How to protect your tools and equipment against winter’s worst

How to protect your tools and equipment against winter’s worst

Slightly less than a year ago the residents of one of the hottest states in the country woke up to find their power out, pipes burst and icy havoc everywhere. The big freeze that hit Texas, February 13, 2021 and lasted almost a week, killed more people than the Alamo and racked up billions of dollars in damages.

That should be warning enough to take winter seriously. Whether it’s your tools or equipment you should understand the worst that could happen and prepare for it. Here’s a checklist of the dangers and what you can do to prevent them.

The #1 Rule

No set of rules could possibly cover all the contingencies for different brands and types of equipment, mobile, stationary, rubber-tire, tracked, low and high horsepower, diesel, gas, hybrid or fully electric. So the #1 rule is to check with the equipment dealer or OEM or consult the manual first.

Also don’t do this slapdash or just whenever you get around to it. Use our list here as a starting point but then study your equipment and needs, develop an action plan and then execute—before it’s too late.

Power Tools

The rechargeable batteries used to run saws, drills, flashlights and even some demolition tools should never be left out in cold weather. Below 40 degrees lithium-ion batteries won’t hold a charge and leaving them out in freezing temperatures can permanently reduce run time. Don’t store these in an unheated shop, or your truck toolbox when freezing weather threatens.

If you build a charging station to hold these tools, batteries and chargers, make it portable so you can bring it inside when necessary and always keep the batteries and tools within the temperature range recommended by the manufacturer.

Pneumatic Tools

Air-driven power tools such as DA sanders, nail guns rely on seals, O-rings and lubrication to function properly. When cold temps turn these materials brittle or cause the lubrication to gel, they won’t fire properly and may become permanently damaged. Always store them inside at the temperatures recommended.

If using them outside in freezing weather, follow manufacturer guidelines. If needed you can rotate tools from outside to inside throughout the day to keep them functioning properly. Also, consider using a cold-weather lubricant/pneumatic tool oil.

Compressors

Air compressors will accumulate moisture over repeated exposure to rising and falling temperatures. Make sure you drain the compressor at the end of every day. Use air hoses that remain flexible in the cold and consider using an in-line antifreeze product such as Kilfrost Pneumatic Tool and Antifreeze lubricant to prevent blockages.

Shop Heat

Shops without a dedicated HVAC system will sometimes use gas or propane forced air heaters to warm up the work environment. Be sure you follow all the manufacturer’s instructions on ventilation when using these. And note that these sometimes create a thin film on many surfaces. You won’t be able to see this film and it won’t affect most operations but it may prevent spray paint from adhering to surfaces should you want to paint anything that’s been stored in the shop. Extra degreasing on metal surfaces should alleviate the problem.

Electric space heaters are sometimes used for small spaces, just be aware that these will increase your power bill considerably.

Gas Engines

There is considerable debate among construction and landscaping professionals about how to store gasoline-powered tools for the winter. One camp says to drain the tank, completely, shoot a small squirt of lube oil in the spark plug hole and pull the starter rope a few times to coat the inside of the engine with oil. Others say to fill the tank with gasoline that’s been treated with an additive.

Our advice: do whatever the owner’s manual says to do. If you don’t have the manual most manufacturers post them online.

Equipment Lights

As winter’s shortened days close in, operators and foremen are tempted to keep working into the dusk. Before this happens check all the lights on your machines to make sure they’re in good working order.

Consider adding auxiliary lighting packages—today’s new LED lights can provide amazing illumination while also conserving battery power. And put a towel inside every machine so operators can clear the windshield of any condensation that occurs. 

Diesel Engines

A long time ago contractors would start their diesel engines early, and do something else for five or ten minutes to let the engine warm up before driving off or starting work. And in cold weather, they’d also leave their diesels running for fear of them not starting back up. That’s no longer the case.

Today’s diesels need only a minute or so to warm up and they have sufficient battery power to restart even in the coldest temps. Running a diesel engine at low idle for long periods of time can actually cause carbon accumulation in the engine as the exhaust after-treatment process doesn’t get hot enough to burn it off.  Go ahead and start working within 60 seconds of startup. Your engine and its DPF and/or DOC systems will thank you for it. For extremely cold weather (states bordering Canada), you may need a cold weather starting package that your OEM dealer can provide.

Newer machines and trucks generally run with low viscosity lube oils to improve fuel efficiency. The new 5W-40 and 0W-40 synthetic will perform well down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you are running thicker oils in your older equipment, check with the OEM before switching to low viscosity.

Keep it Clean

While you still have above-freezing temperatures pressure wash your equipment, paying extra attention to tracks and undercarriages. If ice or frozen mud is left on those, it will lock up the whole undercarriage and you will not be able to move the machine until it thaws out. And even if you do get it moving you could be damaging the pins, bushings and rollers unless all the frozen gunk is removed first.

Dirt and frozen crud will also hide leaky seals and components that if left unattended could create maintenance headaches down the line. Salt and other road-de-icing chemicals can also cause rust and corrosion if left on the machine for long.

Move it

Even if you’re parking your machines for the winter, it’s a good idea to periodically start them, move the joysticks, and travel a short distance. This keeps seals and fittings coated with lubrication and prevents ice build-up that might compromise operation when you need the machine.

Pushing fluid through the hydraulic system will keep valves and seals lubricated and in good shape. Also lubricate door hinges and other metal-to-metal parts to keep them swinging freely, ward off moisture and prevent rust.

Tires and Hoses

Repeated cold, thaw cycles can create small, temporary air leaks between the rim and sidewalls of your truck and equipment tires. Over the course of a few days this can lead to a loss of as much as 20 to 40 percent of the air pressure in your tires. Be sure to check your tires after the first hard cold snap and adjust the psi if necessary. Cold weather can also make tires brittle and more prone to damage, so tread lightly in operation.

Rubber hoses are also subject to brittleness and cracking or loosening up from their fittings in cold weather. Be sure to inspect these carefully before operation.

DEF Maintenance

Diesel exhaust fluid is mostly water, and it can freeze at 12-degrees Fahrenheit. Today’s Tier 4 and Tier 4 Final engines either have DEF system pre-heaters or will allow you to run them for a few minutes until the DEF in the lines and reservoir thaw out. But keep an eye on it. If it doesn’t thaw out, the engine could derate. If problems occur, call your dealer’s service department.

If you intend to store your machine in sub-freezing weather, drain the DEF reservoir. Upon restarting in warmer weather flush the DEF system with distilled water. And be sure you keep your bulk storage of DEF somewhere it won’t freeze. Otherwise, you won’t be able to dispense it.

Fuel

Number 2 diesel works fine in the warmer months and it is less expensive, but the hydrocarbons in diesel fuel can begin to gel when it drops below 40 degrees. Number 1 diesel (which you can buy at truck stops or specify from your fuel supplier) has a lower viscosity and is less likely to gel.

At the end of the day in any cold temperatures, it’s wise to top up your fuel tanks to avoid condensation and water. Use cold weather fuel additives when necessary but always make sure to check with the OEM or dealer on what additives to use. There’s a lot of snake oil out there. An engine block heater can alleviate some of these gelling problems by keeping the engine, fuel lines and injectors at a more favorable temperature when the machine is not running.

Lubes, Grease and Fluids

Prolonged cold temperatures may adversely affect engine oil, grease and hydraulic fluid making them less viscous and harder to pump. Check with your OEM dealer about best practices in your area and change these fluids before problems emerge.

If your regular grease gets too cold, it may block the lines and make it impossible to push low-viscosity/low-temp grease into the lines. Conversely, when temperatures start to rise, change back to your normal fluid regimen to prevent low-viscosity fluids from damaging your equipment.

Hydraulic Cylinders

If you intend to store a machine for the winter, spray a protective coating on the chrome to guard against rust. Even faint surface rust creates enough pitting to cause cylinder seals to leak when you start back up.

Battery Care

Heavy equipment and truck batteries do not like cold weather. Check the terminals and connections to make sure they are tight and corrosion free. Coat the battery clamps with dielectric grease to prevent mineral deposits or corrosion.

Left outside, batteries can freeze and take up to 30 hours to thaw. If that is a risk, use a battery blanket to keep your battery above 32 degrees. Have your battery and alternator tested before the cold season begins to make sure both can perform up to spec.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://blackstonelandscapingdesign.com/?p=787

To stop an equipment thief, think like an equipment thief

To stop an equipment thief, think like an equipment thief

Crime is on the rise everywhere and with so many construction companies powering down in winter, equipment theft is rising accordingly. Pandemic issues such as reduced staffing and unemployment also raise risks.

Equipment thieves strike fast. They bring their own trucks and lowboys and it takes them only minutes to get a dozer, excavator or backhoe onto a trailer and down the road. In many cases, these stolen machines are loaded into a cargo container before the sun comes up (making it all but invisible to law enforcement) and then put on a ship bound for a country where they can never be traced.

But there are a number of steps you can take to keep yourself from becoming a victim of equipment theft. Here’s a checklist of things you should do short term and long-term to protect your iron this winter and all season long.

Short-term precautions

Fully illuminate your shop building and equipment yard at night and eliminate any shadowed spots where thieves might hide. New LED bulbs cast a lot of light and use less electricity than traditional lights.Install security cameras and alarms. There are hundreds of these available today, so your best bet is to hire a security consultant to help you choose a robust and tamper-proof camera system. Some of today’s security cameras can distinguish between a raccoon and a human being, so you won’t be alerted every time the local wildlife comes searching for a free meal. The price of an expert consultation on these systems is well worth the money.Regularly test your alarms and cameras to make sure they are working properly and you’re getting good images in daylight and dark.Harden your perimeter. Fences should be at least eight feet high. Razor wire isn’t pretty, but it stops people from going over the top, and cutting through a fence is noisy and time-consuming. Install tamper-proof bollards at gates, so even if thieves get over the fence, it will be almost impossible for them to drive a truck into the yard or equipment out.

Long-term solutions

Telematics have made a huge difference in equipment security. These “black boxes” can be programmed to send you an alert anytime a machine moves outside of a “geofence” you designate on the software. The better systems are hidden out of sight and difficult to tamper with and can track the equipment as it’s being hauled down the road. Most OEMs now offer their own telematics systems, but there are plenty of aftermarket vendors as well. And theft prevention is just one of the things telematics are used for. They also provide diagnostic data and information about fuel use, DEF levels, driver monitoring, and all sorts of other useful information.Simpler GPS tracking devices can be attached to non-mobile equipment such as generators, compressors, welders, and light towers to give you alerts and position information without the full complement or expense of mobile equipment telematics.If you want to master theft prevention as well as you’ve mastered other aspects of your business, consider downloading and studying the National Equipment Register’s Annual Theft Report. Lots of useful information and good reading for these long winter nights: https://www.ner.net/annual-theft-report/When ordering new equipment consider spec’ing machines that have keypad-only access rather than physical keys. With these, the operator must enter his personal ID or pin number to start the machine. Attempts to tamper or circumvent the system on many will result in an alert. A bonus feature on some systems is that they will store operator preferences tied to the individual ID or pin number.As a company owner or equipment manager, make sure you have photos of all your equipment, serial numbers and complete documentation to share with police in case of a theft.On the jobsite or the yard never leave equipment parked on a trailer. That’s just making it too easy to steal.When you leave a jobsite on a weekend, park all your machines nose to tail so that thieves can’t move one machine without moving the others.

In broad daylight

While most theft occurs at night, our sources in law enforcement say there are enterprising thieves who concoct sophisticated schemes to steal equipment on the jobsite, right under the nose of your foreman.

The scam works like this. The thieves acquire a truck and trailer, slap a fake logo of some repair shop or hauling company on the side of the truck and drive to your jobsite. They ask for the foreman and then present him with a fake work order to take a piece of equipment in for repairs. The work order may even have the logo of a local repair shop or equipment dealer and forged signatures of people from your company.

The unsuspecting foreman assumes it’s all legit and might even help the thieves load the machine onto the trailer. An hour later, that $300,000 machine might be in a cargo container headed for a port or hidden in a barn down some rural road. The truck and trailer will be sold at auction and everybody in your company starts fighting over who screwed up.

This scam works best when the jobsite is being run by an inexperienced foreman. To prevent this from happening, brief all your managers and crew members on how the scam works. Make sure people in the field clear any transfer of equipment with the shop manager or office before they let go of it.

As an extra precaution ask for the truck driver’s license, make sure the photo matches and write down the number. Also get the truck and trailer tag numbers and DOT numbers, which may help, assuming they’re not stolen as well, lead back to the thieves.

Top states for equipment theft

According to National Equipment Register, the top five states for equipment theft are:

#1. Texas

#2 Georgia

#3 Florida

#4 California

#5 Missouri

Top stolen equipment

And the equipment most targeted for theft:

#1 Skid steer

#2 Mower

#3 Tractor, wheeled

 If you really want to get into this subject, take a read through our interviews with an actual equipment thief and law enforcement officers who specialize in this type of crime. Some of the technology discussed here is dated, but the insights gained are well worth your time.

And in case you missed it, take a look at this recent article we did about a guy in jail, whoconned a dealership out of $2.8 million in equipment.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://blackstonelandscapingdesign.com/?p=779

Numbers that every landscaping company should know

Numbers that every landscaping company should know

Knowing your numbers is an essential part of doing good business. That’s because you need to have a good understanding of how your business is performing in order to make critical decisions. But when it comes to making decisions in real-time, you need to have metrics available at your fingertips. Unfortunately, most companies are not looking at metrics until the end of the month when they’re running reports. At that point, it’s too late to make any changes to jobs already finished. 

Being able to look at daily metrics is the differentiator between landscaping companies taking their business to the next level and those that are remaining stagnant.

Job costing in real-time

One of the most important things that you should be doing is looking at job costing in real-time (for your current jobs) so that you are able to make changes to keep the work profitable. There are five main data points to be tracked in order to do this: Labor, materials, equipment, subcontractor expenses, and overhead. If you are tracking these numbers and looking at daily operations, you’ll be able to provide your team with some direction as to what’s needed in order to achieve your goals.

Ultimately, it comes down to staying on top of how close your estimated costs are to your actual costs so that you can make changes, if needed, to get a job back on track. It doesn’t do you much good to find out a job lost you money after it’s already finished.

Looking at cash flow

An ongoing cash flow analysis is also important for a profitable operation. You should know exactly how much cash is coming into your business as well as how much is going out. Healthy cash flow is essential to a healthy business. And just like job costing, looking regularly at cash flow will allow you to make quick decisions in real-time which can impact your financial success.

Utilizing a daily cash flow report is a better practice than using a checkbook or an online bank balance. The latter two do not take outstanding checks into consideration.

Staying on top of company spending

While this is part of cash flow, it’s important to point out that staying on top of all business expenses, including the “small ones” will make a huge difference in your success. We call this “financial awareness.” The more financial awareness you have, the better. If you aren’t staying on top of expenses, you can start to negatively impact an otherwise profitable business.

Tracking daily spending allows you to analyze whether money is being spent in the best way possible for your company. You’ll also be prepared for tax season, which will help that period go more smoothly. 

The value of visual reporting

When it comes to all of these numbers, you want a quick and easy way to look at them. Reading through a ton of data can be time-consuming. That’s why many successful companies are moving toward visual reporting. This is a process of extrapolating data and putting it into readable formats, such as charts and graphs. This will allow you to make quick decisions based on the information in front of you.

While many landscaping companies still use spreadsheets and print-outs to look at data, upgrading to a landscape business software solution for your company will allow you to be able to look at daily metrics and also use visual reporting tools to make quick decisions. The goal is to be able to have real-time information in front of you at the push of a button.

A tool like Asset can help you to produce daily reports and look at financial data in real-time. With everything at your fingertips, you can make smarter decisions for your business.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://blackstonelandscapingdesign.com/?p=770

Deere to acquire majority ownership in battery technology company

Deere to acquire majority ownership in battery technology company

Expanding its investment in alternative power, John Deere is set to acquire majority ownership of Kreisel Electric, an Austrian-based developer of immersion-cooled, high-density battery technology.

For Deere, the deal was prompted by growing demand for batteries as a sole- or hybrid-propulsion system for off-highway vehicles. The manufacturer intends to apply the technology to its lineup of turf equipment, compact utility tractors, small tractors, compact construction equipment, and some road building equipment, as it works toward a future with zero emissions propulsion systems.

“Kreisel’s battery technology can be applied across the broad portfolio of Deere products, and Kreisel’s in-market experience will benefit Deere as we ramp up our battery-electric vehicle portfolio. Deere will provide the expertise, global footprint, and funding to enable Kreisel to continue its fast growth in core markets,” said Pierre Guyot, senior vice president, John Deere Power Systems. “This is an opportunity to invest in a company with unique technology that’s designed for the demanding conditions where Deere customers work.”

In addition to its patented battery technology, Kreisel has also developed a complementary charging infrastructure platform (CHIMERO).

Deere has been testing a battery-electric backhoe since early this year and debuted the 310 X-tier E-Power at The Utility Expo. The unit will head into Phase 2 testing next year, with Deere indicating many of the specs will change before it is available for sale. It is unknown at this time if Kreisel’s technology will appear in this machine. 

Kreisel Electric will retain its employees, brand name, and trademark, and continue to operate from its current location in Austria. The company, founded in 2014 by brothers Johann, Markus, and Philipp Kreisel, has approximately 160 full-time employees. 

The transaction requires final regulatory approval in Austria and is expected to close in February 2022. Financial details are not being disclosed.  

Did you miss our previous article…
https://blackstonelandscapingdesign.com/?p=758

Landscaper donates Christmas lighting service to spread holiday cheer

Landscaper donates Christmas lighting service to spread holiday cheer

For many, Christmas lights are a favorite part of the season. But they can be a lot of work to put up (and remove), so many families end up turning to companies that offer this service professionally. That was the case for one South Carolina family who wanted to get into the Christmas spirit, particularly for their son with autism. What they didn’t know is that a simple call to a local landscaper would turn into an unexpected holiday surprise.

When Aaron Brazell, owner of Omega Landscaping in Lexington, South Carolina took a call for holiday lights from the family, he says his heartstrings were pulled. They were calling for a quote for holiday lights and it came up in conversation how much their autistic child loved them.

“When I gave them the quote, they told me it was more than they thought it would be,” Brazell recalls. “They were going to turn down the service.”

Brazell says he was touched by their story and wanted the family to be able to enjoy some lights for the holidays.

So, he installed them for free.

Spreading holiday joy


Holiday lights bring a lot of joy to a South Carolina family.Aaron Brazell

“Christmas is a time of joy for a lot of people and I realized this was an opportunity for me to give some joy and inspiration to a local family at the holidays,” Brazell says of the decision. “It’s been a very difficult couple of years for everyone and this was an easy way for me to give back.” 

Brazell says that the family’s gratitude made it all worthwhile. In fact, it has inspired him to find ways to do more good in 2022.

“This whole experience has me thinking about other ways that we can help the community in 2022,” he adds. “I think this is small businesses’ time to shine. Yes, we need to make money, but we can also think about what we are capable of doing to help the community around us.” 

Giving back in 2022

As we head into a new year, Brazell says that he would encourage other landscape companies to think about ways they can give back to their local communities. It doesn’t take much to make a difference, he urges.

“Just a little bit of time and effort can go a really long way,” he sums up. “If we all helped someone out, it would make a big impact.” 

Did you miss our previous article…
https://blackstonelandscapingdesign.com/?p=743

Caring for poinsettia plants now and through the holiday season

Caring for poinsettia plants now and through the holiday season

To many, poinsettias have become a symbol of the holidays. Their colorful appeal certainly makes them a festive choice. Whether you work with poinsettias in your landscape designs or your clients have some and you want to offer advice, we’ve rounded up a few tips on how to care for these cheerful plants.

Proper lighting

Because the poinsettia is native to Central America, it is used to plenty of light. You should advise your clients to keep their poinsettias in a location where they will receive enough sunlight.

If you’re in a warm climate and the poinsettias are outside, this is not as much an issue. However, if your clients are bringing these plants, indoors, you should advise them to keep the plants near a well-lit window.

Lauren Quinn, PhD, botanist and expert at Trees.com advises that bright, indirect light is best.

Also, keep poinsettias away from drafts and heating vents which will dry them out.

Regular watering

As with any plant, the right amount of water is also key.

“Check poinsettias daily by poking a finger an inch or more into the soil, using an inexpensive soil moisture meter, or lifting the pot knowing that heavier pots indicate still saturated soil,” says Quinn. “When the soil is dry, water abundantly until water flows out of the drainage holes.”

Quinn also advises removing the plant from its decorative foil covering before watering.

“Like other houseplants, poinsettias do not like sitting in a pool of water,” she warns.

Remember pet safety

One final point on poinsettias is to remember that they can be toxic to pets. While there was a time that it was claimed ingesting this plant could be fatal for pets, the American Kennel Club now calls them “mildly toxic,” and says ingesting this plant is rarely fatal.

Still, advise your clients that it is always in their best interest to be careful with plants around pets and children, too.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://blackstonelandscapingdesign.com/?p=734

Lawn and landscape companies give back at holidays and beyond

Lawn and landscape companies give back at holidays and beyond

The season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s often ends up being a time when many are thinking about giving back. It’s no different for landscaping companies. Across the country, many landscapers are finding ways to serve their local communities and give back where they can. While it certainly benefits the community, it also ends up impacting the team, as well.

This is something that Oasis Turf & Tree in Loveland, Ohio has learned over the years. They find that team members really appreciate the opportunity to be involved in service projects and to be part of a company that cares about giving back. Some of the charities that Oasis has been directly involved with over the years include the Ronald McDonald House, The Dragonfly Foundation, and CancerFree Kids. They’ve shut down in the middle of a workday to go to Ronald McDonald House and prep meals.

Oasis has also donated time and equipment to help fertilize the Dayton National Cemetery.

“One of the best feelings is when we find out team members went out and participated in charity events or volunteered on their weekends without it even being a team event,” adds Rob Reindl, founder of the company. “They really take it to heart and want to give back on their own time, too.”

Making it easy for the team to help


Joshua Tree participated in Toys for Tots at both of the company’s locations this year.Joshua Tree

While organized events are always a great way to help the community, there are even simpler and easier ways to help. Organizing a food drive or collecting for a charity like Toys for Tots makes it really simple for team members to get involved.

Joshua Tree, which has locations in Souderton and Stockertown, Pennsylvania collected for Toys for Tots this year when the company’s customer service supervisor and human resources manager made the suggestion that it would be a great way to give back.

“We had one box at each location and they were filled very quickly,” shares Madison Malik, marketing manager. “In fact, one of our account managers, Ken, even gave his kids $100 to shop for the toys to donate. It was a way to involve families. As a company, we also budgeted some money to shop and donate some gifts from Joshua Tree.”

In Wrentham, Massachusetts, Landscape America hosted a food drive and donated everything to the Wrentham Food Bank. 

“We’ve been focused on giving back even more to the community lately, beyond our annual donation projects,” explains company president Doug McDuff, MCLP, MCA. “I think our team gets great energy from helping others and we have the resources to contribute and improve other people’s days, weeks, and so on.  The food drive was simple, rewarding, and helped us fulfill this goal, and validate one of our Core Values, which is: ‘Be Positive and Helpful.’ We are looking forward to expanding our charitable efforts for 2022 and beyond.”

group effort 

Photo 1.jpg
Yellowstone Landscape has been working with the Industry Collective to give back.Yellowstone Landscape

Working together can make a really big impact. That’s why Yellowstone Landscape, a national commercial landscaping company headquartered in Bunnell, Florida, decided to become involved in Industry Collective. This effort is being led by a group of lawn and landscaping companies who believe that together they can make a bigger impact. They’ve done this by partnering with Rhino Impact Group, an organization that helps to coordinate large-scale efforts by allowing companies to use their team members to serve where needed.

According to Joseph Barnes, marketing director for Yellowstone, they have participated in several projects including a back-to-school backpack project where they assembled backpacks with everything that kids-in-need could use for school. They also helped to assemble hygiene kits for the homeless and they’ll soon be putting together meal kits for kids who rely on school meals.

“A company like ours that has a large number of team members can do a lot when it comes to these types of projects,” Barnes explains. “We believe that when we work together, we can have the biggest impact.” 

Did you miss our previous article…
https://blackstonelandscapingdesign.com/?p=721

Yanmar’s first electric prototype: The SV17e compact excavator

Yanmar’s first electric prototype: The SV17e compact excavator

Is it too soon to talk about Bauma, the big European equipment show held every three years in Munich?

We think not, especially when the previews demonstrate what is arguably the biggest and most significant trend in heavy equipment — electrification.

In this particular case, Yanmar gave the press a preshow preview of its first electric mini excavator prototype: the new SV17e. The company positions this machine as an important strategic step in the transformation for Yanmar Compact Equipment and indicative of the direction of the company.

“Our transformation will embrace our entire business and will encompass new products with alternative-fuel technologies,” says Giuliano Parodi, CEO of Yanmar. “The SV17e prototype is a demonstration of our intent to build a sustainable business for our customers and dealer partners.”


Without a diesel engine the overall size and weight of this excavator can be greatly reduced.YanmarThe SV17e mini excavator is aimed at customers in the European market and plays in the 1.5- to 2-metric-ton segment. It is powered by an electric drive with 48-volt batteries and fast charging capability. At zero emissions it not only passes the greenhouse gas test but is also quiet and suitable for indoor and confined-space operations where diesel exhaust emissions pose health hazards to workers.

“The operator is at the heart of this machine, and we have challenged ourselves to deliver the comfort, power, control and precision which we believe will surpass the expectations of professional operators,” says Cedric Durand, director product management.

In preparation for its sales start atBauma 2022(October 24 – 30), the prototype SV17e is currently undergoing a product testing regime including field tests.

If you don’t want to wait until Bauma to see the new SV17e in action, Yanmar Compact Equipment has prepared a short film.Watch the SV17e video here: 

Did you miss our previous article…
https://blackstonelandscapingdesign.com/?p=712

Echo’s focus on vertical integration accelerates growth

Echo’s focus on vertical integration accelerates growth

The Green Industry has not been immune to the supply chain concerns and many landscapers have been concerned about the availability of equipment headed into 2022. But thanks to a long-time focus on vertical integration, ECHO Incorporated has been able to weather some of that storm. In fact, as the company embarks on its 50th anniversary in 2022, it is apt timing that they recently announced the purchase of an additional 103,000 square foot warehouse and a 20-acre campus in Lake Zurich, Illinois.

According to Ryan Ladley, Echo’s vice president of operations, production has been increasingly focused on vertical integration to help lower costs, be more flexible, and quickly respond to rising product demand.

“The more that we are able to bring in-house, the better we are able to respond to the market,” he says. “Rather than having to wait for a six-week shipment from overseas or even a one-week shipment domestically, we can respond in a matter of days. We think that’s critical when it comes to getting our product to dealers and supporting our customers as best as we can.”

While the timing is optimal with the current supply chain issues, Ladley is quick to point out that this isn’t something new Echo is doing. The focus has always been on vertical integration and proactive measures to best support the end-user.

“We are investing in property to support our growth—not just now but for the future, too,” he says. “We have always been focused on being proactive so that we are never caught by surprise. We are doing what we can to alleviate bottlenecks and ensure we can get product to customers quickly.”

Better control


A look inside the engine adjustment room where all Echo products are tested and adjusted to meet quality and emission standards.Echo, Inc.

While there’s no question that bringing more work in-house is preventing product shortages, it’s also had a positive impact on quality control.

“We can only control what goes on within our four walls here—so the more we bring here, the more control we have,” Ladley explains. “This is another way we are making sure that we are truly providing customers with the best.”

Ladley says that Echo has expanded in-house injection molding capability and capacity. They have also vertically integrated with assembly automation. This includes the company’s ongoing efforts to automate to improve the safety, quality, and efficiency of the overall operation. 

“These steps that we are taking help us to take control of our own destiny,” he says. “Many of these efforts started 12 years ago and we are now seeing them pay off with the current situation. But we are always looking at ways that we can improve and that will help us until the future, too.” 

Growth for the Echo team

echo.png
Palletizing robot head B transfers cartons from the products pick lane to its pallet position below.Echo, Inc.

Ladley says that much of the effort has also been focused on building the best team. After all, it’s the team of folks behind the Echo products that help the company see success.

“The only thing that gets me as excited as the amazing products that we make is the people that we have here,” he continues. “We have always been focused on promoting from within and that has helped us to vertically integrate as well. As we add more robotics and automation into production, we are paving the way for our people to learn new skills. We are creating new roles and new opportunities and that’s exciting now and for the future, too.” 

Did you miss our previous article…
https://blackstonelandscapingdesign.com/?p=699

Bobcat reimagines the UTV with its new UW53, UW56 Toolcats

Bobcat reimagines the UTV with its new UW53, UW56 Toolcats

Bobcat has redefined what a utility terrain vehicle is and does with the release of the new UW53 and UW56 Toolcats.

The pair have been engineered to combine the abilities of several machines and accept more than 45 attachments, turning them into haulers, lifters, mowers, towers and loaders.

LED illumination

The new UTV models include redesigned LED lighting that gives broader illumination and uses less power. The road lights are embedded in the front fenders providing good protection and visibility in all directions.

Rear work lights also use LED bulbs to help you see better. And a new optional rearview camera gives you visibility into blind spots for tasks that require regular machine maneuvering. The rear-frame location of the camera provides an unobstructed view when connecting a ball hitch (UW56 model only).

Smooth ride, traction for work

Bobcat updated its dual-drive response system for smoother acceleration and deceleration, and it also recalls drive response settings. The first setting gives you a smooth response for driving between tasks.

The second setting changes the system to a more aggressive response when operating in low to maintain hydraulic and traction power for uninterrupted work. This allows you to adjust your travel speed independently from your engine speed for optimal attachment performance and precise acceleration.

Tight space turns

With all-wheel steer, the Toolcats easily move around tight spaces with minimal ground disturbance. Hydraulic power makes steering easy, even in soft dirt or boggy conditions. The standard HVAC system forces air distribution where it’s needed most with the help of newly positioned 360-degree adjustable vents.

Operators will also enjoy several comfort upgrades. The redesigned interior has an integrated 5-inch display and storage spots within easy access. Controls are ergonomically placed for ease of operation.

A larger fuel filter and extended oil-drain intervals, plus increased corrosion resistance, boost uptime and reduce maintenance. The standard Bob-Tach mounting system makes it easy to attach your work tools. 

Did you miss our previous article…
https://blackstonelandscapingdesign.com/?p=684