock and Kevlar belt drive. The machine has permanent four-wheel drive, a maximum travel speed of 18mph, maximum payload of 500kg and towing capacity of 500kg.

Tractors are always a big feature at the show and this year you can expect to see new models from Kioti, TYM and Goldini. New to the Kioti range of compact tractors supplied in the UK by RECO, the DS series is likely to attract the attention of visitors who have tight budgets to meet. The tractors are available in 41hp and 45hp models, having four-cylinder diesel engines. The strong chassis and high hydraulic capacity mean the units can work front-end loaders and backhoes.

A new feature to the Kioti tractor is the dashboard-mounted forward-reverse shuttle lever. The DS series also boasts fully independent electro-hydraulic rear PTO that is turned on and off at the flip of the switch. Ease of maintenance is also a key feature, with all serviceable elements positioned on one side of the tractor, behind quick-removal covers and a one-touch bonnet hood.

For operators wanting an all-purpose tractor, the new Boxter range from Goldoni may fit the bill. The new generation of 18hp to 24hp machines are said to be ideal for use where space is at a premium. They can be seen alongside Goldoni's Star and Quasar tractors on stand W27.

For the busy grounds care professional, power is becoming important as larger and higher output implements are used to get optimum work rates and efficiencies. But that power is often only obtained at a higher cost or by using a heavier, more complex tractor that may require expensive and time-consuming maintenance. TYM Tractors believes it has a solution in the T1003.

Displayed on stand DAA41b, the T1003 is a 100hp prime mover designed to handle large aerators or high-capacity loaders. Aimed at contractors, sports grounds or for use as a workhorse on golf courses, this machine boasts big tractor comforts in the shape of CD player, deluxe cab and rear screen wash/wiper.

Loader joystick controls are fitted as standard. Power comes from a Caterpillar/Perkins four-cylinder 4.4-litre engine. The tractor has a 32x32 gearbox and lift capacity on the Cat II hitch is 3,100kg, with hydraulic output of 57.3litres/min and three spool valves.

Sprayers are represented by several companies, including Techneat Engineering. Supplier to top sporting venues in the UK, the company is exhibiting its full range of application machinery for the amenity and forestry industries.

Having shown a prototype last year, listened to the comments, built in extra features and refined the design, sprayer manufacturer Martin Lishman returns to IoG Saltex with what is thought to be the most sophisticated, compact, pedestrian sprayer available. "We are not new to pedestrian sprayers," says director Gavin Lishman. "Our Spot-On sprayer was a super little machine. The Micro-Spray moves the concept on significantly, but is still priced at a level that users can justify."

Sprayers should, of course, be of a size appropriate to the job. Martin Lishman has put a 50-litre tank on the Micro-Spray 50 and ensured that it will fit through most tennis court and bowling-green gateways. The 70-litre version is designed to suit landscapers and estate maintenance work, while the largest has a 120-litre tank to appeal to golf course and sports field contractors. All versions have large pneumatic tyres for a wider footprint.

Bowling green contractor Mark Hammond feels the Miro-Spray 50 would suit his type of operation perfectly. "I need to carry a lot of equipment between jobs so it has to be compact and easy to handle. This machine answers all the questions for me - it is shorter and narrower than anything else I've seen, so it should be easy to transport. They've clearly put a lot of thought into it."

Powered by two 12V leisure batteries, the Micro-Spray heavy-duty controlled drive unit makes it suitable for all terrains and all physiques. Operators can walk behind or in front of the unit at their own speed and adjust the pump pressure to suit.

The speed is maintained irrespective of terrain or tank weight and the motor brakes automatically if the power is cut or in the event of the trigger switch on the integrated control handle being released. There is also a key control so the machine can be disabled. The machine is fully compliant with the latest machinery directive regulations, making it suitable for local authority use.

Micro-Spray units come as standard with a 2m independent-section boom complete with break-backs and individual nozzle shut-offs. A shrouded boom option is planned for the future. The Micro-Spray range, with prices starting from £1,925 ex VAT, can be seen in Demo Area A, stand 41C and on the Safe Working on Slopes feature at the show.

For clearing leaves and litter from parks, streets and other public areas, the latest backpack blower from Echo has a maximum air volume of 1,440m3/h and an air speed of up to 91.1m/sec. Displayed on stand T30, the Echo PB-770 features super-duty air filtration system, sophisticated built-in anti-vibration and a new-design backpack frame for improved operator comfort.

A new debris guard is designed to prevent leaves and debris entering the air intake filter, thus improving cooling, while the latest Air Infusion Vortex engine technology provides cleaner fuel burn.

Collecting water is one of the themes on Sweepfast's stand (C19) as the company reintroduces the HoverDry water-removal pump. Built on the hovercraft principle, the HoverDry supports itself on a cushion of air while it sucks up water from all types of artificial and natural surfaces. The company will also be showing a wide range of synthetic-turf maintenance kit.

Thinking ahead, winter is not that far away. If the snow and ice caught you out last year, then now is the time to view equipment designed to keep paths and drives clear. Wiedenmann (V26a) is usually associated with aerators but this year, alongside the TerraSpikes, the company is introducing the compact Ice Master spreader and the Snow Master blade range capable of clearing snow at speeds up to 18.6mph.

Groundscare Products (V51) is introducing a snowplough attachment for the Turf Teq two-wheeled tractor unit. The blade is spring loaded, pivots eight degrees to left and right and oscillates six degrees up and down to cope with uneven ground. SnowEX equipment can be viewed on Broadwood International's stand (R4).

Sanli's 76cm single-sided and 60cm double-sided hedgetrimmers make their debut on stand W44. Both are powered by Sanli two-stroke air-cooled engines and have twist-grip handles at the rear to facilitate vertical or horizontal operation.

Bahco is exhibiting gardening tools on stand H03, including Egro secateurs, SuperLight telescopic bypass loppers and Bahco gardening scissors.

Tools specialist Darlac (X05) is adding the DP621 compound-action lopper to its range. The lopper weighs 1.2kg and has an advanced cutting system to snip through 45mm-thick material. Also new is the Super Pro Shear, with hard chrome-plated carbon-steel blades and lightweight handles.

Pellenc lithium-ion battery-powered tools feature on Etesia's stand (U15). A new product is expected but the company is keeping tight-lipped until the show opens.

A full range of outdoor power products, including twist-handle hedgetrimmers, loop-handled brushcutters and backpack leaf blowers, will be displayed by Kawasaki Power Products (U12). A major attraction on the stand for original equipment manufacturers will be the Kawasaki FX1000V - the engine behind the latest lawnmower land speed world record set at Pendine Sands, Wales, in May.

Need to understand vibration levels? Visit stand G15, where Fivesquared is looking to help protect your workforce and ensure that your business fully complies with all current and pending vibration legislation.

Fibreglass-handled striking tools, including sledge and lump hammers, axes, fencing mauls and hatchets, will be introduced by Bulldog Tools on stand G19. These tools are fitted with fibreglass shafts making them lighter for the user and offering the additional comfort of soft-grip handles.

KEEP IT CLEAN

One of four new hot water, high-pressure, fully autonomous bowser washers, available in trailer or skid-mounted versions, will be shown by Brendon Powerwashers on stand DAA36.

Fighting the battle against graffiti, the firm's hot water range incorporates a diesel-fired water plate heat-exchanger with minimum moving parts for heating the water to 78 degC. The system utilises some of the heat from the boiler exhaust to pre-heat the hot water buffer tank. The control panel at the rear of the machine has coloured LEDs to indicate the burner status and low fuel or water levels.

The HWBBW range is offered with maximum pressures of 238 and 340 bars and a flow of 12.5litres/min. Engine options include Yanmar low-noise diesels and Honda petrol engines with automatic throttle control.

BE SEEN, BE SAFE

A complete range to meet all vehicle and materials-handling warning light requirements, the Threesixty series beacons are available in three light sources - halogen rotator, strobe and latest-generation LED. Most models are available as permanent, magnetic and DIN and flexible DIN mount formats. You can view them on Federal Signal's stand (DAA25).

IN THE WORKSHOP

Last year, Isle-of-Wight-based Flow Control exhibited at IoG Saltex for the first time and sold out of its stock of no-spill fuel cans. There is another chance to see the Flo Control Fuel Can, which has anti-spill push-button control to empty five litres in 15 seconds, on stand DAC01.

Central Spares will also show push-button fuel cans on stand H24. Central's Rapidon reduces the risk of spillage and eliminates fiddling with funnels or screwing on/off filler tubes.

Marketing manager Colin Gale says: "Using the Rapidon fuel can prevents expensive spillage and overfill, reduces the fire hazard and the damage spilt fuel does to surrounding soil and the environment - plus it improves health and safety issues associated with dispensing fuel into small engine products."

Aspen (stand M43) is another company to stress that you should not risk contaminating the working environment and incurring expensive clean-up costs. It is promoting the new combination of Aspen alkylate petrol, the low-impact fuel, and the Fillpartner dispensing system that automatically stops when the tank is full. Fillpartner is designed to fit any tank opening and screws onto the Aspen five-litre can.

The increasing use of bio-diesel and the greater incidence of water and "diesel bug" contamination mean groundcare professionals are experiencing problems with engine and fuel system failure. IPU Group is offering a range of solutions from fuel treatments to hi-tech fuel polishing systems. Visit the IPU stand (S26) to find out how to solve your fuel problems.

IN BRIEF

The Dolmar brand, manufactured in Germany and Japan, has had a long association with the trade in the past and will be represented on Midland Power Machinery's stand (DAC21) by hedgecutters, brushcutters, chainsaws and cut-off saws.

Active's products, shown by Midland for the first time, include hedgecutters, twoand four-stroke brushcutters and a split-shaft multi-tool system.


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