IoG Saltex Preview - Grounds care

Petrol, battery and electric power tools for all sectors will be one of the main focuses at IoG Saltex 2013, reports Sally Drury.

Wessex ProLine RMX-560: the triple-deck, wide-area mower offers cost efficiency and leaves a finish that matches a cylinder’s - image: Broadwood International
Wessex ProLine RMX-560: the triple-deck, wide-area mower offers cost efficiency and leaves a finish that matches a cylinder’s - image: Broadwood International

Power tools - petrol, electric and battery - will dominate at this year's show, with equipment on offer covering all sectors. Battery power provides several benefits, including low noise, reduced vibration levels and no emissions. The Husqvarna professional battery series provides up to 35 minutes of continuous operation from a single charge of the Li-ion battery, while the saveE energy-saving mode optimises the run time to get the most out of every charge.

The series already features 20m/s chainsaws and heavy-duty commercial grass trimmers with two-way rotation of the mowing head. Husqvarna has now introduced backpack battery models for those who want to work all day without recharging.

The Husqvarna BLi 520X and BLi 940X are described as high-performance 36V Li-ion batteries. The BLi 520X has 520Wh of energy, a capacity of 14,4Ah and a charging time of 130 minutes. It weighs 5.9kg. For all-day operation, the BLi 940X boasts energy of 940Wh, a 26,1Ah battery capacity, a charging time of 235 minutes and a weight of 6.7kg.

Also new for 2014 is a professional battery hedge trimmer with a pivoting rear handle, cutting length of 60cm and a tooth opening of 30mm. It will be on show for the first time at IoG Saltex.

STIHL has introduced more advanced engine technologies into its product line-up this year and entered two new product groups to make outdoor professionals' tasks quicker and more efficient. Visitors to IoG Saltex can view an extended range of quiet, cordless power tools, a new backpack battery and advanced chainsaws, as well as more hard-working products for brushcutters. A new range of floor sweepers has also arrived this year, plus tools for construction and hard landscaping, including a world first - a two-stroke engine with electronic fuel injection that drives a cut-off saw.

Anyone clearing tough weeds from verges and embankments should welcome STIHL's new backpack brushcutter. The FR 460 TC-EM is the first backpack model to feature the M-Tronic self-tuning engine, making it easy to use and maintain. Its DuoCut mowing heads, which are compatible with all of STIHL's 28 petrol-powered brushcutters, allow the simple insertion of pre-cut lengths of line. The company has also added the FS PROTECT brushcutter trousers to its range. These tough yet breathable trousers provide extra impact protection to the lower leg.

Husqvarna has introduced a range of low-weight, 25cc trimmers and brushcutters aimed at the commercial landscaping and grounds care markets. "Commercial operators need products that not only deliver high work rates and quality finishing, but wherever possible can reduce costly man hours and maximise profitability," says commercial landscaping and groundcare manager Kevin Ashmore.

Featuring a 25cc two-stroke X-Torq engine, these machines focus on being easy to manoeuvre.

The 525LK Combi Unit and 525RJX feature a loop handle and SmartStart. The 525RXT, weighing 5.4kg, comes with comfort handlebars, T35X line head, grass blade and Balance 55 harness.

A new entrant to the power-tools market, Hyundai Power Equipment, makes its first appearance at IoG Saltex with a range suited to estate and amenity use. The line-up encompasses lawnmowers and string trimmers, a multi-tool and a pair of brushcutters. Chainsaws, a petrol-engined hedge trimmer, backpack blowers, a handheld blower/vac and three pressure washers join the Genpower generator units for which Hyundai is already known.

"The move into the wider garden, estate and professional grounds-maintenance sector is an exciting and important step for Genpower and for Hyundai Power Equipment in the UK and Ireland," says managing director Roland Llewellin. The company has secured the knowledge and expertise of Mark Osborne as head of sales and marketing.

Makita has introduced a four-stroke, 43cc brushcutter for all-day work with right/left vibration figures of 2.1m/s2 and 2.0m/s2. The benefits include cost savings, less environmental impact and increased user comfort. The engine delivers 2hp at 7,000rpm to drive the cutter head. The machine weighs 8.6kg and is supplied with a full professional harness that includes a rigid back-spreader plate and wide belt.

With the environment in mind, Tracmaster is showcasing BIOFIL cutting wire, along with CAMON brushcutters. The eight trimmer models include a backpack, plus two Combi versions and new hedge trimmers, all with enlarged fuel tank openings. The wire is 100 per cent biodegradable.

For a spate of introductions and updates, visitors to IoG Saltex should head for Emak's stand, where there are new 22cc and 35cc brushcutters, and additions to the hedge trimmer and chainsaw ranges. Seven lawnmowers join the line-up, as well as a mulching 4x4 lawn tractor.

Attending IoG Saltex on Lely's Partners in Turfcare stand, Solo is aiming to attract more UK dealers. Manufactured in Germany, the Solo brand includes chainsaws, sprayers, brushcutters, hedge trimmers, blowers and safety clothing.

As grass cutting is a major part of grounds maintenance, visitors to IoG Saltex can expect to see a wealth of machinery for mowing lawns, roadside verges, green spaces and sports fields. For grass areas up to 3,000sq m, Tracmaster is introducing a range of seven rotaries suited to professional use. Viking, meanwhile, joins STIHL in introducing two dedicated mulch mowers. Awarded the Nordic Svanen ecolabel, Viking's mulch mowers boast low emissions and fuel economy.

The top-range MF 4 RTP has a 53cm cutting width and single-speed drive. Vibration recordings of 2.4m/s2 allow contractors to mow all day.

For areas up to 8,000sq m, Viking is unveiling two side-discharge lawn tractors with cutting widths of 95cm and 110cm respectively. One of their major features is a 70cm turning circle.

As well as the SWZ walk-behind range from SCAG, the SWZT will be unveiled by Simon Tullett Machinery. It features a different handlebar control format, a suspended deck and hydrostatic wheel drive. The zero-turn machine can be fitted with 92cm or 122cm cutting decks, and offers cutting heights from 4cm to 11.5cm in 6mm increments.

Complementing its SCAG, Humus and RoboFlail products, Simon Tullett Machinery is also displaying the new Pirana cut-and-collect unit. This 21hp, diesel-powered machine operates hydrostatically, has power steering and gives a 122cm cutting width using twin blades with an 80mm overlap. Clippings can be exhausted through the tunnel or collected in the optional 600-litre, high-dump collector.

Two of the most commercially focused machines in the commercial landscaping and grounds care range from Husqvarna, the P520D and P525D diesel front mowers, have been designed for manoeuvrability and productivity in complex and narrow environments. Running on Kubota engines, the mowers offer traction and stability, thanks to an all-wheel-drive system, and should appeal to contractors, councils and housing agencies that require optimal trimming ability under benches, bushes and around trees. Attachments such as a utility bucket, broom, snowplough, flail mower and cabin turn the machines into year-round workers.

Due to their low-maintenance requirements and ability to cope with longer, heavier grass conditions, roller mowers are proving popular in contracting and amenity environments. Roller mowers can be seen on various stands at the show. Broadwood International will be exhibiting the 5.6m Wessex ProLine RMX-560 and 6.8m RMX-680, which should attract the attention of councils, contractors and sports complexes. The triple-deck, wide-area mowers offer cost efficiency and produce a finish that matches that of a cylinder.

Now made and supported in the UK, a British-built Pegasus wide-area roller mower comes to IoG Saltex as a further example of Trimax's commitment to investing in manufacturing on this side of the globe. Previously manufactured solely in New Zealand, Pegasus is the company's best-selling mower worldwide and joins the FlailDek FX out-front mower deck, which has been built in Britain since spring 2012. Also on show will be the Trimax Striker multi-spindled rotary mower and the new hydraulic drive FlailDek for the Toro GM3400.

In the Progressive corner of The Grass Group stand, the Pro-Flex 120B has been redesigned to achieve lower cost operation.

This contour mower has a 3.05m cutting width and is now equipped with rubber-damped, automatic belt tensioners, plus maintenance-free bushings, to offer cost savings. The modifications eliminate 25 per cent of the grease points compared with previous models, and ensure that routine servicing is faster and easier. The Pro Lift-N-Turn system speeds the process up by allowing the operator to temporarily raise the decks slightly off the ground without stopping, while the PTO is still engaged.

In a complete product update from Spearhead Machinery, the Trident flail mower range is now lighter in weight but more robust than it was originally. With cutting widths from 4m to 6m, the units fold hydraulically to give a 2.5m width for transportation. Cutting heights are adjustable from 10mm to 100mm. A choice of flails includes C, J, boot or back-to-backs.

Visitors to IoG Saltex who are looking to improve on-site transport will find several companies showing quad bikes and utility vehicles. Likely to appeal to those who want more from an off-road vehicle, Polaris is exhibiting the world's first purpose-built, side-by-side utility with front-end PTO. Based on the Ranger, the new Brutus comprises three models: Brutus, Brutus HD and Brutus HD PTO. The range is engineered for individuals needing durable, all-round task vehicles.

The Pro-Tach attachment system, which is standard on the HD and HD PTO models, allows the user to quickly switch between attachments. On the HD PTO, productivity is boosted further by the front-end PTO system that draws power directly from the vehicle's 24hp diesel engine to work a sweeper, out-front commercial rotary or snow blower.

Easily adapted for a multitude of applications in green spaces, waste collection, universities, hotel complexes, estates and leisure parks, two versions of the MEGA e-Worker will be on display at IoG Saltex. Distributed in the UK by Ransomes Jacobsen, the e-Worker will carry loads and tow, while boasting a tight turning circle and compact external dimensions that make it easily manoeuvrable.

Two new vehicles will be unveiled on Ransomes Jacobsen's stand. The E-Z-GO TXT 48 golf car has a new look, while the versatile Cushman 1600XD-R utility combines four-wheel drive capability with a 22hp, three-cylinder diesel engine that can handle large tasks on tough terrain.

Joining forces with two of its dealer partners, George Browns and Lister Wilder, Kubota is showcasing a range of tractors and groundcare solutions, including the recently launched RTV400Ci utility vehicle and the M6060 mid-range tractor.

Finally, visitors in search of technology will find it on Ian Gower Associates' stand in the form of an iPhone app for knapsack sprayer calibration. It is available for 99p from the Apple app store. Android and Windows versions are in development, with tractor calibration apps to follow.

Seasonal work

Schiller will showcase the Little Wonder Advanced Performance Vacuum, which can help with autumn clearance, as well as collecting litter. Suited to use in industrial and residential areas, commercial sites and car parks, the new APV vac is based on the Little Wonder HPV and is self-propelled.

SCAG has taken on the manufacture of a range of blowers and vacuums. Among those being exhibited by distributor Simon Tullett Machinery, the SCAG Giant-Vac YV garden vacuum has a 5.5hp motor, 65cm intake and 280-litre bag.

There will be more vacuums on Henton & Chattell's stand, as the company announces the distributorship for its Billy Goat machines.

With managers and contractors turning their attention to keeping facilities open year round, Broadwood International will illustrate how planning ahead can pay dividends when it comes to clearing snow and ice. Focusing on SnowEx VSS liquid de-icers, the company is also exhibiting machines to tackle wintry deposits. Walk-behind pedestrian models, the 2,300-litre capacity V-Maxx SP-9300 and trailer-mounted and vehicle-mounting spreaders will be on show.

Taking less than a minute to mount on to a vehicle, the Meyer DrivePro snowplough will be exhibited by Kersten UK, alongside the LPC in-body spreader, which can fit on to the back of the RTV and spread top-dressing material, fertilisers or salt. As liquid de-icers continue to gain in popularity, the company is introducing the Meyer Anti-Icer range.

New tractors to be showcased

A new addition to machinery distributor Lely UK's portfolio, TYM tractors can be viewed under the Partners in Turfcare banner. The tractors benefit from four-cylinder diesel engines designed to maximise efficiency and a heavy-duty, four-wheel drive front axle to offer greater traction where needed.

Pushing the power levels higher, the new Iseki TJA 8080 and 8100 are suited to landscape and grounds care contractors, farmers and local authorities. The tractors are rated 80hp and 100hp respectively, and will be introduced at IoG Saltex by Ransomes Jacobsen.

Compact and articulated, the Steiner 440 four-wheel drive tractor enters the UK market at IoG Saltex. Steiner tractors are suited to grounds care and landscaping, using a wide range of attachments to mow, tow, clear snow or sweep. It will be displayed on Schiller's stand.

Visitors to the show will also enjoy the first view of Rapid Tractors' new model. The Orbito sits at the top of the range and introduces new steering and a zero-turn axle. Rapid has also secured an agreement with Italian manufacturer Fort, whose range includes two-wheel tractors, cultivators, flail mowers and tracked transporters.

SCH (Supplies) will unveil the Wild Flower Collector, a top dresser and water unit that could appeal to growers, landscapers and grounds-maintenance staff.

Farol will showcase the John Deere contractors' tractor, which has a front-mounted flail mower and rear-mounted hedge cutter. A Gator fitted with snow-clearing equipment will also be on display. The stand will also showcase John Deere collectables, clothes and gifts.

Schiller will introduce a new Little Wonder outfront, hydrostatic, rotary brushcutter. It can tackle weeds, heavy brush and vegetation.

Ransomes Jacobsen is launching the Mini II, a smaller version of its Spider remote-controlled bank mower.

Entering the floor-sweeper market this year, STIHL will show three models for indoor or outdoor use. With one "push-to-sweep" and two battery options, they sweep about six times faster than a conventional broom.

A range of professional ride-on brushcutters will be launched by FGM Claymore.

Simon Tullett Machinery will unveil a third remote-controlled mower. The Robo Vario Plus has a mounting frame that allows a range of units to be affixed - flail, snow blade, cutterbar or bandrake - in a fixed or floating position.

Redesigned for 2013, the Viking 4 Series lawn mower range is a winner of the Universal Design Award. It provides 41cm or 46cm cuts with the capability of collecting or mulching.

The Trilo B7 three-point-hitch blower from The Grass Group can be used by any compact tractor to clear leaves, standing water or debris.

The Billy Goat brush mower is one of 19 new models on Henton & Chattell's stand.

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