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Why is There so Little Innovation in Mowing Technology ?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Fareway Lawncare, Apr 22, 2005.

  1. Fareway Lawncare

    Fareway Lawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 2,222

    Case in Point..... a 15 Year Old Toro Walk is Almost Identical to a 2005 Unit. Neither the Belts or the Hydros Have Changed Much in a Decade...The Toro Riders Finally recieved a Makeover w/a New Deck but Nothing Earth Shattering

    Why ? The Answer has Become Obvious... Price is the Single Most Important factor in a Mower Purchase....its not Cost Effective for a Company to Spend $$$$ in R&D and Engineering....At Least eXmark Upgrades Deck & Carrier Frame Design & Adds Minor New Features every Few Years..

    Companies are Looking to Make Cheaper Mowers Not Better Mowers....Red Hawk....Bradley...Single Drive Hydros from Quick and Ferris and Simplicity etc...Price Driven...True Some innovation on the Quick 36" But Most of you Forget that Gary's Original Plan was to use Twin Kaws and Produce a True Commercial Unit..

    Kudos to eXmark for Introducing a $1400- 26" Unit that the Scrubs Can't Afford..... and Not of Dumbing down their Tracer Line w/a Single Drive Hydro Unit.

    The Race is on to Make the Cheapest Commercial Mower Possible....Stay Tuned.
  2. nitrotim

    nitrotim LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 525

    Yeah I know ya gotta wonder why they haven't invented a mower that will go up the stairs as well as down. :dizzy:
  3. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,381

    Mowing grass hasn't changed much since the practice started. Cut the grass and be done with it. There hasn't been any need to changed the basic design of mowers since the task remains the same.

    The only innovations in mower technology that have been necessary is speed and durability.

    If your mower will cut grass faster and last longer than the other guy's...you'll sell all the mowers that you can produce.
  4. Littleriver1

    Littleriver1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 811

    We're cutting the tops off little blades of grass. We're not shooting rockets at the stars.
  5. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    No, the race is on to supply comercial "type" mowers to the masses.
    Mower manufacturers are in business to make money, just like any other business.
    The more machines they sell the more cash they bring in. Simple business philosophy.
  6. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    I'm still waiting for you to perfect your Stair Climing System Kelvin...patent office is not going to wait forever LOL.
  7. sailinstud420

    sailinstud420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    hey if it aint broke don't fix it..

    I would like to see more, but more concerning than that is that they are loosing the real commercial mowers, making things cheaper and less durable is going to kill the ones that rely on heavy duty equipment.
  8. jbell113

    jbell113 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 654

    The only innovation and technology your going to see out of mower manufacturers is how they can make them and put them together faster and still sell the same amount of them.
  9. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    What did I miss?
    I don't recall any system......................... :)
  10. MisterLandscape

    MisterLandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    I can't disagree with you more. I think there has been tremendous, TREMENDOUS innovation in the mowing industry.

    ENGINES: Liquid cooled and digital fuel injection have been major advancements as well as new carburetor designs. Lower emissions and better fuel economy are proofs of this. Better reliability and manufacturing processes make engines perform better and last longer than ever. (anyone remember points??) Additionally, we have OHV (overhead valve) engines and overhead cam engines. More power from smaller engine packages, especially in the 2-stoke engine market. Care to guess the RPMS Redmax and other top end 2 stroke makers are getting today? The tolerances in todays small engines are equal to and in some cases better than that in the automotive industry and aviation industry. Think about this: Small engines today are more reliable than those found in automobiles when you consider their operating environments. In your car you have a transmission, so yes the engine revs up but when you are cruising the tranny lets the engine work at a lower RPM. Power equipment engines constantly run at max RPMs (many 3600-3850 RPMS for 4 stroke mower power plants) and 2 strokes are running in some cases above 8,000 RPMS and even higher. These engines run in harsh and dirty environments often with very marginal to down-right bad care and maintenance. Try treating your car engine like many mowing contractors treat their mower engines. (Ka-boom) Don't forget, mower engines carry very little oil compared to a car.

    SUPPORT: Power equipment and engine makers have invested heavily in web pages, electronic warranty processing and dealer support as far as on-line parts break downs and ordering. Major advantage to the dealers and to the end line customers in getting parts quickly, getting the right part and getting info to the dealer such as technical updates. With the use of expensive computers and hugely expensive infrastructure the shipping, warehousing and delivery of parts is first rate. (15-20 years ago this was not the case) Just having computer systems in place that can predict the demand for units and parts orders heps the manufacturers serve the industry better.

    MACHINES: Mowers and power equipment from virtually every reputable brand of equipment maker utilizes computerized welders that make a perfect weld every time as opposed to when they used to count on a human which can make mistakes. Computerized assembly lines and quality controls help manufacturers make an almost error free product nearly every time. Even painting has been revolutionized---most major equipment makers utilize powder coat painting processes now. This is hugely expensive but a major advancement and makes equipment last longer, look better and greatly reduces or eliminates rust.

    SAFETY: Safety systems such as operator presence switches and blade brakes as well as ROPS (roll over protection systems) makes equipment safer for the operator and your customers. Remember when there didn't used to be anything much as far as safety devices was concerned?

    PRICE: With all the advances and equipment that lasts longer prices have not increased the same level as inflation. Efficiencies gained have allowed manufacturers not to increase prices as much as the price of steel, fuel and other costs have increased. Five years ago ZTRs were in my area selling for more and at the very worst equal to the prices we are seeing today. Price milk, trucks or gas lately?

    SPEED: better hydraulics and engineering have allowed faster mowing and the ZTR mower has been refined. Not too long ago all ZTRs had out from decks and were huge. Today there is a wider range of sizes, engine choices and configurations to meet any need.

    DESIGN: Computers are the driving force here. Machines can be designed and problems corrected before they 1st model even goes down the production line. Mini-Zs, Standers, Walker type GHS units.....a design to fit every need for every operator. Many innovations (far too many to list)

    WARRANTY: Just a few years ago most commercial equipment had 1 year warranties, now the standard seems to be 2 years and many companies have lifetime warranties on leading edges of decks, extended warranties on spindles and frames ect. Plus, I know one major company is considering a 5 year spindle warranty and a 3 year machine warranty.

    Thanks for reading, sorry this has gotton longer than I thought but hopefully I made a point and I hope most will agree with me. Thanks :)

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