Every year, manufactures bring more technology to bear on new models. They are constantly innovating, with advances meant to make the job easier. While residential mowers get mainly comfort and ease-of-use upgrades for homeowners, commercial models are getting innovations that increase productivity. Here are some new innovations to look for on new commercial mowers this year.
Exmark: RED Onboard Intelligence Platform
Integrated with the Kohler EFI engine, this platform electronically controls the engine and the other aspects of the mower to provide efficient performance. It can sense conditions and automatically adjust engine speed and blade speed to cope with thicker or thinner grass. It can also sense abnormalities in the engine and warn the operator, automatically switching over into what they call “limp” mode and shutting down the blades while allowing the operator to get the mower back for repair. Best of all, this platform helps the mower to be efficient, saving up to 40 percent in fuel.
John Deere: Mulch-On-Demand
Providing the ability to change from a side-discharge deck to a mulching deck is an innovation that’s not common on mowers, and requires stopping the mower and modifying the deck – until now. John Deere’s new technology allows the operator to pull a lever and switch the deck from one to the other, even while on the move. This is great if you don’t want to mulch the entire lawn, but want to prevent discharge around certain features, such as a pool or storm drain.
Cub Cadet: Synchro Steer
Four wheel steering allows for the operator to get better maneuverability and better grip on slopes, so Cub Cadet’s Synchro Steer Technology will be great for those who have to mow on slopes constantly. Not only does it provide advanced maneuverability, it also means that all four wheels are turning and moving, which will be a bit easier on the turf.
While certain mower manufacturers have been using electronic fuel injection (EFI) for years – most notably, Walker – it has now become available in numerous brands. EFI engines have demonstrated the ability to save on fuel over the traditional carbureted mowers, up to 30 percent. An added plus is that, for those with fleets of mowers, some of these EFI engines can be coupled with computerized diagnostics for easy service. Finally EFI engines are even better for the environment – hey burn cleaner, creating less emissions.
These innovations are all fairly new and are still being developed, but you can bet they will arrive on residential mowers at some point, although not in their current forms. Some of them are still a bit expensive to be adapted to a unit that will only be used every other week or so, but it is only a matter of a few years until some of these innovations – particularly EFI engines – are ubiquitous.