What can visitors look forward to at this year’s action-packed Saltex?

Remote control: McConnel’s Robocut RC28 is designed for fine-turf applications - image: McConnel
Remote control: McConnel’s Robocut RC28 is designed for fine-turf applications - image: McConnel

Saltex is “arguably the industry’s showstopper event,” according to PSD Groundscare managing director Chris Gibson. The action-packed event for all grounds maintenance and landscape professionals is where you can listen and learn from industry leaders, stay up to date with the latest products, further your career with free advice, get expert help and connect with industry suppliers and partners.

Ride-on flail: the AS Motor AS1040 Yak - image: PSD Groundscare

Grass-cutting

With grass-cutting being one of the most frequent tasks in grounds maintenance, you can find plenty of mowers at Saltex— walk behind, ride-on, tractor-mounted, remote, robotic, rotary, cylinder and flail.

Safety while mowing banks causes much, concern but there are solutions. Agria UK, a new sister company to Wiedenmann UK, is introducing two hybrid remote-controlled rotary mulch mowers on stand D97. Both offer the German company’s Hybrid-Drive-Concept, described as more efficient and environmentally-friendly than hydraulic concepts. The Agria 9600, in working widths of 80cm and 112cm, has a low centre of gravity and rubber tracks to climb up 50° slopes. The Agria 9500 performs to 45°, has brushless motors, zero-turn capability and is 70cm wide.

Previewed at last year’s show, McConnel (A95) is now launching the Robocut RC28. Developed for fine-turf applications where a light footprint and minimal disturbance are paramount, it has fully proportional remote control up to 150m, a fuelled-up weight of 500kg, 110cm bidirectional mulching deck and ability to tackle slopes up to 55°. The tracked RC28 is GPS enabled and Autosteer ready, powered by a 28hp fuel-injected Vanguard engine and operates at speeds up to 7km/h.

Stepping up to the challenges of long grass and bank mowing, PSD Groundscare (G120) is showcasing the new Taurus two-wheel tractor from German manufacturer Koppl. With optional remote control, it can work on slopes up to 50°. There is also an opportunity to see the AS Motor AS1040 Yak ride-on flail mower, which features a flail rotor drive to diminish the need for path overlap and ups the work rate to 6,800sq m per hour to make it an efficient alternative to a rotary.

Belrobotics automated mower - image: AMS Robotics

AMS Robotics (A40) is putting the Belrobotics automated mower and ball collector through its paces. Suitable for driving ranges, par-three courses, parks and estates, the technology can be seen alongside the company’s ball wash and transportation system.

Battery is the key word with walk-behinds this year. Stihl (H70) is adding the RMA 765 V PRO cordless to its professional-range. It features a 63cm magnesium twin-bladed mowing deck, height-adjustable front wheels, zero-turn capability, variable speed, solid mono handlebar and 80-litre grass catcher.

Allett’s Uplift 86E 82V stadium mower is powered by four batteries - image: Allett Mowers

Allett Mowers is exhibiting its electric range in the Saltex Eco Village. The Uplift 86E 82V li-ion stadium mower is rotary and designed for debris collection after matches. It has contra-rotating blades, a vacuum and rear roller for striping. Cutting width is 86cm, with height of cut ranging from 20mm to 50mm. Power comes from four batteries, but it can work with just one. The batteries connect to a phone app via Bluetooth to check the charge. Recharge time is 90mins. The same batteries also work with the C34E walk-behind cylinder mower introduced last year.

Infinicut (H75) goes rotary at Saltex. The SM34 works both as a rotary mower and as a stand-alone vacuum. Front and rear rollers, the latter providing traction, ensure a striped finish. See it alongside Infinicut’s li-ion cylinder mowers.

John Deere (E80) is launching its first commercial electric battery-powered rotary mower. The PRO 43B, described as offering intuitive handling and operator comfort, is designed to enable professionals to mow smaller areas and clean up edges in public spaces without noise and fumes. It features a 43cm aluminium mower deck with steel reinforcement and alloy wheels, seven cutting heights from 22mm to 800mm set from a central lever, height-adjustable handlebar and 45-litre catcher. Overall weight is 32kg and it carries two 36V 6Ah batteries with a 140min charge for mowing 500sq m.

There is yet another new battery rotary walk-behind on the Makita stand (K190A). The twin 18V brushless DLM460 has a two-tooth blade for cutting and mulching, steel deck and 60-litre collection box. The blade starts cutting at 2,500rpm, speeds up on thicker grass and then returns to 2,500rpm as the grass becomes less dense.

If you are looking for battery but bigger, Overton UK (K50) is showing the Mean Green range of walk-behind, stand-on and zero-turn li-ion powered mowers.

A new zero-turn features on the Ariens stand (F41) (pictured above). The Zenith, alongside the IKON-X and APEX, is designed for professionals looking for day-long working, every day. Commercial-grade features include 152cm cutter deck, fast ground speed and steel frame supporting a folding rollover protection system. Following exceptional growth in demand for zero-turn mowers, production will shortly commence at the American firm’s Great Haseley factory in Oxfordshire.

Major Equipment (J112) is launching the 7.3m Swift tractor-trailed roller mower (above). Cotswold Turf Care contract groundsman Phil Cole has already been trialling it at Cirencester Park Polo Club. “The Major Swift is a great performer and always leaves an excellent finish,” he reports. “The front and rear rollers ensure we leave a level and striped finish at precisely the right height of cut, every time. It levels the ground back down to its original condition after we’ve had eight or 10 horses over the park.”

Made of high-strength Strenx steel, the Swift has no belts — just a heavy-duty driveline with a shear-bolt in the power take-off drive. “For a big machine, it’s very manoeuvrable,” says Cole. “It is also a very low consumer of power, therefore more economical with fuel, and the blades do a great job chopping the clippings and spreading them — they don’t take long to disappear and never leave a windrow.”

Goalposts

Net World Sports (C107), with customers including Manchester United FC and Oswestry School, is showing its Forza Alu110 goal with 360° wheels, the luxury portable Forza team shelter, Wembley wheel transfer line marker and the car-transportable Forza aluminium folding POD goals (above).

Turf care

You can find all the big names in turf care at Saltex this year — Campey, Toro, Sisis and Ransomes Jacobsen. Family-owned GKB (H51) is bringing an impressive line-up of kit, including brushing and cleaning equipment for artificial turf, tackling surface drainage issues, infill removal and spreading, while PSD Groundscare (G120) is showing the new Eliet self-propelled C550 scarifier with windrowing system for faster clean-up, a pedestrian seeder and the 60cm Turfaway 600 turf cutter for renovations.

Wiedenmann (A80) is displaying its 2.1m Terra Spike XD8 deep aerator, which combines speed with a working depth down to 275mm and brings a host of class-leading health and safety initiatives such as shock-absorbing and anti-vibration mechanisms. Even wider is the 3.5m bat-wing Terra Rake. Twice as big and twice as popular as the 1.7m model, it doubles output when it comes to scarifying, thatch removal and soil conditioning yet folds to a transportable size behind the cab.

For scarifying, fraise mowing, verticutting, sweeping and collecting, Wiedenmann offers the Super 500, and making a special appearance is sister product range the Groundpro Maredo MT200 series, notably the flex verticutter.

Aeration is also a theme for Charterhouse Turf Machinery (K70), displaying Verti-Drains and the OxyShot air-injection unit. Using a single 25mm probe, the OxyShot blasts air into the soil in four directions, at a pressure of up to 110psi and to a maximum depth of 500mm. Ideal for spot treatments on lawns, golf courses, in goalmouths and around trees, the wheeled machine is highly manoeuvrable.

Charterhouse also plans to show the new remodelled, leaves-no-drill-line, dimple-style Speed-Seed range in updated livery and with an extended range, now covering 1.1m, 1.5m, 2m and 2.3m working widths.

BLEC (M80) is highlighting the Turf-Seeder (above) in widths of 1.8m, 2.1m and 2.4m. This unit uses notched ring rollers to crush lumps, level soil and create pockets ready to receive the seed. It is adjustable between 5g and 50g per square metre, with seeds being incorporated into the top 12mm. Also look out for the new BLECavator 400HD, the latest addition heavy-duty stone-burier.

Shifting materials and tools around site is cleaner and quieter with battery-powered trucks. Overton (K50) has the 1m-wide Parker with 500kg carrying capacity and three-way tipping body, plus the Maestro MT15 road-legal two-seater truck capable of 110km on a single charge and top speed of 70km/h.

As well as turf maintenance kit, there are plenty of exhibitors offering fertilisers, seeds and chemicals. With winter approaching, DLF is returning to Saltex (J100) to talk about the importance of regular overseeding, highlighting its new turf-type tetraploids bred for rapid germination and establishment under low soil temperatures. The T4 tetraploids develop stronger and deeper roots and are incorporated into J 4Turf and J Rescue Stadia mixtures for football, rugby, golf tees, polo and racecourses.

To make overseeding more efficient and effective, DLF has teamed up with ForthRoots and is giving visitors the chance to win the new RyeSeeder and MultiTool.

Fertilisers feature on the Headland Amenity stand (G50), displaying the H-Cote Mini granular controlled-release range. Suitable for all coarse and close-mown turf situations, H-Cote offers longevity of three-to-four months thanks to high levels (70-91%) of controlled-release nitrogen. Two layers of coating — the first a thin polymer that covers the urea pill and the second a mix of sulphur and polymer wax — provide protection during transport and application.

Rigby Taylor (G60) is celebrating its 100th anniversary. On show is the next-generation robotic line marker — see it working in the outside area too — plus low-invasive drainage, Rain Bird irrigation systems and new autumn fertiliser, nematicide and fungicide programmes.

Tractors

One of the largest manufacturers of agricultural tractors attends Saltex this year. The range from the Argo Tractors Landini division (K120) )pictured above) extends to the highly sophisticated 225hp machines for tillage operations, but the focus will be the company’s smaller mechanical-drive tractors ranging from 54hp to 75hp plus the full-size mid-range tractors from 70hp to 113hp.

“These products are well suited to grounds care and turf applications thanks to a choice of specifications and features that enable buyers to find the best build for their needs,” says Argo Tractors UK and Ireland managing director Adrian Winnett. “You can go for a simple unit for light grounds maintenance duties or one with heavier-duty build and more comprehensive transmissions and implement drives.”

SAS Institute: Ventrac has replaced two other machines at Buckinghamshire estate

Founded by Rupert Price in January 2017, Ventrac tractor distributor has come a long way and is attending Saltex once again (B124). “We’ve had a fantastic journey in a short space of time,” says the company. “It’s been very hectic with demonstrations, roadshows and exhibitions to get 
the products in front of people, and it has certainly produced excellent sales for the business. We have increased sales, year-on-year, with most Ventracs being sold with multiple attachments.”

One Ventrac customer is the SAS Institute, based at a 110-acre estate near Marlow in Buckinghamshire, where landscaping manger George Reeder explains that the Ventrac has replaced two other machines. “We have purchased the tractor unit and three mowing decks for the estate duties,” he says. “The Contour deck produces great stripes and has now replaced our cylinder mower as well as an old ride-on. Rye stalks, which are problematic for a cylinder machine, are no longer an issue as it deals with them admirably.”

Powered outdoor tools

Aimed at professional contractors, three new models of 18V hedge trimmer can be seen on the Makita stand (K190A). Do not be put off by them being only 18V. These trimmers have robust build, high-output brushless motors and are said to outperform many higher-voltage equivalents. All are double-sided and have variable and constant speed control plus an electric brake. A reverse mode is designed to clear jammed material. Other features include five-position rear handle, soft start and, on one model, triple-edged teeth that are engineered to catch and firmly hold branches.

“With legislation surrounding emissions from petrol machinery, our cordless machines are an environmentally-friendly alternative that still offer the power and durability our customers expect. From a health and safety perspective they are also quieter, lower-vibration and mean trip hazards are greatly reduced,” says Makita UK marketing manager Kevin Brannigan.

Again focussing on batteries, Stihl (H70) is introducing the MSA 220 C-B chainsaw (above). The most powerful in the company’s cordless range, this saw is suitable for felling, snedding and firewood processing. It takes its energy from a 36V li-ion battery and comes as standard with the Stihl exclusive 3/8in Picco Super (PS3) full chisel saw chain with a 35cm guide bar.

Echo (F13) is also featuring chainsaws, including the lightweight and compact CS-2511WES with a dry weight of just 2.6kg but an output of 1.1kW. The company’s high-torque brushcutters, with a 1:2 gear reduction ratio to deliver 50% more torque at the cutting head compared with previous models, is also displayed.

Back to battery power again, the range of vacuum litter collectors being displayed by Overton (K50) features 50V li-ion batteries to give zero emissions and the low noise levels that are required for work around hospitals, schools, crematoriums and housing as well as in the high street. They can also be used indoors.

Not battery but with a 4-MIX engine, the new BR 800 C-E backpack blower from Stihl (H70) produces an impressive blowing force of 41N and has an 80cc engine that runs on a fuel-oil mix just like a two-stroke but offering the benefits of a four-stroke. It features a convenient side-mounted starting system that allows users to restart while wearing the blower.

Echo (F13) is launching its latest PB8010 backpack blower (above). Built for professional users, it has a 79.9cc two-stroke engine to provide an air speed of up to 211mph for heavy clean-up jobs and to clear rubbish from large spaces. It features a lightweight carbon-fibre frame with padded straps for all-day control and operator comfort.

Landscaping

With sustainability and ecology very much on today’s agenda, DLF (J100) has extended its Pro Flora wildflower range with the addition of three Colour Boost mixtures. Designed to deliver maximum colour, diversity and interest, the Colour Boost collection incorporates native wildflower and garden flowering species to deliver a dazzling floral display throughout the year while also providing food and shelter for a variety of wildlife.

Still with sustainability in mind, the message from Melcourt is clear: the future of British landscaping is peat-free. The company, exhibiting in the BALI zone, has an ever-widening range of products and has vastly expanded its stockist network. “The move towards peat-free landscaping is accelerating as the first of the Government’s deadlines for the elimination of peat use approaches,” says Melcourt managing director Andy Chalmers.

Melcourt’s range includes peat-free topsoils, composts, soil improvers and mulches, along with decorative aggregates. All are available from a nationwide network of landscape stockists and builders’ merchants — a network that has grown by almost 100 outlets in recent months.

One-stop shopping for everything from chainsaws to blowers, hand tools to wellies and gloves to grease, lubricants and chemicals is offered by Tudor Environmental (M90). This year, the company is showing its commitment to security and safety by hosting an additional stand (K189) at Saltex in partnership with secure storage specialist Armorgard.

Suitable for landscape businesses, the Ecogreen compact screener from King Feeders (H85) can be towed behind a 3.5-tonne capacity pickup and has a hopper with a steel feed conveyor, an aggressive drum for fast operation, a choice of engines and various meshes to separate different materials by size.

Chipping

Launched in the summer, the 37hp petrol and 25hp diesel EVO 165 machines are displayed by Greenmech (J52). But making its first public appearance is the tracked version. Evo comes in response to demands for aggressive torque, more powerful bite and greater throughput. Machines feature a heavy-duty flywheel for processing power, a one-piece fabricated chassis, central greasing and a new safety bar system to minimise nuisance tripping.

Timberwolf offers the option to extend standard three-year warranty to five across its range - image: © Joseph Casey Photography

There is more chipping news from Timberwolf (G70), which is introducing its option to extend the standard three-year warranty to five years across its entire range of woodchippers and shredders. Sales and marketing director Guy Marshlain explains: “After speaking with customers, we developed our new warranty option to provide complete peace of mind, extending our warranty cover for longer so customers can focus on their businesses, safe in the knowledge they won’t be facing unexpected repair costs.” 

RIPAGREEN: chemical-free weed control

Recognising the importance of integrated weed control, Kersten (stand G75) is launching Ripagreen. It is a high-velocity heating system, so chemical-free, and uses simple propane gas combustion alongside a natural air pressure differential effect (venture) to surround the weed and subject it to thermal damage.

The advantages are clear — no agri chemicals, usable in the rain, not affected by moderate winds and no specialist qualifications or licensing are required.

There are three styles available. The Easy Kit mounts a 13kg LPG cylinder to a trolley and application is by thermal lance. The Mobility Kit consists of a high-spec backpack to support the thermal lance and 5kg LPG cylinder. For vehicle mounting, there is the Autonomy Kit with 15m automatic hose reel and thermal lance.

POLARONE: spreader

Wessex International (K60) has chosen Saltex as the venue for the launch of Polar One (pictured above), a new range of salt and grit spreaders for winter maintenance.

Built in the UK, the 900- and 1,200-litre units have a self-supporting polypropylene hopper, integral liquid brine tank and stainless steel components and fixings with a powder coating for anti-corrosion.

The manual ST is a basic spreader without speed control or date logging. The GT model comes with GPS speed control to monitor changes in forward speed and spread widths for precise application and minimal wastage.

The Commander, the flagship model, has all the above plus full telematics to remotely monitor the salt spreader back at base and additional facilities such as route logging and reporting and ring-fencing for fleet and productivity management. Another feature of the PolarOne is the PolarFlo vibration system for consistent material flow.

Units will fit a wide range of vehicles and — with no engines, belts, chains or grease points — are low-maintenance.

SALTEX SHOW DETAILS

Where: Halls 6, 7 and 8, NEC, Birmingham B40 1NT
When: 30 October (9am-5pm) and 31 October (9am-4pm)
Website: www.iogsaltex.com


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