Civiline Specialist Commercial Mowers for Contractors, Councils, Public Works, Defence applications.

Civiline Specialist Commercial Mowers

Technology Roadmap


Technology Roadmap

INTRODUCTION TO MOWING TECHNOLOGY ROADMAP

For over 20 years, Inlon has been distributing commercial mowing machinery. When introduced to the Spider remote-controlled 4-wheel drive mower in 2006, we recognised the potential, seized the opportunity to distribute it nationally. This started a 13-year journey in understanding how innovative technology could solve many common and emerging mowing tasks with improved safety and productivity.

BEST MOWER FOR EACH SITUATION

Progressively, as new technology came to market, we recognised each offered advantages and benefits in differing situations. We saw the need to develop a “Roadmap” to navigate the range of technology; a Roadmap for mowing contractors to identify the best mower for their commercial mowing situation.

MOWING SITUATIONS/CONDITIONS IN THE ROADMAP

In the Roadmap, we define a range of mowing situations, from the simple and common, through increasing difficulty and specialist niches, to the extreme of mowing and land clearing applications. Choosing the best commercial mower will depend which conditions are mostly faced, ranging from flat lawns to slopes and heavy scrub and tree encroachment.

Lawns

The mowing of conventional residential and small commercial lawns is a well-established market with a wide range of solutions. The Roadmap does not focus on this segment.

Fields, parks, grounds

Mowing of large grassed areas such as sports fields, parks and gardens and commercial properties is dominated by the productivity of zero-turn mowers. Specialist applications such as, for example golf courses, have specialist wing mowers etc. These situations are generally flat smooth terrain, level and routinely mowed for a well-kept lawn finish. Zero-turn mowers are limited in the gradient of slope that they can safely mow and in some situations, there is a need for commercial mowers to handle mild angles up to 15 degrees.

Engineered slopes

These slopes typically serve an engineered purposed such as a dam wall, roadside embankment, levee bank, drainage infrastructure and revetments, or to provide an aesthetic finish to an excavated area for buildings. These slopes must be maintained to prevent erosion, maintain slope integrity, manage fire hazard or simply present well to the public.

Left unmaintained, such slopes develop annual weed growth, which shadows healthy grass growth and eventually exposes soil to erosion. Rutting from wheel tracks also creates erosion and so minimised soil disturbance is important. Slopes can reach up to 50 degrees and specialist commercial mowers are required to maintain these slopes. The critical risk is rollover of equipment with personnel. Traditionally maintained by gangs with brushcutters, the workplace safety from slips and falls, and productivity are key issues.

Natural slopes (Unengineered)

Natural slopes are most often not engineered for a purpose. The terrain is typically uneven and rutted with slopes reaching up to 50 degrees. Left unmaintained, they create a significant fire hazard, especially when located near residential or commercial areas, or infrastructure, for example under powerlines, pipelines etc. Some areas need to be maintained to manage noxious weeds. Typically cut once per year, the vegetation can be heavy but is largely limited to large weeds and small self-seeded shrubs and saplings.

Scrub clearing

Similar to the terrain characteristics of natural slopes, these areas are typically cut once for a project or very infrequently (every few years) with heavier vegetation needing machinery able to cut and mulch dense vegetation, large shrubs and small trees.

Roadside tree encroachment and canopy management

Tree vegetation alongside roads grows and encroaches on the road corridor. Annually, such areas are cut back (cutting material well off the ground) but also require some cutting of ground growth. Unless multiple passes are made with different commercial mowers, a machine capable of cutting on the ground as well as off the ground is used. Heavy and large machines are required to do this work and although the areas are accessible by vehicles being adjacent to roadways and tracks, this limits the distance from the access that this work can be undertaken.

PRODUCTIVITY WITH DIFFERENT TYPES OF COMMERCIAL MOWER

Productivity is the universal issue in commercial mowing. The vertical scale of the Roadmap represents each commercial mowing technology with a shape that reflects the range of its capabilities across the corresponding mowing situations. The greater productivity in that situation, the further up the scale the envelope is positioned. The Roadmap will help you choose the best commercial mowing technology for your situation.

Zero-turn Mowers

Zero-turn mowers are the productivity kings in the flat grassed areas, but they become unsafe in sloped areas, no matter how flat and smooth the terrain. Turning on slopes with zero-turn mowers is unstable and creates loss of control and rollover risks.

4-wheel Drive Mowers

Four-wheel drive mowers are the most productive technology to mow smooth terrain slopes up to 50 degrees with a substantial coverage of vegetation. An underbelly mowing deck eliminates the need to turn around on every pass, further improving productivity. However, the terrain needs to be flat relative to the wheel diameter of the mower and heavily rutted ground is not suitable. On routinely maintained slopes with suitable terrain conditions, 4-wheel mowers are the best mowers for productivity.

Light Track Mowers

A new category of commercial mower, the light track mower handles heavily rutted and uneven terrain that a 4-wheel drive mower cannot. The large footprint of the tracks creates light ground pressure and creates a high level of traction to handle steep slopes up to 50 degrees. The light-weight mower design allows turning on slopes without causing soil disturbance that could eventually cause erosion. Tracked mowers are generally slower than wheeled mowers; however, an underbelly mowing deck, rather than out-front mulcher, eliminates the need to turn around, improving productivity and reducing soil disturbance.

Heavy-Duty Track Mowers

Heavy-duty track mowers have the weight, stability and strength to handle heavy flail cutting heads. This enables the operation of forestry mulcher heads to cut shrubs, trees and heavy vegetation that’s not possible with a deck mower. The out-front cutting device requires heavy tracked mowers to be turned around on each pass. The size, weight and long wheel base of heavy tracked mowers creates manoeuvrability issues that must be considered.

Brushcutters

The brushcutter is a universal grass and vegetation cutting tool, and it is essential for small pockets and tidy up tasks. But it is unproductive for large areas undertaken with gangs of personnel with brushcutters further increasing the workplace safety risks. The manual handling, fatigue, risk of slips and falls, especially when working on slopes, all compel towards safer and more productive methods.

Reach Mowers

The reach mower, or arm mower, mounted onto a tractor remains the only effective technology for cutting tree vegetation off the ground. Often the cutting work involves mowing adjacent groundcover and this is slow, but it is convenient to undertake the task at the same time as the equipment and personnel are already there. These commercial mowers require experienced operators and are complex to operate with many hydraulic functions operated off a multi-function joystick. Safety, smooth fine controls and ergonomics are vital criteria for safe and productive mowing and cutting.

CONCLUSION/SUMMARY

To ensure you pick the best commercial mower for your application:

  • Understand the nature and quantity of work in each segment
  • Identify the mowing segment that you critically need the best performance
  • Identify the key characteristics of the commercial mower capable in that segment and the budget.
  • In each mower product segment, there are often a range of budgets possible depending on the working width and power of the package, and features and performance.