IoG Saltex 20-12 - Show preview

When it comes to mowing machinery and maintenance equipment, all uses as well as budgets are covered, Sally Drury discovers.

Twiga SPV – image: Spearhead Machinery
Twiga SPV – image: Spearhead Machinery
With grass cutting being a major part of grounds maintenance, visitors to this year’s IoG Saltex can expect to see a wide range of mowing machinery, including a budget-priced rotary mower suitable for use with compact tractors from 20hp to 60hp. Called Striker, this mower is the latest addition to Trimax Mowing Systems’ range.

In widths of 1.46m and 1.94m, Striker is purpose-designed for non-contract owner-operators — such as schools, golf courses, estates and residential properties that have substantial mowing duties. It features full-width rollers front and rear to leave a striped finish without scalping and uses multiple cutting spindles to give a clean cut with even clipping distribution across the machine’s entire width. The blades are Trimax’s high-grade alloy steel Lazerbladez — with swinging tips and an offset mounting that makes the blade tilt forward when cutting. This action, combined with generous blade width, proves beneficial in tough conditions.

The TWIGA SPV (self-propelled vehicle) is expected to mark the beginning of an exciting new era for manufacturer Spearhead Machinery. Dubbed the perfect solution for vegetation control, this reach-mower is targeted at local authorities, highway contractors, utilities and farmers, and is said to combine the power of an excavator with the versatility of a tractor.

It features a rotating cabin and has three steering modes that allow tight and difficult situations to be tackled. In all models, power is supplied by John Deere PowerTech engines delivering 115-173hp across the seven-model range. Inside the cab, the seat houses joysticks on the armrests. Reach specifications range from 8m to 17m.

Working on slopes

Reform bank mowers and Muthing flail equipment displayed by Simon Richard should appeal to amenity, utility, contractor and golf sectors. That is because they have a light footprint and crab-steer mode for working on slopes up to 45°. Reform produces tractors from 40hp to 61hp in the Metrac G Series, and from 46hp to 68hp in the Metrac H (hydrostatic) Series.

New to the UK is the Metrac G3X, a heavier-duty 44hp mechanical model based on the original G3 but with reinforced axles, final drives and the option of a full hard cab with heater. Suited to tractors from 10hp to 300hp, a wide selection of Muthing flails can be supplied in front, rear and side or offset configuration.

Also noted for its ability to work on banks, the BCS 630WS Bank Commander is exhibited by Tracmaster — this time with the new Honda iGX440 engine providing improved power and engine control to cope with work on steep inclines.

The new engine, customised by the West Sussex-based company, is the most advanced of smaller commercial engines on the market and has an electronic governor that instantaneously reacts to control the revolutions per minute of the engine and subsequently the control of the attachment it is powering. This allows it to adjust automatically to the vegetation and terrain. It is also fitted with a full diagnostic capacity. The Bank Commander comes as standard with a 135cm scythe bar but can also be used with attachments for estate maintenance and snow clearing.

Carrier debut

Another implement carrier, the Agria 5900 Cyclone, from Agria Werke, will be making its IoG Saltex debut. With a choice of 18hp or 22hp B&S vanguard engines, this walking tractor features powered reverse, independent speed PTO, handlebar active steering and a safety valve to cut off all drive yet leave the engine running.

Hydrostatic transmission is a feature of the new SEP MGH800 Hydro two-wheel tractor launched by Bunce (Ashbury). Fitted with a Honda GX270 8hp engine, the unit has various applications from mowing to sweeping and snow blowing.

With 60 years of experience, Bunce also has a reputation for sweeping equipment. At IoG Saltex, the Wiltshire-based company plans to introduce a hydraulic sweeper that can be front- or rear-mounted onto agricultural tractors. As sales director Andrew Bunce advises: "When front mounting, it is possible to interchange our brush with a Bunce snowplough and it would be possible to convert from one to the other in just a few minutes."

Among the six launch machines promised by Wiedenmann is a high capacity collector — the Super 600. A step up from the Super 500, this latest model increases load capacity from 2,500 litres to a significant 4,500 litres. Like its smaller brother, the 600 combines flail mower, scarifier and sweeper into one machine, making it an attractive proposition for local authority users, sports grounds, meadows and golf courses.

Features include in-cab remote control to allow the operator to lift and lower the head and lift and empty the hopper. A high airflow ensures collected material is well compacted, while four 23x10.5 pneumatic tyres minimise pressure on the turf. In sweeper mode, the 600 has a fully floating head with 1.6m working width to collect leaves, litter and other debris.

Also launched in time for the autumn clean up, the Mega Twister is Wiedenmann’s quietest blower to date. With a 270° swivel action — 90° further than the current Whisper Twister — the machine allows the operator to control direction. At its heart, the "whisper" turbine provides an impressive airflow of 390cu m per minute at 50m per second.

Another flail/scarifier collector that will make its debut is the Trilo C15, with a working width of 1.5m, from The Grass Group. The compact multipurpose unit will work off 28hp tractors to cut and collect grass from rough or fine areas, scarify and collect leaves, moss, horse droppings and other debris.

Fitted with 3mm scarifying blades, the machine is said to leave a well-groomed finish while regenerating previously matted and stale ground. The 18 wind paddles fitted to the heavy-duty rotor are designed for thorough uptake of material into the 1.1cu m capacity hopper. Material is discharged by the cab-mounted single-acting hydraulic lever.

Vacuum options

If you prefer to vacuum, take a look at The Grass Group’s Trilo S3. This machine has a 1.5m width for work in those hard-to-reach areas where ground pressure and dimensions matter.

Weight is 1,200kg, so only a mid-range compact tractor of 28hp is required. To cope with the
amount of material collected in the 3cu m container, the machine features a 1.6m high-tip facility.

Shown by Schiller Groundscare, the latest version of the Little Wonder professional vacuum — the HPV — is expected to appeal to managers tending commercial sites, hotel grounds, car parks, residential areas, sports facilities, parks and gardens. It features a 43cm five-blade reverse-angle impeller and scrolled housing design, plus a top-loading 282-litre bag. Power is supplied by a 6.5hp Briggs & Stratton Vanguard engine.

Difficult weather conditions this year have caused problems for those charged with weed control. New solutions at IoG Saltex include a product that poses no danger to people, animals or the environment and can be used in any weather conditions. Developed and manufactured in the UK, Foamstream from WeedingTech has been used in agriculture and is now available as a financially viable non-toxic alternative for use in the amenity sector. It is said to kill weeds quickly using a combination of hot water, steam and a foam made from 100 per cent natural and renewable plant oils and sugars. It can be used safely around water courses, on roads and in populated areas.

Demountable sprayers

Having launched an amenity sprayer range last year, Kuhn will return to IoG Saltex with an extended offering that includes a compact demountable model for use with UTVs. Available with four-stroke engine or 12V electric pump, the Kuhn Elis can be specified with 200-, 300- or 400-litre tank and booms in formats of 2m, 3m or 4m. Automatic dose control is optional. Prices start from £1,987 + VAT.

More sprayers, suited to sports fields, paddocks, highway verges and golf courses, can be found on Martin Lishman’s stand. There are models with tank capacities from 50 litres to 600 litres, for use with ATVs, compact tractors and utility vehicles. According to Lishman, de-mountable sprayers — either 12V or engine powered — are becoming increasingly popular.
Some weeds require specialist attention. According to Japanese Knotweed Control, the non-native, invasive plant treatment market has changed dramatically in the seven years since it first exhibited at IoG Saltex. The company’s PR director Andrew Crosbie says: "There is now much greater customer awareness of the problem and, as a result, many more companies are offering treatment methods. But with this has come a proliferation of under-qualified and unregulated contractors that continue to undermine the industry’s reputation."

The company will attend IoG Saltex again to reassure potential customers that knotweed can be relatively easy and cost effective to manage, providing it is identified early and protection of the site and the work is carried out by responsible operatives. Among its recommendations is the need to check that companies are Amenity Assured and BACCS registered and that they hold ISO 9001 accreditation and NHSS Sector 18 for working on the highway. SAFEContractor accreditation is also recommended.

Improved workwear

Sharing the stand, Stem Injection Systems will have an improved range of equipment for contractors and grounds maintenance teams, including a dedicated pack containing a stem injection tool, standard and short needles, herbicide canister, calibration phial and Allen key, safety holster pack and storage box, plus service kit. An improved range of workwear will also be on show.

There will be more workwear on Rockcroft’s stand where the focus is on eye protection. Taking centre stage is Mesh Specs BX spectacle-type protection that will not fog up or scratch.
While at the show considering what machinery you need, you might also think about what you will drive next year. The range of commercial vehicles on display promises to be huge — Great Wall, Isuzu, Fiat, Mercedes Benz, Renault, Land Rover and Vauxhall to name a few.

Iveco will show the new Daily 35C15 Crew Cab with Ingimex tipper body, the Daily 4x4 50C17 with Neath Coachbuilders’ dropside body, and the Eurocargo 75E16 tipper. On the KFS stand there will be two examples of Plant & Go moving vehicles, while on the Goupil Industries stand, electric utility vehicles for city centre, park and campus duties will be on view. The new dual-mode electric-hybrid G5 should appeal to those who need a vehicle for town centre and suburban journeys.

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