Article

Mowing Down Ground Maintenance Projects

March 2005, Government Fleet - Feature

by John Vasquez

Trimming freeway embankments is not like pulling weeds from the driveway on a Sunday morning. One can imagine the type of machinery it takes to clean up large areas of wild, dense grass, or to mow entire parks. Within each city, state, and government agency, the needs will vary from one to the other with different jobs calling for different products. One municipality may have to tend to larger areas, requiring a product that can handle a heavy workload. Another municipality may only need a few machines to perform small tasks around town. The key is to assess what your needs are and to purchase equipment accordingly. Budget constraints are always on the long list of problems facing fleet managers, and overspending on equipment you don't need can put a squeeze on your financial situation. It's always a good idea to test out the equipment whenever possible. Fleet managers should take into account how long the product will last, maintenance costs, and the type of area that has to be tended to.

Mowers: Big vs. Small

With the increasing workload that ground maintenance equipment has to endure, companies are producing higher-quality mowers and cutters. And not only are the products lasting longer, the ingenuity that goes into creating the mowers keeps improving over time. Enterprising Europa Inc. has come up with a line of products that utilize an all-in-one feature, says Roland Jarl, COO of Enterprising Europa. The Enterprising Europa Gallmac WMW 115 has 20 different attachments that fasten to the end of the machine's hydraulic arm. "You can use it for so many tasks," says Jarl. "You can use it for mowing, or brush cutting. Also you can use it as a front-end loader, a forklift, or for excavation." With an arm that can reach up to 35 feet, workers sit in the cab and drive the machine up and down embankments using the hydraulic mower attached on the end of the arm. The WMW 115 can help municipalities that need a lot of cleanup along highway embankments and hard-to-mow hillsides. The WMW 115 also incorporates a swing lock to keep it stable on the side of a hill while it mows. Jarl explains, "It has a very low center of gravity. That makes it a very good product for applications of this type of work." Another helpful feature of the WMW 115 is its zero tail swing. The machine can occupy land with a radius of eight feet and not go outside of that. Along with its 360-degree rotation, the WMW 115 can fit into some tight working conditions. Some municipalities aren't going to need heavy machinery for their ground maintenance needs, though. Parks and fields may require smaller, riding mowers to get the job done.

Kubota Tractor Corp.'s F60 series is a line of diesel-powered 2- and 4WD front-mount mowers designed specifically for turf maintenance. Ken Robertson, parks and recreation superintendent for DeKalb County (Ga.), has found that the F2560 seems to be a favorite with the employees. "I have nine in my shop," says Robertson. "There are two other shops just like mine. We have a total of 23 in use." For the DeKalb County Parks and Recreation Department, the Kubota mowers seem to handle the heavy workload with little or no problem. On average, the county spends about 1,390 hours on ground maintenance a week. "They'll outlast anything out there," says Bill Eckel, fleet maintenance superintendent for DeKalb County. "And we know because our people are pretty severe with the mowers. They hold up quite well." With most of the workload being parks, Robertson says that his Kubotas have no problems with inclines. "The Kubotas seem to have a center of gravity that'll hold you to a hill." Along with stability, the F2560 also boasts a 25-hp diesel engine that burns cleaner with more efficiency. In addition, all models in the F60 series feature Hydrostatic Transmission (HST), giving more maneuverability when changing directions.

Easy Maintenance Adds Years

Manufacturers understand what their machines go through on a day-to-day basis. The mowers being produced today are built to last for a long time. But that doesn't mean they don't need daily, weekly, or monthly maintenance. Jarl says that the WMW 115 needs a daily greasing of the joints after a hard day's work. Changing the air filters and oil is a must as well. "The mower is like any other mower," explains Jarl. "Most of the time, the cutting blades have to be sharpened. It's all individual for each municipality and the kind of work that they're doing." And the life span? Jarl says that the company doesn't know since the mower has only been around for 10 years. But, he says, the first ones are still going strong. As for the Kubotas, even with the pounding they take in DeKalb County, both Eckel and Robertson agree that with constant upkeep the mowers will last a long time. Eckel says they keep the mowers for about seven years. "They'll last longer, but we typically keep them around for about seven years." Eckel says that the Kubotas receive monthly maintenance. "If it's got over 40 hours on it, we change the engine oil, the filter, inspect the blades, remove and replace blades, tighten the belts, and set the tension." Robertson mainly sees a constant wear-and-tear of the 72-inch protective, front-end deck, which houses the side discharge mower. "And the only reason the deck wears out is because we mow and maintain such rough terrain areas," he says. The decks wear out before the actual unit does, explains Robertson.

Comment On This Story

Name:  
Email:  
Comment: (Maximum 10000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

FleetFAQ

Fleet Management And Leasing

Jack Firriolo from Merchants will answer your questions and challenges

View All

 

Public Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Amin Amini from Verizon Connect will answer your questions and challenges

View All

 

Fuel Management

Bernie Kanavagh from WEX will answer your questions and challenges

View All

 

Recent Topics

Is anyone experiencing the following issue with their Ford Police Interceptors with the Ecoboost engine - after long periods of idling...

View Topic

We are in the middle of standardizing PM process with all of our technicians. And I'm asking if anyone has a standard pm checklist for...

View Topic

Fleet Documents

1134 Fleet Documents (and counting) to Download!

Sponsored by

Armed with enthusiasm and what appeared to be a sympathetic ear in Detroit, William Mitchell and 16 other Chevrolet dealers founded Chevway Corp. in March 1965.

Read more

Blog

FleetSpeak

Thi Dao
When Are Policies Too Strict?

By Thi Dao
Before writing a policy that will last for years, determine whether it’s the best one. Would a typical employee follow the policy?

What Your Vehicles Say About Your Fleet

By Thi Dao

Managing a Police Fleet

How Chevrolet's Tahoe PPV Differs From its Retail Relative

By Michaela Kwoka-Coleman
For the Chevrolet Tahoe PPV, tires are added to the vehicles that are capable of handling speeds of up to 134 mph and the brakes are adjusted to handle frequent stopping at high speeds.

Police Vehicles Pushed to the Limit in California

By Paul Clinton

Next-Gen Fleet

Facundo Tassara
Vehicle-to-What? — Evolving Vehicle Communication Technologies

By Facundo Tassara
Can vehicle collisions be avoided with vehicle-to-infrastructure or vehicle-to-vehicle technology? Several of the major OEMs think so and are spending billions of dollars a year working on the technology.

Streets of the Future Could Take Automatic Tire Readings

By Facundo Tassara

Driving Notes

Paul Clinton
2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

By Paul Clinton
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a significantly upgraded van that offers a dizzying array of configurations and meaningful improvements designed to improve productivity for delivering packages or hauling passengers.

2018 Ford EcoSport

By Mike Antich

Nobody Asked Me, But...

Sherb Brown
Remembering Sundays in St. Louis, Detroit, and Atlantic City

By Sherb Brown
There is just no better opportunity to network, to learn, and to mingle with the best and the brightest than an in-person fleet event.

Adapting to a Changing Tide

By Sherb Brown

STORE