IoG Saltex Preview: Grounds maintenance

IoG Saltex is the place to see the latest kit for sweeping, vacuuming, brushing and blowing.

As deputy team leader of the horticulture team at ZSL London Zoo, Ben Camps' remit includes maintaining 36 acres (14.6ha) of open spaces and amenity areas, plus four acres (1.6ha) of car parks. For him, a visit to IoG Saltex is a must.

"We go very year and every time we find out about things we need – or may need," he says.

Tractors are a major feature at IoG Saltex, and this year even more so as companies show off their latest emissions-compliant technologies.

Despite being agricultural specification, the four new compact tractors added to Massey Ferguson's MF 1500 Series are aimed at landscapers, contractors and estate owners as well as nurserymen and smallholders. The "A" spec tractors are the 28hp MF 1529A, the 32hp MF 1532A, 38hp MF 1540A and the 46hp MF 1547A.

The two smaller models have nine forward and three reverse speed mechanical transmissions while the larger units have a 12 forward, 12 reverse synchro shuttle gearbox to allow changes between four gears in each of three sub-ranges as well as single-lever changes from forward to reverse and back.

All models come as standard with a forward-folding mid-rollbar, category 1 three-point linkage with draft and precision control, selectable four-wheel drive, rear differential lock and oil-immersed brakes. Also included is a clevis drawbar, 540/1,000rpm rear PTO and an external spool valve with the option to add another if required.

The latest technology to boost work rates and efficiency, alongside economical and versatile tractor power, is shown by New Holland in the form of the newly modified T1560 and T1570 tractors. Suitable for golf courses, landscape contractors and sports facilities, these machines feature three-cylinder Tier III diesel engines at 30hp and 33hp.

Despite their "economy" designation, New Holland has not scrimped on the specification of these units. The T1500 series includes four-wheel drive, power steering and a choice of 9x3 mechanical drive or three-speed hydrostatic transmission. Rear linkage capacity is 873kg and mid-PTOs can be found as standard on hydrostatic models.

If you are looking for more pulling power, check out the Boomer 3000 Series on New Holland's stand. These tractors span the 41hp to 51hp range and feature EasyDrive CVT transmission to provide up to 11 per cent more power at the PTO than on a hydrostat equivalent – making them good power units for equipment such as Verti-Drains.

New engines, a revised control layout and fresh styling make it worth the time to check out the latest version of the Landini Mistral compact tractor range at IoG Saltex.

Manufacturer Argo Tractors, based in Italy, produces about 3,000 tractors a year at its San Martino in Rio factory and machines and assembles all its own transmissions, hydraulics and axles, rather buying them in off the shelf. Latest versions sport new three- and four-cylinder "cleaner" Yanmar engines with power outputs of 35hp, 44hp, 49hp and 54hp. All four models can have either a 12x12 or 16x16 shuttle gearbox plus two-speed PTO providing settings for "power" and "economy".

"With implements that don't need a lot of power, the 'economy' PTO gearing allows the engine to be run at a lower speed to reduce both noise output and fuel consumption," explains AgriArgo UK distributor and Landini product specialist Eamon Howden. "A third setting relates the speed of the PTO to the forward speed of the tractor, which can be useful for a number of specialist turf-maintenance implements."

If you are looking for something bigger, stay on the Landini stand and check out the PowerMondial range. Targeted at contractors and direct labour organisations wanting a grounds-care or highways tractor, this series represents a step up from the established Landini Vision range in terms of power, performance, equipment and cab design. PowerMondial is available with 92hp, 102hp and 110hp outputs from the latest-spec Perkins four-cylinder engines.

PowerMondial also provides a MasterClass cab, a spacious four-post design previously reserved for the company's six-cylinder tractors. Describing the benefits, Howden says: "The cab provides roomy driver accommodation and storage, plus a clear view to either side thanks to the lack of 'B' pillars.

"It's a feature that also creates a light and airy working environment enhanced by Landini's trademark cab roof window."

You can expect auto climate-control air conditioning and an upholstered passenger seat with this one – but there's more. Howden says: "While this spec features a simple 15x15 synchro-shuttle gearbox, the TOP specification has the new T-Tronic creep transmission. With three change-on-the-go powershifts in each of the 12 speeds – giving a total of 48 ratios forward, 16 in reverse – this is a very productive design with the added convenience of power shuttle."

Also given the "cab makeover" experience is the McCormick CX. The specifications include the latest Tier III emissions-compliant four-cylinder Perkins engines with outputs of 83hp, 92hp and 102hp. "A new cab for the CX is one of several evolutionary updates that include 'greener' engines and twin-disc brakes to cope with bigger, heavier implements and trailed equipment," explains McCormick product specialist Paul Wade.

Where you need to travel on site, carry tools and fertilisers to work or simply nip from A to B as quickly as possible, a utility vehicle might provide a solution. And this year sees RECO enter the market with the Koiti Mechron. This is the first utility from the Korean manufacturer and initial indications are that it could be a winner. Pre-launch enquiries have already led Lely to double its initial stock order.

The Mechron offers selectable 4WD with a limited slip front differential plus the ability to lock the rear differential when ground conditions get tough. The machine has a top speed of 40km/h, hydraulic disc-brakes all round and a higher-than-average 300mm ground clearance. A high-sided tipping cargo bed boasts a 500kg capacity and the rear receiver hitch will tow 590kg.

For on- and off-road use, FoyeTech is launching the MultiHog – a self-propelled, diesel-powered, hydrostatically driven vehicle suited to grass cutting, road sweeping, snow blowing, snow ploughing and a host of other applications. Designer Jim McAdam says: "Its tilting driver station, wide wheel base and low centre of gravity make the MultiHog the vehicle to choose for operating on steep inclines and rough terrain, while its quick release mechanism makes changing attachments an effortless two-minute job."

If you need transport for on the road, take a look at the expanding product range shown by Brian James Trailers this year – all products signalling that the company is listening to its customers, as managing director Brandon James explains: "In the current climate, our customers want trailers to be lighter, work harder, last longer and be safer. We are using advanced design techniques to create products that deliver what customers want at a competitive price."

The line-up includes the CarGo CrossLoader that enables mowers and other machinery to be driven from ground level across the trailer and straight onto a flat-bed truck. There's also the CarGo Tipper – an electric hydraulic tipping trailer said to be balanced, light and smooth to tow – and the CarGo Shifter general-purpose trailer with a chassis designed for improved strength and towability. The Shifter has a novel tie-down system compatible with all types of hooks.

The very nature of the outdoor environment means that much grounds-care work involves the removal of clippings, trimmings, autumn leaves, litter and wind-blown debris. IoG Saltex is the perfect place to see the latest kit for sweeping, brushing, blowing and vacuuming. And this year we see a new entrant in the marketplace. Lloyds of Letchworth – well known for its Paladin mowers and Leda gangs – comes to the show to launch two new models from the Buffalo Turbine blower range.

The Cyclone PTO combines a lightweight, rigid, welded, tubular steel frame with a direct-drive gearbox to give what is believed to be the most powerful PTO-driven, turbine debris blower available in the UK. The Cyclone KB3 is also lightweight but is equipped with an electronically governed 23hp Kohler engine and is the first debris blower to use wireless nozzle and throttle control from a water-resistant handheld transmitter.

Designed for use on the golf course or in the city centre, two new hitch-mounted debris loaders are launched by Echo Bear Cat for the fast and easy removal of leaves and litter. These are one-man-operated units and are suited for use with either a pick-up or dump truck. Model DL8390 is powered by a 390cc Honda GX engine to produce suction of 66m3/min via a 405mm four-blade radial fan with 10mm-thick blades. The 3.6m flexible pick-up hose is fitted with a lightweight handle to allow the operator to direct the 200mm-diameter nozzle. Slightly larger, model DL10570 has a 570cc Briggs & Stratton V-Twin engine and is equipped with a 254mm-diameter nozzle for fast collection of debris.

Expecting a hard winter? Snow-clearing is a theme on several stands at IoG Saltex, so there should be no excuse for getting caught in a drift.

Winter clearance specialist Bunce of Ashbury is highlighting a new linkage system for its tractor-mounted snowploughs. The system enables the plough to be attached quickly and convert different makes of front-linkage agricultural tractors into floating snowploughs. Previously, moving snowploughs of one make or model of tractor to another necessitated bespoke brackets – costing time and money.

"The system allows the plough to be mounted in under two minutes and attaches to the range of Bunce SnoPro A or SnoPro B ploughs," says sales director Andrew Bunce. "It means that the plough can be easily transferred from one type of tractor to another without any additional costs."

Mowing by summer and snow clearing by winter is possible with new kit from Hayter. The year-round workhorse GM7200/7210 is a ride-on, zero-turn mower. In winter, with rubber tracks, a hard cab and a variety of attachments, the machine becomes a snow-clearing unit.

As synthetic surfaces become a more prominent feature in the life of grounds-care managers, so more equipment is becoming available to maintain such playing facilities. Artificial turf and hard-surface maintenance and restoration specialist Sweepfast is displaying two additions to its existing fleet of machinery. The Horger KBR is a purpose-built athletics track cleaner that uses a high-pressure washer and simultaneously collects the dirty waste water. It can be used on non-filled surfaces.

For filled surfaces, the company is launching a new Infill Sampling Kit to enable groundsmen to remove sand or rubber infill from the full depth of the carpet profile. Sweepfast then measures the amount of contamination present so that better-informed decisions can be made as to the facility's management and maintenance. It may be possible to test a sample from your carpet at the event – but as time is limited you need to call Sweepfast before the show on 01675 470770 to book a test.

Helping to extend the lifespan of expensive synthetic surfaces, while offering quality, hygienic playing conditions, Charterhouse has a full display of artificial surface maintenance equipment – including the latest Verti-Clean.

IN THE WORKSHOP

Barrus Industrial Division is highlighting the Yanmar MiniMax Series engine – to be known as the MM – as a diesel power solution for small agricultural machines and utility vehicles, lawn and garden equipment and compact generators. The first in the series is the 784cc three-cylinder 3TNM68, featuring Yanmar's proprietary indirect injection technology to achieve low fuel consumption and low emissions.

The latest model from the design board is the 3TNM72, a 903cc three-cylinder engine said to deliver 20 per cent more horsepower than similarly sized units.

Spill containment is one of the themes on Spaldings' stand. The new FlamSafe storage containers are available in a portable 75-litre version and a permanent-siting 200-litre model for the safe storage of flammable materials. The safes are constructed from heavy-gauge steel and have welded seams. They come complete with a padlock for contents security.

While you are on the stand, check out Spaldings' five-litre Flo-Control fuel can. Rising fuel costs and environmental concerns have been the driving forces behind the development of this design, which features an integrated spout, anti-spill button and dust-safety cap.

ONE TO WATCH

Need help with vibration calculations? Don't know how long you can use your kit? For tools and ride-on equipment, Fivesquared (a division of Earlsmere ID Systems) is launching Toolminder hand-arm and whole-body vibration management software.

The software is available in single- or multi-user versions to allow you to control and manage all your assets from one system. Grounds-sector data sets include Toro, Echo, Stihl, Ransomes, John Deere and many more.

SGM (UK) is offering the ToTm (Total Operator & Tool Management) hand and arm vibration management system to the grounds-care market. ToTm consists of a sensor – which is attached permanently to a tool – a programmer and a receiver.

TRIMMING NEEDS

Echo is launching the new 42.7cc SRM-410ESU brushcutter with Echo Power Boost two-stroke engine. Rochford GM is adding the 12hp Premier and 15hp DR-15-42 to its range of DR Field & Brush wheeled brushcutters.

Another alternative to handheld brushcutters is the StarStrimmer unveiled by Autoguide. Designed for use on the back of any small tractor between 30hp and 50hp, the machine can be driven down post lines to trim grass.

Turf Teq is expected to launch a brushcutter unit as an additional attachment for its wheeled tractor.

The Groundcleaner – a pram-wheel style of brushcutter with blade – is offered by Le-Monn for cutting tall grass, bracken, nettles and brambles at reported rates of up to 1.5 acres (0.6ha) per day.

WHAT ELSE TO SEE

Lambert & Dyson is attending IoG Saltex for the first time to exhibit a range of PTO-powered, high-pressure cleaning equipment and drain jetters, which can produce an output of up to 30 litres per minute at 3,000psi.

For cleaning debris and snow in parks, cemeteries, riding arenas and on pavements, the Tuchel Trac works with a range of attachments and will clean in corners and hard-to-reach areas.

The first of a new range of hydraulically driven, tractor-mounted rotary brooms is exhibited by Bunce of Ashbury. The front- or rear-linkage units can be supplied with or without collector box or water sprinkler system.

Feedback from customers has led EverEdge to develop a new sandy/soft soil anchor system that works in conjunction with the Classic 1m long x 1.6mm thick and the longer 2.5m x 2.5mm ProEdge products. It is made of recycled plastic and is available as an option.

The Rake 'N' Lift leaf rake range has grown with the addition of the leisure Leaf Eater and the Leafesaurus range. The company is also introducing Prairie Rakes for working in areas of long grass.

For hedgecutting, Kawasaki is introducing two long-reach, variable-position loop-handle hedge clippers with overall length options of up to 2m. For cleaning up afterwards, the company has added a handheld blower to its range.

Royal Parks and Sandringham Estate have successfully used Japanese Knotweed Control's (JKC's) stem-injection system after meeting the company at IoG Saltex. This year, JKC highlights more success stories and shows how the system can be used for other invasive weeds.


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