As a superintendent/greenkeeper, turf manager, equipment manager, or other supervisor responsible for golf course maintenance, there are many aspects you are judged on every single day. Some that stand out include:
- Quality of turf and overall playing conditions
- Consistency from hole to hole (or area to area)
Golfers expect the highest level of playing conditions every time they play, and they expect hole #1 to play the same as hole #18. Over the years, those demands have increased as they continue to see picturesque tournaments on television.
However, one of the toughest challenges in the industry today is labor. With unemployment rates at very low levels and wages increasing, it is difficult to find labor, and when you do find it, it’s often unskilled. Skilled, experienced operators can typically provide the daily quality that you are seeking. However, how do you take those new, less-skilled operators and make them perform like a 20-year veteran? For some, they may have never worked on a golf course before or may have limited general equipment operating experience.
That’s where the 2700 and 2750 PrecisionCut™ and E-Cut™ Hybrid Triplex Mowers can to help. The key is the advanced TechControl display, which allows you to enter a multitude of operating parameters to gain more control over your operators’ performance. In addition, the TechControl display is passcode protected, meaning that operators cannot do anything to override the settings that you have programmed without having the passcode. The operator can see limited information to operate the machine, such as:
- Operating mode (park, transport, mow)
- Fuel level
- Hour meter
- Warning indicators/alarms
No matter how many machines you have, if you set them all up the same, they will all perform the same regardless of operator.
As a turf professional responsible for your course, there’s a certain level of care you would take if you were operating a triplex mower yourself. The advanced TechControl display on the 2700 and 2750 PrecisionCut™ and E-Cut™ Hybrid Triplex Mowers allows you to build a similar level of care into how your operators are allowed to mow. It also allows newer operators to match the cut quality and consistency of veteran operators by putting you in control of key performance characteristics.
As a trusted supervisor, the passcode-protected TechControl display allows you to control a range of operating parameters, including:
- Reel operating modes
- Frequency of clip
- Engine operating modes
- Maximum mowing speed
- Cruise control
- LoadMatch™ speed setting
- Turn speed
- Maximum transport speed
- Cleanup pass speed
- Cutting unit lift rates
- Cutting unit drop rates
- Cutting unit front-to-rear timing
By giving you control of the operating parameters that operators must stay within, the result is better, more consistent cut quality and overall playing conditions. In addition, you get improved consistency from hole to hole, regardless of which operator is operating the machine. The passcode protection helps prevent operators from overriding any of the parameters that have been set, giving you more control over the performance of each operator.
For many years, John Deere fixed-head walk greens mowers have featured automatic frequency of clip control. Due to the chain drive system linking the traction drum to the reel, the same frequency of clip is maintained at all ranges of the engine throttle. At higher engine speeds, the reel speeds up in proportion to the increased speed of the traction drum. At lower engine speeds, the reel slows down in proportion to the traction drum. What this means is the same frequency of clip is maintained from machine to machine and operator to operator, regardless of the engine throttle position.
With labor availability becoming more of a challenge, recent industry trends show more courses going back to triplex mowers on greens to increase productivity.
But can a triplex match the cut quality of a walk behind? With the Frequency of Clip mode within the TechControl display on all 2700 and 2750 PrecisionCut™ and E-Cut™ Hybrid Triplex Mowers, that level of cut quality can be achieved regardless of the operator. In fact, the 2700 and 2750 PrecisionCut Triplex Mowers are the only hydraulic reel drive triplex mowers in the industry that can control frequency of clip.
Within the passcode-protected TechControl display, the supervisor has the ability to select Frequency of Clip mode. After pressing the menu button, the supervisor enters the following parameters:
- Number of blades on the reel
- Reel speed
- Mow speed
Based on these parameters, the machine will calculate and display the frequency of clip that the machine will target to achieve. If there is a certain frequency of clip you desire, simply change the mow and reel speeds to find that setting. Or, you may decide that a different reel blade count is required to get the frequency of clip that you want to achieve. Once you exit the setup screen, the parameters are set for the operator to mow.
The mow speed that is set is the maximum mowing speed that the operator can mow at. A veteran operator may choose to mow at the maximum mowing speed, while a newly trained operator may elect to mow slower by not fully depressing the pedal.
However, the frequency of clip does not change on the 2700 and 2750 Triplex Mowers based on these different mowing speeds. It is maintained regardless of ground speed. The reel speed automatically adjusts to the requested ground speed from the foot pedal. Even though a newly trained operator may mow at a reduced speed, the reels slow down automatically in proportion to maintain the same frequency of clip as an experienced operator. This means consistent cut quality from hole to hole all day long, regardless of the operator.
For all 2700 and 2750 PrecisionCut and E-Cut Hybrid Triplex Mowers, the reel speed sensor and foot pedal position sensor communicate with one another to maintain frequency of clip. The foot pedal position sensor indicates the requested ground speed from the operator, and the reel speed automatically adjusts accordingly. Wheel speed sensors in the hydraulic wheel motors communicate with the eHydro™ system to match the actual ground speed to the requested ground speed.
Within the advanced TechControl display, you can run the engine in Eco mode for general mowing conditions, especially on greens. In Eco mode, the engine will run at 2250 rpm with the power take-off (PTO) engaged. As load demand increases due to conditions such as lush grass or climbing a hill, the engine speed can increase to as much as 2700 rpm. It all happens automatically without any operator input other than engaging the mow switch.
A passcode must be entered to select the engine mode that you want the operator to use. Once Eco mode has been selected, there is nothing the operator needs to do to activate it. Also, there is nothing the operator can do to mow outside of Eco mode. Once the mow switch is engaged, the engine will automatically go to 2250 rpm. As additional load is encountered, the engine rpm will automatically increase without any input from the operator.
Eco mode is friendly to the operating budget, as well as the operator. In this mode, you will see up to 30 percent reduction in fuel consumption, and up to a 5 dB(A) reduction in sound levels (depending on the model). It also works across all 2700 and 2750 PrecisionCut™ and E-Cut™ Hybrid Triplex Mowers. Fuel savings and noise reduction are no longer reserved for hybrid machines.
Some of the highest load conditions are cold mornings where the hydraulic oil has not yet come up to operating temperature. In these conditions, the hydraulic oil temperature sensor integrates with Eco mode to ensure there is power available to handle the task. This smart system will quickly bring the oil up to operating temperature by:
- Increasing engine rpm to 3000
- Shutting off diverter valve
- Shutting off engine cooling fan
As the oil reaches certain temperature thresholds, the diverter valve will be enabled, the cooling fan will be turned back on, and the engine will return to normal Eco speed (2250 rpm). Normal Eco operation will resume once the hydraulic tank temperature is 50°C (122°F).
Triplex mowers are some of the most versatile reel mowers around and mow in a wide variety of applications where quality of cut on contours can be a challenge, including:
In these challenging conditions, a triplex mower must be able to handle not only the upward and downward contours, but also side-to-side rolling terrain and perimeter cuts. Contour following is an area where the 2700 and 2750 PrecisionCut™ and E-Cut™ Hybrid Triplex Mowers truly excel.
With its innovative three-axis lift system, the 2700 and 2750 Triplex Mowers are packed full of contour following capability, including:
- 42 degrees of upward and downward movement (21 degrees upward, 21 degrees downward)
- 36 degrees of lateral roll movement (18 degrees each direction)
- 36 degrees of front cutting unit steering (18 degrees each direction)
- 17 degrees of rear cutting unit steering (8.5 degrees each direction)
All of this built-in capability ensures excellent cut quality on tough contours and tight perimeters.
The system consists of a series of ball joints, sealed bearings, and non-metallic bushings, providing excellent reliability and durability. Best of all, the system is completely maintenance free with zero grease points. There are three independent lift cylinders, and the lift/lower valve goes into float when the cutting units are lowered to allow for the contour following system to do its job.
An integrated weight transfer spring for each cutting unit helps transfer weight from the cutting unit to the traction unit. These springs do an excellent job in minimizing opportunities for marking and step cutting in turns, providing a high level of cut quality in perimeters. There are two operating positions for this spring: a forward position and a rearward position. In most conditions and applications, the spring will be operated in the forward position. This will transfer approximately 18 kg (40 lb) from the cutting unit onto the traction unit. In more aggressive undulations where quicker contour following response is needed, the rearward position can be used, which reduces the weight transfer by 4.5 kg (10 lb).
The 18 degrees of steering is very important, especially on greens, for maintaining high levels of cut quality in turns and in perimeter passes. The system allows the cutting units to steer as the machine steers, helping to minimize opportunities for scalping while maintaining a consistent height of cut. In combination with the weight transfer springs, the steering system helps provide consistent quality of cut with less opportunities for marking and step cutting in cleanup passes.
However, there are some situations where you may not want as much cutting unit steering, such as highly undulating terrain in fairways, surrounds, and approaches. The standard cutting unit steering limiters provide the capability for the supervisor to lock out the cutting unit steering system to reduce the opportunity for uncut strips. This system provides flexibility to limit steering both in the inward and outward directions independently. With the limiters on both sides disengaged, they allow for full steering of the cutting unit. When engaged on the front cutting units (as shown), steering is limited to 9 degrees, or in combination with moving two washers, steering can be completely locked out to 0 degrees. Engaging the steering limiters on the rear cutting unit completely locks out the steering to 0 degrees.
A dual chain attaching system makes sure the cutting unit is square to the turf at all times during the lift and lower cycle and helps to maintain cutting unit stability when mowing hillsides. This can minimize any potential marking on cutting unit drop. The patented position of the lateral roll axis of the contour following system is close to the center of gravity of the cutting unit, keeping the cutting units very stable in transport.
Grass catchers must be easily accessible for the operator, easy to use, and retain grass clippings both in mow and transport. The grass catcher system on the 2700 and 2750 PrecisionCut™ and E-Cut™ Hybrid Triplex Mowers delivers on all of these requirements.
An open station platform provides easy access to every grass catcher, including the rear grass catcher. All three grass catchers can be easily removed and installed with one hand, and an adjustable grab handle can be installed in a fore/aft or side-to-side orientation for the operator’s preference.
One of the challenges with grass catchers is designing them to be easy to remove and install, but without sacrificing their ability to stay on while encountering bumpy terrain in transport. An innovative hook design on the grass catchers of the 2700 and 2750 Triplex Mowers changes this from a design tradeoff to a reality. To remove the grass catcher, the operator simply pushes the grass catcher toward the operator’s station and lifts upward. Pushing in overcomes the notch in the hook and allows the grass catcher to be removed. During transport, the notch in the hook helps secure the catcher in rough terrain.
Grass catchers are offered in either translucent yellow or traditional black. The translucent yellow offers several advantages:
- The on-course supervisor can see clippings in the catcher and direct operators to empty catchers as needed.
- The operator has better visibility to clippings in catcher to know when to empty catchers.
- Catchers are easier to see in early morning and late evening conditions for better visibility of pass-to-pass overlap and edges of perimeter cuts.
All grass catchers feature an asymmetrical design, meaning that the left-hand side of the catcher is slightly larger than the right side. The reason for this is that due to the helical shape of the reel, the grass clippings always move to the left. In traditional grass catchers with symmetrical designs, this means that the clippings tend to pile up more in the left side of the catcher and can lower the effective height of cut on the left-hand side relative to the right-hand side, leading to step cutting as the catcher fills. This innovative design evens out the flow of clippings side to side, minimizing the opportunity for step cutting or scalping as the catcher fills up with clippings.
A deep air flow vent is molded into the top of the catcher to help make sure that clippings coming from the reel go into the catcher and stay in the catcher.
The grass catcher system on the 2700 and 2750 is an excellent blend of performance and ease of use without sacrifices.
To maximize fuel economy and lower operating costs, the 2700 PrecisionCut™ and E-Cut™ Hybrid Triplex Mowers feature a KOHLER Command PRO® EFI ECH630 air-cooled gasoline engine. Engines featuring EFI technology operate more efficiently than carbureted engines, saving fuel while in both mow and transport mode. This V-twin engine offers 14.2 kW (19 hp) gross power (per SAE J1995 at 3600 rpm) for plenty of power while operating in a wide range of conditions, including verticutting.
In Eco mode, sensor technology within the engine automatically adapts the engine speed to the load required, improving fuel economy by delivering the precise amount of fuel required based on the load conditions encountered. An electronic throttle body controls the air on the intake side, which allows for optimized power production and a fast load response.
For the operator, the EFI engine offers an easy-to-use starting system that operates just like a car and does not require a choke. Simply turn the key; the engine will start, and the operator is ready to go.
In combination with the electronically controlled engine, the 2700 PrecisionCut and E-Cut Hybrid Triplex Mowers also feature the AutoPedal™ system. This feature ties the ground speed and the engine speed together in transport, meaning a more car-like operation. With the foot pedal not activated, the engine will operate at idle, saving fuel. When transporting, the further the operator pushes the traction pedal, the higher the engine speed and the higher the travel speed.
KOHLER and Command PRO are trademarks of Kohler Co.
Within the advanced TechControl display, you can control how fast your operators are able to turn at the end of a pass on the 2700 and 2750 PrecisionCut™ and E-Cut™ Hybrid Triplex Mowers. This feature, called Turn Speed, is a passcode-protected setting that the operator does not have access to and is adjustable independent of mowing speed.
By limiting how fast the operator can turn once the reels are raised, you can expect less opportunities for scuffing or marking in turns, improving overall aftercut appearance and turf quality. Turn Speed automatically engages and goes to the preset speed in mow when the cutting units are lifted at the end of a pass. Once the reels are lowered again to begin mowing, the speed automatically goes back to mow speed.
Typically, supervisors will want to set the turn speed to lower than the mow speed, especially on greens and other areas with tighter turns. However, for applications such as fairways where turns may be longer, you can set the turn speed to be as high as 9.7 km/h (6 mph) to increase productivity. By allowing the turn speed to be adjusted independently of mow speed, the supervisor has the flexibility to adjust for conditions, terrain, and productivity.
Turn Speed is an innovative system on the 2700 and 2750 PrecisionCut and E-Cut Hybrid Triplex Mowers that reads both wheel speed sensors. When the system detects a tight turn by seeing a large difference in speed between the outside and inside wheel motors, it automatically compensates to make the turn speed even more gentle, providing less opportunities for marking and scuffing of the turf. As with all of the other settings within the advanced TechControl display, the influence of the operator is minimized, providing better, consistent results from operator to operator.
Ask almost any operator what their biggest challenge when mowing is, and many will tell you it is accurately mowing the perimeters. It’s an area where the slightest mistake is easily seen, such as scalps from going too far into the collar or an uneven cut by staying too far inward from the edge. On many triplex mowers today, this is a challenge because the operator has to not only focus on site lines and steering, but also feathering the traction speed as most operators cannot accurately mow a perimeter at full speed. What happens is that operators want to avoid scalps, and the areas they mow tend to get smaller over time.
The 2700 and 2750 PrecisionCut™ and E-Cut™ Hybrid Triplex Mowers provide an innovative solution with the Cleanup Pass mode within the advanced TechControl display. The ability to set the speed is within the passcode-protected portion of the display, and the supervisor can set the specific cleanup pass speed.
To operate the Cleanup Pass mode, the machine must be in mow and the park brake disengaged. The language symbol will change to a drawing of a green. When the operator is ready to mow the perimeter, they simply press the button under the green symbol on the TechControl operating screen, and the machine will go to a reduced cleanup speed. This sets a new, reduced maximum mowing speed without having to feather the pedal. Once the operator completes the cleanup pass, simply lifting the reels automatically disengages Cleanup Pass mode to ensure that the next green is not mowed at a slower speed.
Cleanup Pass mode can be engaged on-the-go with the reels in either the raised or lowered position. The operator is not required to let off of the forward pedal at all. If the pedal is already pushed to its maximum mowing speed, pressing the button to engage Cleanup Pass mode automatically reduces the traction speed.
The Cleanup Pass mode can work in combination with Frequency of Clip mode, and when the two are used together, the reels automatically slow down when Cleanup Pass mode is engaged to keep the clip rate the same.
The benefit to the operator is improved ease of use. They no longer have to feather the pedal to find the right cleanup speed. Their main focus becomes steering and sight lines. The benefit to the superintendent, equipment manager, or other trusted supervisor is an improved quality of cut and improved consistency of playing surfaces regardless of the operator, as well as a nice, crisp, accurate perimeter cut.
One of the challenges of an open station design is access to the center cutting unit for servicing, whether accessing adjustments such as height of cut and bedknife to reel or removing the cutting unit for repair or reel grinding.
On the technician-friendly 2700 and 2750 PrecisionCut™ and E-Cut™ Hybrid Triplex Mowers, the front platform is easily removed from the machine without tools and offers a convenient storage location in front of the steering column that can be used during service.
The foot platform is cast aluminum and weighs only 4.5 kg (10 lb). To remove it from the front of the machine, simply pull on the U-shaped pin on the bottom side of the platform on the foot pedal end. Then, lift up on the platform and pull it forward and away from the machine. The storage location is most easily accessible with the steering column tilted as far toward the seat as possible.
Removing the platform allows for complete access to the center cutting unit, providing plenty of room for easy servicing. It is not necessary to remove the foot platform to remove the center grass catcher, only when servicing the center cutting unit.