Industry Innovations

The following are some of the latest products, solutions and innovations for the Green Industry.

 Altoz zero-turn mowers

The 2014 Altoz XC Z line of zero-turn mowers is comprised of high-performance commercial machines. Providing the foundation of this state-of-the-art lineup is the Aero Deck high-output system. Quality-engineered performance features maximum airflow from its design and Gator Mulcher G6 blades. The XC Z boasts a 19-mph top speed. It is complemented by a drive system and clutch that produces 250 foot-pounds of torque along with a heavy-duty deck, deck spindles, front forks and fork casters, as well as tapered wheel bearings. The XC Z line also features the SmarTrak Monitoring System with built-in maintenance reminders, a digital rpm gauge, alarm protection, and an on-board clock. The XC 720 Z, XC 610 Z and XC 540 Z are the premium models in the Altoz lineup. The Altoz XC Z commercial line of zero-turn mowers is joined by the XC S, XP S, and XP Z line of mowers.

 Ariens Auto-Turn steering technology

Ariens Company unveiled the industry’s first and only Auto-Turn steering technology exclusively for the company’s line of Sno-Thro snow blowers. “The revolutionary new Auto-Turn technology changes the snow removal experience without adjusting speed or engaging triggers or levers,” said Angela Raddant, snow product marketing manager for Ariens Company. “The technology is exclusively available on Ariens two-stage Sno-Thro equipment and enables operators to turn effortlessly without adjusting speed.” Auto-Turn steering technology makes snow removal easier, faster and more comfortable for the operator. The feature eliminates the need to take large loops during a turn, instead making even, tight turns from the center axis of the machine. Now, operators can avoid straining and pulling while initiating a turn, instead guiding the snow blower precisely and smoothly without adjusting speed. Auto-Turn increases efficiency and maneuverability, while decreasing operator fatigue and stress. Additionally, no manual adjustments are necessary to enable the Auto-Turn feature.

 Avidz BlueSpray

Avidz LLC launched a Web-enabled irrigation controller named BlueSpray. Designed to keep homeowners out of the garage, BlueSpray has no dial or buttons at all. Access is done via WiFi-enabled devices such as computer, tablet or smartphone. The user interface features a picture of the homeowner’s property with drag-and-drop zones, making it very easy to use and intuitive. BlueSpray offers unlimited programs, start times and seasons, which enables the user to configure a different watering schedule for each season — thus saving water. When it runs in “Internet” mode, the controller can get on the Internet through the homeowner’s WiFi network and access NOAA weather data to delay watering when rain is in the forecast or when it’s too cold or too windy. BlueSpray is available in 8 to 24 zones (residential) and can go up to as much as 128 zones for commercial installations.

 Bad Boy Buggies Ambush iS off-road utility vehicle

The Ambush iS off-road utility vehicle is manufactured by E-Z-Go, a division of Textron Inc., under its Bad Boy Buggies brand and product line. The Ambush iS offers a combination of range, power and silence. It features the flexibility to switch between independent gas and electric powertrains, the utility of Regen Mode to recharge the vehicle’s batteries on the fly, and the ability to engage both powertrains at once for 4-wheel-drive power. The Ambush iS has three distinct operating modes: rear-wheel-drive 2WD gas, front-wheel-drive 2WD electric, and 4WD with both gas and electric powertrains engaged. Operators can shift between the three modes using simple controls within easy reach on the vehicle’s dashboard. A proprietary onboard computer coordinates the operation of the Ambush’s dual powertrains, ensuring that the gas and electric systems work together for maximum power and efficiency.

 B3C Fuel Solutions premium 2-cycle oil
with Ethanol Shield fuel stabilizer

This ultra-synthetic blend 2-in-1 formula is a premium-quality 2-cycle oil with all the benefits of the Ethanol Shield Fuel Stabilizer. This OEM-tested, verified and approved 2-cycle oil provides customer convenience and savings with its new 2-in-1 formulation. Ethanol Shield 2-cycle oil is the “bridge” that bonds fuel, ethanol and water, preventing phase separation and the associated problems. This 1-gallon, 50:1 mix provides protection for any 2-cycle engine, including string trimmers, blowers, snowmobiles, chains saws, and more. Ethanol Shield 2-cycle oil provides 2 exceptional products at a cost comparable to “average” 2-cycle oils with the convenience of ease of use (no measuring, no need to add other additives).

 Barenbrug USA Barvette HGT Kentucky bluegrass


Kentucky bluegrass has proven to be the most versatile of the cool-season turf species. But like all things, nothing is perfect. Quick germination, rapid establishment and aggressive growth, traffic tolerance, wear recovery, performance in the transition zone, and the ability to “play the bully” are elusive traits for Kentucky blue. Barenbrug’s Barvette HGT Kentucky bluegrass has changed that. It exhibits all of these “elusive” traits and more. Remarkably resistant to the bane of Kentucky blue in the transition zone, Summer Patch, Barvette HGT also shows exceptionally high tolerance to billbugs and white grubs. With the completion of the Kentucky bluegrass 2005 NTEP study, in the five reporting locations of the Transition Zone, Barvette HGT finished either #1 or in the top statistical group in 16 measured traits. Once rarely considered, Barvette HGT provides a new turfgrass option — Kentucky bluegrass in the Heartland.

 Billy Goat SC180H hydrostatic-drive sod cutter

Billy Goat introduced the SC180H hydrostatic-drive sod cutter. Whether it’s a simple sod replacement or a larger turf removal project, the new SC180H takes sod cutting to the next level with reliability, simplicity, speed and precise-cut performance. The SC180H features the easy-to-use “Set and Forget” blade depth adjustment where users can simply adjust depth to 2.5 inches with a single lever from the operator station. The unit comes standard with a rear caster wheel for curved cuts that locks when straight cutting. And operators will appreciate the handle isolation mounts that absorb vibration and offer smooth, fatigue-free operation. The SC180H has a variable-speed hydrostatic drive that not only allows operators to tailor cutting speed according to the ground condition, but also allows the unit to be transported at 3.5 mph. The intuitive drive controls are comfortably under-mounted and include reverse at your fingertips.

 Briggs & Stratton 625ex Series engine

Briggs & Stratton introduced the 625ex Series engine, a 6.25 torque engine featuring the Briggs & Stratton proprietary Ready-Start starting system. This new engine rounds out the E-Series engine lineup. The 625ex Series engine offers easier starting with the ReadyStart starting system (no need to choke or prime, just pull the rope for power). It is lightweight and powerful, and provides a more comfortable mowing experience with reduced vibration and an improved sound level. The overhead-valve design lets the engine run cooler and cleaner. The 625ex Series is easy to maintain (check and change the air cleaner easily, no tools needed). The engine meets the new EPA Phase 3 emissions standards that are 35-percent stricter than the previous standards.

 Charter Software’s Aspen

Aspen software for equipment dealers was built using Microsoft.NET and SQL Server to offer users strong security, a reliable, manageable IT infrastructure, and ease of integration with other Microsoft applications. Aspen is reasonably priced and scalable to meet the needs of both multi- and single-store dealerships requiring more sophisticated functionality. Aspen’s similar look and feel to popular Microsoft programs allows for a smoother user transition than from text-based systems. Aspen offers highly configurable user settings to manage user roles and secure data. Use system settings to define customer data, pricing structures, chart of accounts and more. Access information from various Aspen components using mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and handheld scanner and data-collection units.

CORE Elite line

CORE Outdoor Power, manufacturer of GasLess outdoor power equipment for commercial users and the discerning homeowner, announced plans to expand its line to include new, higher-performance equipment called CORE Elite. The CORE Elite line features a string trimmer and handheld blower with more products being introduced down the road. Weighing only 11 pounds, the trimmer features run times of up to 90 minutes and the same powerful, noise-free operation as CORE’s original line. The new 9-pound blower clears up to 500 cubic feet per minute, producing winds of up to 120 miles per hour and will run longer than a tank of gas. Additionally, the products feature soft grip for increased durability and comfort. CORE technology works by embedding copper-etched conductors into a multi-layered circuit board stator, which, when coupled with permanent magnets, allows the products to produce high torque at extremely high efficiencies.

 Cub Cadet RZT S ZERO

The Cub Cadet RZT S ZERO is the world’s first and only fully electric-powered zero-turn riding mower with steering wheel control and four-wheel steering. Zero gas and oil means zero gas-related emissions and fumes. Mowing with the ZERO eliminates the need for one gallon of gas for every hour of use. The RZT S ZERO uses four 12-volt Absorption Glass Mat (AGM) batteries to eliminate maintenance, as well as avoid acid-associated risks. Other benefits include:

  • Increased efficiency: Power is not wasted in friction (from belts, chains or gear boxes).
  • Reduced noise: A direct-drive system has fewer parts that could vibrate, and the overall noise emission of the system is significantly lower.
  • * Longer lifetime: Fewer parts prone to wear and tear produced by aging of the component (such as stretched belts) or stress.
  • High torque at low rpm results in power to the wheels and deck anytime you need it.

 Cushman Hauler PRO turf utility vehicle released

Cushman introduced a fully electric Cushman Hauler PRO with a 72-volt AC drivetrain that provides the range and power once exclusive to gas-powered machines in a silent, zero-emissions vehicle. The new Hauler PRO features a 72-volt AC electric drivetrain, upgraded from more traditional 48-volt systems, that offers up to 50 miles of range between charges. The patented AC Drive technology also ensures that the Hauler maintains consistent power and performance from the first pre-dawn chores to the last light of dusk, without the noisy drone of a gas engine. The AC Drive technology is up to 25-percent more energy efficient than DC technology, and also provides for unique features such as regenerative braking that recharges the batteries whenever the vehicle’s brakes are applied and also speed control to maintain constant speeds up and down steep slopes. An optional limited-slip differential provides for greatly improved traction on wet or loose turf.

 Direct Mail 2.0

Direct Mail 2.0 (DM2.0) is a marketing system that seamlessly integrates the lead-generating power of direct mail with Google’s massive network of websites and automated online follow-up system. DM2.0 is a four-pronged approach to marketing:

  1. Postcards deliver your artfully designed and clearly written message right to your prospect’s mailbox.
  2. Direct Mail 2.0 tracks the mailing of your order. This allows you to know exactly when your cards are due to arrive in mailboxes and plan for the influx of new customers.
  3. Using the Google Display Network, text and image ads matching your campaign’s design and offer follow your website visitors around the Internet after they leave your site.
  4. Direct Mail 2.0 uses a unique phone number to track the number of calls your mailing generates. You can use this data to gauge the effectiveness of different strategies and marketing messages.

 Dixie Chopper XCaliber Twin

In 2013, Dixie Chopper launched the XCaliber Twin, which is powered by two 27-hp. Generac engines for 54 horsepower. The substantial amount of horsepower ensures that the blade tip speeds required to cut grass cleanly is achieved. The XCaliber Twin boasts the ability to operate one engine for light-duty manicured lawns, and the option to add the additional 27-hp. engine at anytime.

Echo CS-355T

Weighing 8 pounds, the Echo CS-355T chain saw has a 35.8-cc, commercial-grade, two-stroke engine that delivers 25-percent more power than the CS-360T. The chain saw features a palm rest that adjusts to three palm sizes, cut-outs on the dual-post chain brake handle, and a rear-mounted air filter.

 ETwater HermitCrab 2 with Flow Monitoring

HermitCrab 2 is a self-contained communication and control device that plugs into the remote control port of most major brands of controllers to provide all the benefits of an ETwater Smart irrigation management system without the cost involved in re-wiring an entire site. HermitCrab 2 connects wirelessly to ETwater Web servers to compute and implement ideal daily irrigation schedules to provide 20 to 50 percent in water savings. HermitCrab 2 has upgraded from 2G to 3G modems and networks, allowing for better coverage and signal strength. Also in this new generation, HermitCrab 2 adds the capability to monitor and manage flow, with reporting on learned flow rates per controller and per station. HermitCrab 2 customers can capture real-time data on breaks, leaks, blockages, and other events that cause high flow, with automatic shut-off for high-flow events.

Exmark RED technology

Exmark expanded the availability of its exclusive RED technology to Lazer Z X-Series models with 52-inch UltraCut Series 6 cutting decks. This allows landscape professionals to run the company’s most fuel-efficient, powerful engine package with a wider variety of deck options. RED technology enhances the efficiency of the Kohler EFI powerplant while delivering improved responsiveness and performance in a wide variety of cutting conditions. An electronic governor (E-gov) is a key to the system, as it offers a significant reduction in governor droop when compared to typical mechanical governors. The E-governor enables RED-equipped models to operate in a lower RPM range without sacrifice to blade tip speed or cut quality. This significantly enhances fuel economy — up to 40 percent compared to carbureted models, with improved responsiveness and performance. RED technology intelligently manages the engine and powertrain to deliver increased durability in the most demanding commercial applications.

Ferris IS 2100Z

The new Ferris IS 2100Z model lineup offers commercial cutters six units from which to choose so they can select the engine and deck choice that best meets their needs. The IS 2100Z is available in the following configurations:

  1. 26-gross-hp. Vanguard V-twin with 52-inch iCD cutting system
  2. 25.5-gross-hp. Kawasaki FX801V with 52-inch iCD cutting system
  3. 26-gross-hp. Vanguard V-twin with 61-inch iCD cutting system
  4. 25.5-gross-hp. Kawasaki FX801V with 61-inch iCD cutting system
  5. 32-gross-hp. Vanguard Big Block with 61-inch iCD cutting system
  6. 29-gross-hp. Kohler Command Pro EFI with 61-inch iCD cutting system

The Ferris iCD cutting system allows for superior airflow, discharge and quality of cut. All six models feature a commercial Hydro-Gear ZT-5400 powertrain engineered for performance and serviceability. All IS 2100Z models tout a Ferris suspension system featuring rear-coil-over shocks and front, adjustable shocks.

The free mulch app found at uses GPS technology to connect tree services to homeowners within their immediate working area who are looking for free wood chips. When a client calls multiple tree services to get on multiple lists, it wastes everyone’s time because only one tree service will fill that free mulch request. The first guy fills the order, and all the others have to waste their time and the client’s time calling to “check” if they still need mulch. The end result is that tree services are forced to drive further to dispose of chips. Client requests from multiple sites are automatically pinned to the free mulch map. When the truck fills up, with one click on an iPhone or Android, the tree service will see all the active mulch requests in that area. After contacting the client, the tree service simply updates the request status with one click (filled or not).

 Grasshopper EFI mowers

New Grasshopper EFI (electronic fuel injection) mowers feature Delphi-based, closed-loop EFI engines that monitor internal and external factors and make automatic adjustments to maintain an optimum fuel ratio and maximize power, decrease fuel use, and minimize harmful emissions. Automotive-style plug-in diagnostics facilitate faster and more precise service. Grasshopper EFI mowers also feature a horizontal crankshaft engine alignment and pressure lube system for cooler operation, decreased maintenance and longer service life, and hydrostatic pump-and-wheel-motor transmissions that deliver smooth response and require less maintenance with 1,000-hour fluid-change intervals and no break-in periods. Models 327 EFI and 727T EFI accept side-discharge cutting decks up to 72 inches, as well as dedicated rear-discharge decks and PowerVac collection systems.

 Gravely “high-hp.” model

Gravely announced the addition of a 35-hp. Kawasaki FX1000V engine option to its Pro-Turn Series of zero-turn mowers. This option will be available on the Pro-Turn 460 and 472 models. The Pro-Turn 400 zero-turn mower series is designed for maximum operator comfort and efficiency. The mower features an air suspension with added seat isolation to provide a smooth, comfortable ride for all-day operation. The air pressure can be adjusted with the touch of a button and comfort foam feels more like an office chair than a standard mower seat. The seat rides smoothly over rough terrain, allowing faster mowing speeds and increased productivity. A rubber isolated foot platform also minimizes vibration for a more comfortable ride. The seven-gauge fabricated and welded X-Factor deck features an all-new deck lift system. Minimal force is required to raise and lower the deck, reducing operator fatigue, especially for operators who manually float the deck over the terrain.

 Great States EarthWise lithium-powered professional handheld products

Great States Corporation is launching a new line of lithium-ion-powered products built powerful enough to fill a need in the market. This full product line provides dealers with a complete package to offer landscape contractors a solid solution to stocking trucks with products that are easy to use, low in noise, and high in productivity. The line will be offered with traditional brush-type motors and with the lightweight, brushless, high-torque motor that provides high performance without messy gas/oil mixture and universal on/off usage. At Great States, before each cell becomes a battery pack, it must go through five phases of sorting, inspection, measurement and testing: battery cell sorting, testing and verification; cell welding and data recording; inspection of chargers with charge cycle data collection and verification versus established tolerances; and battery and charger (charge and discharge cycles) testing with final 70-percent charge for optimal shipping and storage.

 Honda EB2000i generator

The Honda EB2000i is a 2,000-watt portable generator equipped with features vital to the industrial and construction generator market. Based on the consumer EU2000i generator model, the EB2000i maintains key performance attributes of the EU series unit while adding new design enhancements, such as a 120V/20A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacle, which provides greater flexibility for most work site applications. The EB2000i offers inverter power with a maximum output of 2,000 watts with Honda’s fuel-efficient Eco-Throttle. The Eco-Throttle feature allows the generator to conserve fuel by varying engine rpm to produce only the power required to operate the equipment.

 Husqvarna SmartSwitch

SmartSwitch by Husqvarna brings the convenience of one-touch starting, real-time feedback and “keyless” security to its line of riding mowers. SmartSwitch is a microprocessor-enabled electronic interface designed for use with Husqvarna’s exclusive Endurance Series engines featuring ReadyStart automatic choke systems. The feature will initially be available on select RZ series zero-turn mowers and GT series garden tractors. Key features include key-less operation, one-touch headlights, safer mowing in reverse, system monitoring, and clear feedback.

 Hustler Raptor SD

Hustler Turf Equipment recently expanded its Raptor family of residential products with the addition of the Raptor SD. The Raptor SD bridges the gap between the entry-level zero-turn and the prosumer zero-turn markets. With all the features of high-end markets, the Raptor SD also has the value pricing the customer wants. The Raptor SD is a low-profile, heavy-duty, premium residential zero-turn mower with a deep fabricated steel deck, tough front end with large 13 x 6.50 front tires, and exceptional control and handling. The Raptor SD also boasts a powerful Kawasaki engine.

 Hydro-Rain HRC 990 battery-powered controller with moisture sensor

The moisture sensor plug-in to the HRC 990 controller lets the water content for different soil types determine the watering schedule. This ensures more cost-effective and optimized water budgeting. Sensor and timer features a watertight plug-in system that requires no splices or wire connectors. Wire-free installation provides convenience and speed (3 AA alkaline batteries power the unit). Two independent programs offer flexibility previously available only in larger AC system controllers. Connection is compatible with multiple valve brands. The controller was designed to be modular to accept four DC solenoid modules (the moisture sensor plug-in is one of these). The unit postpones the regular watering schedule for 24, 48 and 72 hours, then resumes automatic watering when set time has passed. IP-68 rated to withstand long periods of immersion in up to 4 feet of water. All sensor and timer hardware/software is manufactured in strict accordance with ISO-9001 process control practices.

i-lighting iluma lighting

i-lighting introduced a new line of iluma under cabinet and rail lighting featuring the company’s proprietary “LED Lighting Simplified” connection technology. Each system’s Easy Plug micro connectors simply plug together to ensure easy installations, which can be achieved in half the time of traditional lighting and with near invisible results. iluma under cabinet lighting can be used both indoors and outdoors. It is available with either clear white or warm yellow LEDs and in stock lengths or customized lengths to meet contractor requirements. The iluma under cabinet lighting is also designed in 10-mm strips that make it ideal for task lighting applications performed on countertops or other work areas and 5-mm strips for placement as accent lighting on toe kicks, shelving, display cases and overhangs. iluma rail lighting works equally well with vinyl, aluminum, composite and wood railing, creating nearly invisible down-lighting effects.

 JCB 8026 CTS mini excavator

JCB’s 8026 CTS mini excavator is a machine offering strength, performance and durability in a compact package. The 2.7-ton 8026 provides a conventional tail swing (CTS) option that complements the similarly sized JCB 8025 zero tail swing (ZTS) excavator. The new 8026 features short pitch tracks and auto kick-down, with 11-percent increase in travel speed; new valve block with 17-percent lon

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