Rural Lifestyle Dealer editors canvassed more than 850 exhibits at GIE+Expo to find this Top 7 list of newsmakers, which includes product introductions from Briggs & Stratton, Cub Cadet, Delta Systems, Greenworks Commercial, Kubota, Mean Green and Toro.
Kubota SZ Commercial Stand-on Mower
Kubota Tractor is expanding its offering for the commercial market and has not enter the stand-on mower category with its SZ series. Kubota’s SZ Series is comprised of three models, including the SZ19-36, SZ22-48 and the SZ26-52. The new stand-on mowers are designed for landscapers that mow zero lot homes or commercial properties with narrow lawns that can’t be mowed with zero turn mowers. The SZ Series mowers are equipped with Kawasaki FX and FT Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) commercial engines and hydro- gear transmissions and are designed with a low center of gravity for exceptional stability and fast travel speeds, up to 11 miles per hour. “The new SZ mowers feature generous operator platform that you can stand on, or flip up to walk behind in uneven terrain, giving these mowers optimal versatility,” says Tom Vachal, Kubota senior turf product manager. Read more about Kubota's SZ Series >>
Cub Cadet Slope Mower
Cub Cadet is enhancing its steering wheel advantage and adding dual rear wheels and other functionality in its 972 SD slope mower. The mower is an expansion of its Pro Z series, which was launched in 2016. The mower has a 72-inch deck, a 35 horsepower Kawasaki engine, 12 volt outlet kit, electronic power deck lit, weighted front rims and can handle slopes up to 25 degrees. “The steering wheel technology provides control of the front wheels and linkage ties the front back to the transmission and then drives the back wheels. The 972 SD fits the need for slope and manicured lawns,” says Aaron Griffith, Cub
Delta Systems 'Tech UTV'
Delta Systems, a developer of electronic component solutions for OEMs, showed off its Tech UTV, equipped with “Next Gen UX” — next generation user experience functionality. The prototype functionality includes object detection, rear back up camera, advanced touch screen display, push button start, wireless winch control and power inverter. “Customers are demanding the functionality that they use in their cars. They want to have the same usability in their UTVs,” says Bill Michaels, vice president of sales and marketing for Delta Systems.
The company gathers user feedback at the show to fine tune the functionality, with the goals of having it integrated into models displayed in fall 2019. Read more about Tech UTV here >>
Electrification & 'Connectedness' Trends
The trend toward battery power is now solidly mainstream with companies like Briggs & Stratton and STIHL expanding their development in the technology. Todd Teske from Briggs & Stratton, which has been making gasoline-powered engines for more than 100 years, says, “It’s much more than taking a battery and applying it to a piece of equipment. It’s things like the battery management system and motor controllers and that’s what we’re really good at. We’re not just an engine company; we’re a power application company, says Todd Teske, Briggs & Stratton’s CEO, president and chairman.
The company also showed off new enhancements for the InfoHub fleet monitoring system, including monitoring of diesel engines and a version for outdoor power equipment dealers to monitor rental and demo equipment. Watch video coverage here >>
Bjoern Fischer, president of STIHL Inc., says, “A lot of development is happening in the digitization space and products being connected. The field of robotic mowers is just in its beginnings.” The LTE model of its iMow robotic mower, which was introduced last year, adds enhanced coverage and control for a smart phone. Read more about STIHL's iMow >>
Greenworks Commercial Stealth UTV
Greenworks Commercial is introducing its Stealth series of 13.8 kilowatt lithium-ion powered utility vehicles. The UTV can travel up to 35 mph and up to 90 miles of use with an overnight charge. The Stealth has 10 inches of ground clearance, 1,250-pound towing capacity and 500 pounds of cargo capacity. “Quiet is the key selling piece — quiet for hunters to go in and out without disturbing the environment,” says Chad Bishop, product manager. Watch video coverage here >>
Mean Green's Evolution Commercial Zero-Turn
Mean Green’s latest introduction is the Evolution series, 72-inch electric commercial zero-turn mower with a 72-inch deck, top speed of 14 mph and a peak of 36 horsepower. It provides 5-10 hours of mow time, depending on the number of batteries used and a recharge time of 6-12 hours. “The 45 kilowatt battery pack is comparable to what’s used in a Tesla Model 3. The Evolution competes against diesel mower and is priced competitively,” says Matt Foster of Mean Green Mowers. The company was just granted a patent for technology used in its commercial electric ride-on zero-turn mower.
Toro's HoverPro Mower
Toro has brought over its HoverPro hover mower from Spellbrook, England, as a new specialty offering for the landscape contractor market. The slope mower comes in deck sizes of 16, 18 and 21 inches and can cut slopes with angles up to 45 degrees. The wheel-less mower uses airflow technology to raise the machine for cutting heights of about 3 inches. The models are powered by 57cc Honda engines and include a wheeled transport kit. “We’ve seen a need from contractors to mower in areas such as around retention ponds,” says Chris Vogtman, marketing manager with Toro’s landscape contractor division. Read more about the Toro HoverPro Mower >>