Last week’s GIE+EXPO wrap-up featured an image of the oil barrels Exmark used to demonstrate the fuel savings the EFI and RED Technology-equipped Lazer Z X-Series zero turn rider can deliver. Thanks to increased fuel economy of up to 40 percent, a contractor can save about $1,900 each season on fuel costs alone, based on current prices.
With such heady efficiency claims, you may be wondering how RED works. In a nutshell, Exmark’s exclusive RED Technology is an on-board intelligence platform that enables communication and response between key systems. RED optimizes mower productivity and durability by actively monitoring and controlling key mower components including the engine and clutch.
RED Technology is Exmark’s green industry-specific adaptation of the active engine monitoring and control that makes modern automobiles so efficient and reliable. RED leverages other on-board engine technologies such as EFI and an electronic governor to deliver both increased efficiency and responsiveness.
The electronic governor significantly reduces governor droop to offer more consistent blade tip speed and a superior quality of cut. The increased responsiveness of the electronic governor also allows RED to feature three defined performance modes – Low, Efficient and Max. Instead of adjusting a throttle, the operator simply chooses the appropriate level of performance for the task, with the option to significantly reduce fuel consumption without impacting responsiveness when running in Efficient mode.
Thanks to the responsiveness of the electronic governor, RED-equipped engines achieve maximum efficiency in Efficient mode, while operating at lower engine RPM. In this setting, blade tip speed is optimized for maximum cut quality and the mower not only uses less fuel, it is quieter and emits fewer emissions, with reduced overall machine wear.
RED also enhances the safety and durability of the Exmark mowers on which it’s equipped. It accomplishes this by actively monitoring vital engine and clutch components to prevent equipment failure in the field. If a situation such as high oil temperature or low oil pressure is detected, RED places the machine in a safe transport mode (clutch disengaged, 2,500 RPM) to prevent permanent damage and allow the machine to be returned for service.
In this age of $3+/gallon gasoline, it’s easy to dream about saving 40 percent on fuel costs. Today that dream is reality for RED-equipped Lazer Z X-Series owners. If you’re interested in living the dream, head out to the Exmark website to learn more about Exmark’s exclusive RED Technology and the Lazer Z X-Series mowers it’s featured on.
The 2013 Green Industry and Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO) is in the books and by all accounts it was a great show. There was a consistently high level of booth traffic at Exmark’s indoor and outdoor booths, despite near-freezing temperatures during much of the show.
Attendees came to see Exmark’s latest innovations, including RED Technology on the Lazer Z X-Series, the UltraCut rear-discharge cutting deck (now available on the Lazer Z S-Series), EFI-propane Lazer Z and Turf Tracer models, and new walk-behind aerators. Each new product innovation was developed to help landscape professionals do more using fewer resources, with increased profitability.
“Doing more with less” was an oft-heard theme during GIE+EXPO 2013, and it’s a goal Exmark has long been focused upon. Our exclusive RED technology is a great example, as it uses intelligent engine and powertrain management to deliver increased efficiency and fuel economy with no sacrifices to the performance of the machine. Learn more about RED Technology and how it contributes to increased efficiency and durability on RED-equipped Lazer Z X-Series models.
A little maintenance goes a long way when it comes to keeping your Exmark cutting system performing at its best. In the heat of the cutting season, while you’re focused on cutting grass, it’s easy to let blade and deck maintenance intervals slip. It’s a common challenge, but when it comes to cut quality and cutting efficiency, it pays to keep blades sharp and belts tight.
The sharpness and overall condition of your cutting blades are extremely important to the performance of your Exmark mower. Here’s why: instead of cutting cleanly, dull blades tear blades of grass instead of cutting them cleanly, increasing susceptibility to dieback and pests. And due to their inability to efficiently cut grass, dull blades also increase the load on the engine and powertrain of a mower. This decreases fuel economy and increases component wear, leading to increased service costs and ultimately, a reduced lifespan for the mower.
For landscape contractors, the lost efficiency and increased wear and tear can significantly impact profitability. As a result, it pays to inspect the blades and deck each day, and sharpen/balance blades every 10- to 50-hours, depending on cutting conditions. Be sure to replace any blades that show excessive wear, especially where flat and curved parts of the blade meet. If significant wear or slotting is observed (see Figure 1), replace the affected blades with appropriate Exmark Original Equipment (OE) before mowing again. Exmark OE blades are engineered for specific cutting conditions and their use preserves the performance and long-term durability of the Exmark cutting system.
Figure 1: Replace worn blades if you observe signs of wear or slotting.
Since cutting conditions vary, it’s tough to predict exactly when blades will need sharpening, so many contractors will keep an extra set of sharp, balanced blades in the truck, ready to be rotated-in at a moment’s notice. That way they can continue cutting uninterrupted and can wait until they get back to the shop to sharpen and balance the blades.
Belt and idler pulley maintenance
Belt tension is an issue that Exmark users really don’t need to worry about, since the belts are self-tensioning. Because of this, service is reduced to checking the condition of belts every 50-hours and replacing as necessary.
Because belts stretch most when they’re first installed, it pays to stay on-top of belt tension adjustment on mowers that lack an automatic tensioner. Running a mower with loose belts significantly decreases the lifespan of the belts, so check their tension three times in the first 24 hours of use following installation, adjusting as necessary. After this break-in period, check belts every 50 hour of use, adjusting when tension drops below the specification in the owner’s manual.
It’s easy to check belt tension with a ruler and a fish scale. Simply hook the fish scale around the belt and pull, using the ruler to measure the belt’s deflection. Some Exmark belts are specified to run at ½-inch of deflection under 10-pounds of pressure. At this tension, a 10-pound load on the belt will move it ½-inch.
Idler pulleys should be clean and free of debris. An easy way to extend the life of idler pulley seals is to spray them periodically with spray lubricant. Exposure of the seals to the sunlight’s UV rays can harden the seals, reducing their effectiveness. A quick squirt of spray lube periodically keeps the seals soft and supple and helps them do a better job of keeping dirt out.
Of course, keeping the cutting deck clean and free of debris is extremely important to the overall efficiency of an Exmark mower. Each day, as you check the condition of cutting blades, be sure to also check the mulch build up under the deck, cleaning as necessary.
Visit Exmark.com for more information, tips, product manuals, maintenance schedules and more.
In late June, Exmark’s Garry Busboom traveled to Washington D.C. to represent Exmark in a ceremony where six propane-fueled Exmark Lazer Z S-Series zero-turn mowers were donated to the National Mall and Memorial Parks (NAMA). The new alternative-fuel mowers, donated by the Propane Research & Education Council (PERC), replace NAMA’s fleet of diesel-powered mowers.
Not only will the new EFI-propane Lazer Z S-Series mowers reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50-percent per mower, they will also lower operating costs through increased fuel efficiency along with the lower cost of propane fuel. The deployment of the mowers has also contributed to NAMA’s ability to be added to the Green Parks Plan, a National Park Service initiative to implement sustainable practices, reduce dependence on foreign oil, mitigate effects of climate change and reduce energy consumption.
“I was proud to be a part of the National Mall ceremony on behalf of everyone at Exmark,” said Busboom, the company’s chief development engineer. “Seeing the EFI-propane Lazer Z mowers starting up for the first time on the Mall was truly awesome and it’s a great feeling to know our mowers are contributing to achievement of NAMA’s larger environmental and sustainability goals.”
The four 72-inch and two 60-inch Lazer Z S-Series zero-turn mowers will make up one-third of the mower fleet on the National Mall. The cost-savings and environmental benefits the groundskeepers at NAMA now enjoy are competitive advantages any landscape professional can enjoy with a similarly-equipped Lazer Z S-Series mower. The electronically fuel injected (EFI) Kohler Command Pro powerplant is the first of its kind to use automotive-style propane fuel injection to increase fuel efficiency by up-to 25-percent and allows Exmark to deliver the greenest, most fuel efficient mower, with the lowest operating cost of any mower on the market today.
Due to the fuel efficiency of the new EFI Kohler powerplant, the new Lazer Z S-Series needs just one 10.3-gallon propane tank, compared to most competitors’ two-tank systems. This not only significantly improves balance and handling but also allows the mower to be more compact. NAMA will use a propane cylinder exchange system from local supplier, Thompson Gas.
PERC’s donation of the six Exmark mowers is valued at approximately $70,000.
Learn more about the PERC donation and see recent media coverage:
- Wall Street Journal – National Mall Goes Green, Mows Clean with Propane
- Yahoo! News – National Mall Goes Green, Mows Clean with Propane
- MarketWatch.com – National Mall Goes Green, Mows Clean with Propane
- Reuters news release
- Total Landscape Care – National Mall Goes Green
- Turf Magazine – PERC Greens the National Mall and Memorial Parks with Exmark Lazer Propane Mowers
- WTOP.com (Washington D.C) – National Mall gets new propane mowers
- Morningstar.com – National Mall Goes Green, Mows Clean with Propane
- Autogasusa.org – Learn more about PERC or propane-fueled mowers
- NPS.gov – Learn more about the National Park Service and its programs
- Exmark.com – Learn more about Exmark and its products
If you know us, you know that we’re always trying to give our customers the very best equipment. We even have competitive finance offers that make it easy to get your hands on the equipment lawn pros prefer. But we’ve outdone ourselves on this one. Right now, we’re offering 48-month interest-free financing for well qualified buyers on all new Exmark equipment. Yes, you read it right, all Exmark equipment. This is the first time you’ll be able to get a no interest loan AND monthly payments this low (just over $100/month when financing $5000 of equipment). You don’t have to pick one or the other. You can also pay off your loan anytime you want. How’s that for flexibility? This special offer is only available for a limited time through Sheffield Financial subject to dealer participation.
We also have other great offers going on during our May Days event May 10 – 19 like instant rebate offers on all Turf Management equipment, EFI’s, Vantage, Commercial 21, Navigator and Quest. Of course, these offers are available for a limited time. For a full list of our financing programs and rebate offers, visit the “Current Promotions” section of Exmark.com or head to your local dealer.
All finance programs are subject to credit approval of our finance partners. Exmark presents only those retail finance programs that are available on a national basis. Exmark dealers may offer additional sources of financing on a regional basis. If you have questions in regards to current programs, pending application or existing account with G.E. Retail Sales or Sheffield Finance Corporation please contact the Exmark finance partner directly.
Do you have questions about this offer or financing options? Let us know with a comment below.
At Exmark, it is important to us to be environmentally responsible. From our environmentally safe paint process to manufacturing top-of-line EFI and propane mowers, we’re helping to save the environment and save you money. To do this, we’re extending a $500 instant rebate through May 31 on all eligible EFI powered walk-behinds, stand-ons and riders. With this rebate, you’ll be able to make the switch to a greener, more fuel-efficient system and begin saving up to 25 percent on fuel costs right away.
Electronic Fuel Injected (EFI) performance begins with our closed-loop Kohler EFI engines that use multiple sensors, including an oxygen sensor to monitor changes in operating conditions and automatically adjust air fuel ratios on the spot, resulting in optimal engine performance, reduced emissions and lower fuel consumption. Traditional carbureted engines don’t adjust for changing operating conditions, costing you and the environment more.
EFI engines also improve overall performance and are proven to help reduce maintenance costs. The closed-loop EFI system used in the Kohler engines — produced in a partnership with global-leader Delphi — guarantees instant load response, allowing peak engine performance in all operating conditions.
To find out more details on this great offer and potential savings of up to 25 percent on fuel costs, visit Exmark.com.
Time flies when you’re kicking butt on the lawn. It’s been three years since we rolled out the newly designed Lazer Z. In this time, we’ve helped thousands of pros across America and Canada go beyond. They’re mowing more lawns in less time. They’re spending more time in the field and less time in the shop. They’re growing their businesses and not looking back.
But, don’t take our word for it. Let the pros tell you. We’ve launched MyLazerZ.com to tell you more about the mower that’s revolutionized zero-turn mowers as we know them. At MyLazerZ.com, you’ll be able to learn about the Lazer Z’s cutting technology, traction and handling, safety and productivity, operator comfort and maintenance. Along the way, you’ll have pros to tell you first-hand how the Lazer Z has helped them go beyond with their businesses.
After you learn about the Lazer Z, you can contact your local dealer and request a demo. Because the way we see it, 2012 will be what you make of it. Are you going to go beyond or just get by? It’s decision time.
Are you going to go beyond or just get by? Let us know with a comment below.
The Mark Awards ceremony presented a chance for us to honor those professionals who exhibit pride in everything they do, from selling Exmark mowers to running Exmark red when mowing lawns. Here at Exmark, we have pride too. The Mark Awards gave a chance for some of our employees to show it when they created the actual trophies at our Beatrice plant.
The trophies were made in-house using some of the most advanced technology in our manufacturing plant. Brian York, an Engineering Process Improvement Specialist who’s been with Exmark for over nine years, explained that the trophies were designed using CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software. After design, a number of different machines were used to produce the various parts of the award:
- The base was created using our 3D prototype printer through a process called “rapid prototyping.” It’s the same process used to create prototype parts in which we test form, fit and function on the mowers.
- The red circle and “X” were manufactured using our in-house laser cutter.
- The nameplate printer etched the names of the winners.
- The white decal on the “X” was cut using our prototype vinyl cutter.
How do you think the Mark Awards trophies turned out? Want to know more on how the awards were made? Let us know with question or comment below.
We recently welcomed the winners of the inaugural Mark Awards to our headquarters in Beatrice for a celebration of their achievement.
“The Exmark community told us who’s the best and who deserves industry recognition,” said Rick Olson, General Manager at Exmark Manufacturing. “At Exmark, we’re about more than just mowers and this was our opportunity to give back and provide additional support to the people that support our brand.”
The winners included:
- Zak Matouka of The Yard Men Snow & Lawn Services , winner of the Best Lawn Care or Landscaping Company
- Steve and Teri Gegner, owners of D&J Equipment, winner of Dealer of the Year
- Carlos Davila, runner-up for Crew Member of the Year
We flew in our winners and their guests for a once-in-a-lifetime Exmark experience, giving them behind-the-scenes access to our production facilities to see how our durable, efficient commercial-grade mowers are manufactured from raw steel to the finished product.
“I learned a lot about how they made the machines,” said Carlos Davila, runner-up for Crew Member of the Year. “I’d recommend them to any company and any dealer. They’re really good machines.”
Our winners also got to sit down with our executive leadership team and learn about the people behind the mowers. The winners and the Exmark team swapped industry stories, discussed challenges faced in the New Year and each side’s plans for the future.
The winners’ Exmark experience culminated with an awards ceremony with each winner receiving a diecast replica of the Lazer Z and their Mark Award, which was crafted in our Beatrice plant by Exmark employees.
This year’s prizes also included:
- Best Lawn Care or Landscaping Company – New Exmark Lazer Z mower and $1,000
- Dealer of the Year – $5,000
- Crew Member of the Year – A trip for two to Hawaii and $1,000
We were proud to advance the business of these deserving winners. “I started off with two walk-behind mowers, so winning the Lazer Z put me a step above most of the competition in my area. Now I can pick up larger accounts and move forward with my business,” said Zak Matouka.
We enjoyed hosting our winners and thank everyone who participated in the Mark Awards. Leave your well wishes for the winners in a comment below.
Everyone loves a well-striped lawn. Whether at a Major League ballpark, or your own back yard, something about lawn striping exemplifies quality like a pinstriped business suit. In many cases, the best lawn stripes come from a combination of cutting experience, trial and error, and good artistic sense. At the same time, certain basic striping techniques and an understanding of what causes a good pattern can help you maximize your own craftsmanship and your lawn’s beauty.
Keep your lawn healthy
It all starts with a healthy lawn and good cut quality. That said, striping does help unhealthy turf look a little better. The best, most clearly defined stripes get noticed, and clear definition starts with a professional grade cutting deck. If your lawn looks good without any striping, if you can easily achieve a “pool table” look after a fresh cut with your current mower, then you can realistically expect a quality pattern.
Make sure your equipment is properly tuned
Whether you intend to stripe or not, proper deck tuning simply means that you’re maximizing the quality your deck can provide. It should have a slightly positive rake (meaning the rear of the deck is just a little bit higher than the front), your blades should be sharp and well aligned (which can be undone after impact with any solid objects).
With a properly tuned cutting deck, grass will stand up straight under the vacuum forces created by your deck blades in operation. Some blades and decks have more vacuum efficiency than others, but any striping that can occur has to happen after the deck has passed. In its essence, striping is nothing more than bending the blades of grass in one direction, uniformly across the entire width of cut, in a contrasting pattern.
Does your deck really need a striper?
Before investing money in a professional-grade striping mechanism, you need to check a few things. First, consider your mower. You may already be getting a good quality of stripe from the basic design of your mower’s cutting deck. Some decks even have a drag shield installed to protect the operator from any thrown object hazards. While the drag shield itself has not been designed as a striper, it may do so anyway simply because it will lean grass in the direction of travel.
What type of striper works best?
Striper designs run the gamut from heavy-duty steel rollers, to flexible skirts, to brushes and chains. Most all designs fit up to the back edge of the cutting deck, but in some cases may trail behind the mower itself. The best choice for you may come down to personal preference based on cost, ease of installation, removal, or adjustability.
That said, roller stripers have the lowest tendency to push, or “bull doze” material in front of the striper. When this happens (and is most commonly seen with drag stripers), grass clippings pile up until they become heavy enough to roll under the skirt in clumps. You may get a decent stripe, but the clumping could ruin the quality of cut. All things considered, your dealer most often is the best source of information when it comes to matching the right striper design to your particular mower.
Can your grass hold a stripe?
Before getting started, consider the type of grass you typically mow, and the seasonal weather conditions. Cool season grasses found in northern U.S. climates tend to stripe more effectively than in southern climates due in large part to their differences in flexibility. The same machine and striper can, for example, achieve a crisper pattern in Wisconsin fescue than perhaps it can in Kentucky. An example at one end of the scale can be found in Florida. The St. Augustine grass there is so robust and rigid that it simply does not want to lean over in the direction of travel.
How does the sun affect your stripe quality?
Regardless of how you bend a blade of grass, stripes are perceived by the light reflected from each blade of grass in contrast to the next. The contrasting effect will vary in different ambient light conditions.
In other words, the striping appearance will change throughout the day as the angle of the sun’s rays to the grass changes. The most contrast is created if the directions of travel is in the same direction as the sun’s rays. The more you lean the grass over, the more contrast you will see.
In fact, grass blades themselves tend to reflect light better on one side of the blade than the other, so this can enhance the stripe pattern in just the right lighting.
With this in mind, you may want to experiment with the stripe direction that looks best on your lawn. A north-south direction may reflect its pattern more consistently than an east-west direction due to the position of your lawn, and its hills and trees, in relation to the sun’s movement during the day.
Keep your lines straight
Once you have decided on the best pattern and begun to mow, keep your lines straight by maintaining your focus far ahead. Quite often, the closer your sight line is to your mowing deck, the more your mowing tends to wander. This remains true whether you are striping or not. Also, balance your speed and make sure you overlap the stripes to avoid unsightly gaps. Going full speed may result in a lighter stripe and uneven cut, while going too slow may challenge your ability to keep a straight line.
Practice makes permanent
Remember, the best lawn stripes may come from gaining experience at what works best for your conditions. It also comes from learning the basics. Practicing good habits makes those habits more permanent. If you don’t like your results, don’t lose heart. Keep the grass healthy, review basic striping techniques, and try it again. With each pass, you will gain experience and soon be able to transform any nice lawn into a real head-turner.