As modern diesel engines have become more durable, mowing equipment company Exmark has seen a need to re-engineer components to be able to last as long as the engine. That requires a different approach than simply slapping a diesel powerplant on a chassis designed for a less-durable gasoline engine, said Lenny Mangnall, product manager for Exmark. The company kept that in mind when designing its latest product.
“We started with an engine and then looked for a drivetrain that will match the durability, reliability, and power of that engine,” Mangnall said.
The result is Exmark’s all-new 2018 Lazer Z Diesel commercial zero-turn riding mower, and the machine introduces new features such as a 96-inch cutting deck and a Yanmar liquid-cooled diesel engine equipped with Exmark’s RED technology. The company said RED technology increases the product’s responsiveness by virtually eliminating the governor lag associated with traditional mechanical governors. The increased responsiveness allows the engine to operate at a lower, more fuel-efficient RPM level without compromising productivity or cut quality, the company noted.
On machines that don’t use the RED technology, “guys run at full throttle all the time,” Mangnall said. If the operator of the machine is working in lighter grass, running full throttle is a waste of gas, he added.
“So now with RED, what they’re able to do is select that engine speed to match the conditions that they’re in, to gain the best fuel economy out of that machine as possible,” Mangnall said.
Mower Alerts and Stats
RED technology also tracks machine health, delivering on-screen service alerts and productivity statistics to increase machine uptime and encourage regular maintenance. Mangnall stated that mower operators often struggle with keeping track of the maintenance required on the machines. With the RED technology, the new Lazer Z diesel sends an alarm with messages such as “service engine oil soon” and “service hydraulic oil soon.”
The RED technology also monitors engine problems. If a radiator hose comes loose and the mower loses all the engine coolant, the machine would send a warning about high temperature. If the temperature continues to rise, the blade would shut down and the operator would hear an audible alarm.
“If you still have a problem, at least what he’s done is avoid a catastrophic failure of one of those systems, whether it be the engine or the hydraulic system,” Mangnall said. “That’s something that’s really been well-received with RED technology.”
A Wider Cutting Deck
The new model also introduces a new 96-inch UltraCut Flex Wing cutting deck. The deck is a rear-discharge design featuring a 48-inch center deck with two 24-inch wing decks, for a 96-inch total cutting width. Mangnall explained that the improved efficiency from using the 96-inch product helps address labor shortage issues.
“As we started talking to municipalities and state governments and universities, we found that a shortage of labor wasn’t unique to landscapers but is also a large concern for those entities as well,” Mangnall said. The increased efficiency of the 96-inch deck allows entities to keep properties looking better with reduced hours or reduced equipment, he added.
He noted that the 48-inch center section with two 24-inch wings helps prevent scalping, or cutting deeper than the user desires.
“It follows the terrain much better than a 72- and even than a 60-inch deck does,” Mangnall said. “Especially for roadsides and parks, because none of those are flat, guys are seeing huge advantages with this machine.”