Outdoor Power Equipment

August 2017

Proudly serving the industry for which it was named for more than 50 years, Outdoor Power Equipment provides dealers who sell and service outdoor power equipment with valuable information to succeed in a competitive market.

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FEATURE STORY | Trends www.outdoorpowerequipment.com OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT AUGUST 2017 31 KEEPING UP WITH TECHNOLOGY is difficult. It will be interesting to see how far some of these advances make it into the OPE industry. – Brad Unruh, director of product strategy, Excel Industries (Hustler Turf) BOBCAT COMPANY CONTINUES to listen to customers and their wants for increased technology in compact equipment. A good example is the Bobcat depth check system. Bobcat compact excavator owners can use the optional system to more accurately set their trench depth and minimize over- or under-digging, as well as save money on materials such as concrete. The sys- tem utilizes sensors that detect the exact position of the bucket's teeth. Opera- tors can set a desired digging depth and work against that benchmark. – Christopher Girodat, marketing manager, Bobcat Company WITHOUT A DOUBT, new technol- ogies can help us in developing new and better products. Advanced con- trollers can provide better real-time data for the operator — equipment performance, malfunctions, main- tenance requirements and more. As battery technology improves in the automotive sector, it will filter down into the green industry as the price of the technology falls. When this hap- pens, we will have more and more options for developing an electric solution for our machines. Of course, everyone is interested in autonomous systems, but in ar- eas of our main application — working on steep slopes and in difficult-to-reach areas — it is still difficult to develop reliable and robust equipment complying with safety requirements. I'd say the landscape industry is growing tremendously. All countries around the world are investing in their infrastructure — build- ing new highways, railway corridors, etc., and these areas must be maintained by professional equipment. – Lubor Hladik, international sales manager at Dvorak-Spider, manufacturer of Spider dedicated remote-controlled slope mowers MARGINS CONTINUE TO BE TIGHT, and anyone in business today is making their buying decisions based on what purchases will return a profit to their business. With technology advancing rapidly and becoming more widely available, customers have to spend more time researching exactly what products, features and benefits will add to their bottom line. – James Day, general manager, Turf Teq THE INDUSTRY IS CONSTANTLY looking for more productive ways to get the job done and finding good labor to do it. Controlling a piece of equipment remotely is starting to trend upward and will only continue to do so at a swifter pace. – Matt Hutchinson, product manager, Vermeer WE ARE BEING ASKED for ma- chines that better support mobile devices, including USB ports and Bluetooth-enabled radios. Telematics is also starting to enter the compact equipment industry. – Bill Wake, director of product development, ASV Holdings Inc. CERTAINLY, THESE TECHNOLO- GIES will have an impact on landscape equipment, but it will be a gradual evolution. In many industries, these technologies can take off fast since they miniaturize traditionally larger, power-consuming devices. As far as we know, it still takes a lot of power to cut heavy growth, and that is something that will make the growth of these tech- nologies slower than in other industries. – Ed Wright, vice president of engi- neering, sales & marketing, Wright Mfg. THE DEVELOPMENT OF TECH- NOLOGY, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other innovations, has been out- paced by battery technology's introduction and use in the OPE industry. Battery technology impacts what equipment is being purchased and how it's being used. Battery-powered products are continuously improving with longer life and lighter weight, and are now at a level deemed acceptable by landscape profes- sionals, so we anticipate we'll see a rise in their use in the future. As battery popularity has grown, costs of this equipment have improved, as well. Some handheld brands are introduc- ing multi-battery chargers, which can be installed in landscap- ers' trucks, reducing downtime and improving accessibility to fresh batteries. Larger wheeled products, such as zero-turn-radius and commercial walk-behind mowers, are a few years away from having cost-effective and durable battery-operated products acceptable to the market. Other technologies, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, are also making their mark with more sophisticated end users and operators, but at a slower pace. Cordless/battery technology will have a significant impact on dealers, as handheld battery products require little service or repair. – Denis Bedard, vice president of sales, Schiller Grounds Care PHOTO COURTESY OF DVORAK-SPIDER PHOTO COURTESY OF HONDA POWER EQUIPMENT

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