Caterpillar recently announced the release of 16 new Cat D3 series skid steer loader (SSL) and compact track loader (CTL) models.
The company says these machines advance the D and D2 series’ reputation for quality, comfort and performance and deliver improvements in operator experience and track loader stability.
Cat adds that the D3 series models also support a line of new smart attachments, and the machine technology recognizes certain attachments and tailors the controls and operator information to match the tool and task.
The D3 series is equipped with an enclosed cab, and the company says the distance between the joystick pods has increased by 3 inches.
The company says the D3 series CTLs deliver improved operating stability while handling heavy loads, grading or truck loading. Cat says changes to the undercarriage frame and torsion axles reduce machine pitching and rocking, while still offering ride comfort.
Cat says all D3 series CTLs feature standard two-speed travel to improve performance at the jobsite, and the company says they are geared to deliver high torque digging performance as well as high top-end speed for travel.
The company says the Cat 279D3 and 289D3 loaders boast an 8.4 mph top-end ground speed. The company says the Cat 239D3 and 249D3 models are now built with 2-speed transmission as standard, increasing travel speed by nine percent and aligning these models with the rest of the two-speed equipped CTL model range.
Cat says the D3 series Cat SSL and CTL models deliver smart technology that ushers in a higher level of integration between the machine and new smart attachments. The company says this technology will allow the D3 series Cat SSL and CTL models to automatically recognize smart attachments and convert machine controls to align with the operational and informational needs of that attachment.
The company says these machines are now bundled together with the dual direction self-level feature so that even more operators will be able to take advantage of features that automate machine functions to allow these tasks to be completed with less interaction and expertise.
Along with the D3 series introduction, Cat says the previous XHP performance model identifier used with the 272 and 299 models has been replaced with XE badge. The company says the 272D3 XE and 299D3 XE models represent the highest performance and most advanced technology available to customers in the Cat SSL and CTL line.
Also included in the D3 series CTL family is the new purpose-built Cat 299D3 XE Land Management CTL, which the company says delivers superior performance in demanding vegetation-management applications, such as mulching, brush cutting, vegetation control and mowing.
The company says this machine boasts a turbocharged 110 gross horsepower Cat C3.8 engine that combines with a 40 gpm high-flow/high-pressure auxiliary hydraulic system, producing a hydraulic horsepower rating of 94 horsepower.
Cat says the 299D3 XE Land Management has a 58.1-gallon fuel capacity, which is 80 percent larger than the tank on standard 299D3 XE model and is sized to provide an estimated run time of 11 to 12 hours, and it features a one-piece sealed and pressurized cab.
Cat says additional seals, covers and other special parts are standard for the 299D3 XE Land Management machine to restrict debris and other materials from entering the engine compartment and lower frame while large removable panels provide access to aid in routine cleaning.
The company says a turbine-type pre-cleaner ejects dust, dirt and debris from engine-intake airflow before it reaches the filter, thus extending air-filter service life.
The company says the 299D3 XE Land Management model also comes factory-equipped with components that provide guarding to protect front and rear LED work lights, work-tool coupler area, work-tool electrical harness connections and auxiliary-hydraulic quick-disconnect fittings from impact and debris that are often hazards in land-clearing applications.
Cat adds that the cooling system’s hydraulically driven fan operates only when required to save fuel, while the reversing fan feature clears intake screens of debris.
John Deere releases augmented reality experience
John Deere recently unveiled an augmented reality experience that they say allows Apple iPhone or iPad users the ability to interact with a virtual John Deere Z994R diesel ZTrak zero-turn mower.
With this new feature, the company says customers can use their iPhone to drop the mower into their surroundings, whether it be their yard, or in unexpected places such as their work cubicle.
“We see our customers increasingly using digital media to do research and be entertained,” says Jaremy Flake, manager, marketing communication, John Deere. “We want to attract them to our products by making it fun, then give them the information they need. With this experience, they are able to interact with our equipment – without physically going to the dealership – and then have an opportunity to learn more about the product.”
Using the link on the Z994R model page of the company’s website, John Deere says users with an iOS12 device can drop the machine into the space around them using quick look technology.
John Deere says this augmented reality experience enables users to spin the mower around, resize it and go inside the mower deck to see the blades. The company says users can go to the John Deere website using the Safari browser to enjoy this experience without downloading a special application, making it easily accessible to John Deere customers.
“There are all kinds of possibilities with this technology, and I think we’re going to see a lot more of this in the future,” says Flake. “Just like John Deere is leading in equipment, we’re striving to do the same in how we engage with our customers.”
Stihl donates battery equipment to The Fuller Center for Housing
Stihl Inc. has announced its collaboration with The Fuller Center for Housing, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that seeks to eradicate poverty housing by partnering with local community leaders and organizers to build and refurbish homes.
Stihl says it’s supplying battery-powered mowers and accessories valued at $72,000 to support The Fuller Center for Housing’s promise to provide adequate shelter for people in need worldwide.
“All the houses we build or restore have something in common — a yard, and yards require maintenance,” says David Snell, president of The Fuller Center for Housing. “This gift from Stihl will be of tremendous help to these families as they strive to maintain their new homes. We’ve learned that one new, well-kept home goes a long way towards improving entire neighborhoods, so the benefit of this gift will go well beyond the new homeowner. We are truly grateful to Stihl for this most generous contribution to making the world a better place for us all.”
The company says it has previously supported the organization through the donation of battery products in 2016.
“The Fuller Center is a vital resource for those in need,” says Roger Phelps, corporate communications manager for Stihl Inc. “We want to help The Fuller Center’s mission by empowering these families with the products they need to easily maintain their new properties. Stihl battery-powered mowers will allow them to do this with at a low operating cost, and with virtually zero ongoing maintenance required.”
Permeable pavement used in pickleball court repair
A Sun RV Resorts property, Hidden Ridge RV Resort, recently converted its tennis court into a pickleball court.
The tennis court was asphalt with acrylic coatings and a gravel base. In 2019, Hidden Ridge had to address the deteriorating condition of the playing surface.
“Expansion and contraction of the underlying clay soil resulted in settling and sinking of the asphalt in some areas, heaving in others and extensive cracking,” says Brian Mingerink, resort manager, Hidden Ridge RV Resort. “We had to solve the problem before the start of this year’s summer season.”
When a tennis court is severely damaged, the conventional solution is to replace the surface.
“Hidden Ridge had already replaced the court once before,” says Mingerink. “It did not make sense to do that again only to have to replace it yet again down the line. The resort wanted a more durable, long-lasting solution and needed the job done quickly.”
It was suggested that the resort, instead, use Porous Pave for the new court. The company says the product’s XLS formulation is 100 percent recycled rubber chips mixed with a liquid binder. When the material sets up, it establishes an impact-absorbing permeable surface. The rubber content imparts sufficient flexural strength, so the material has the flexibility to withstand freeze-thaw cycles without cracking.
“We had used Porous Pave XLS for the surface of the 1,200-square-foot splash pad installed adjacent to the Hidden Ridge swimming pool in 2018,” says Jarid Killeen, project manager, Sport Court Construction based in Paw Paw, Michigan. “It was quick and easy to install and performs well. Instead of replacing the courts, we could restore them with a coat of the material, which would provide a more durable surface.”
The job took five days (including site preparation and putting down the court lines), and the new surface was immediately ready for play.
The permeable pavement has 27 percent void space, and it can drain up to 5,800 gallons of water per hour per square foot. It drains and dries quickly after rain events and the surface is quickly playable without having to use squeegee to remove water.
Innovative Turf Services’ team to join Advance Turf Solutions
Advanced Turf Solutions recently announced that Marc Petrus, president of the Virginia-based distributor Innovative Turf Services, Inc., is joining its team starting Sept. 1.
With Petrus and Innovative Turf Services’ sales team on board, Advanced Turf Solutions says it plans to expand its business into the Commonwealth of Virginia this fall. In anticipation of this expansion, the company says it will be purchasing most of Innovative Turf Services’ operational assets.
“It’s a natural fit,” says Victor Garcia, CEO of Advanced Turf Solutions. “Innovative Turf Services has a talented team of support and sales staff, and we share many of the same premium product lines.”
The company says this expansion into Virginia will increase Advance Turf’s service area to 15 states. Innovative Turf Services has one location in Ashland, Virginia, which will remain open and start operating under the Advanced Turf Solutions brand on Sept. 1.
“The entire Innovative Turf Services team is excited about becoming part of the Advanced Turf family,” says Petrus. “Joining Advanced Turf Solutions will allow us to expand into new markets and also provide our current customers many new opportunities, which we are excited about.”
Fecon introduces new deck mulcher attachments
Fecon has introduced a collection of deck mulcher attachments that the company says are wider than conventional deck mulchers, providing more productivity per pass.
The company says a robust bearing carrier houses a heavy-duty bearing with an oversized shaft, and specially designed two-sided blades effectively double their service life without having to flip the blade.
Fecon says a stump-jumper feature allows the deck mulcher to ride over stumps without risking bolt shearing; the extra blade mass also increases cutting inertia and enhances performance in thicker materials.
The company says these machines can mulch smaller materials faster than traditional drum mulchers, making them ideal for right-of-way clearing and maintenance projects, forestry clearing, site preparation, land improvement, highway mulching and maintenance, urban interface and more.
Fecon says the forged blade bolts are 11 percent larger and feature larger hex interface and blade rotating surface for stronger mating with components and longer service life, and the armor coated rear deck area is designed to withstand any potential impact.
The company also says the integrated tie downs and lift points simplify transportation and maintenance, and the brush grabber inlets help to pull debris from fence rows or piles.
Fecon adds that the open-front is designed for the directional discharge of the unit, and when the blades are spinning clockwise, the discharge is to the right front.
When mulching in long rows, such as along highways and utility R.O.W projects, the company says operators can complete a row, allow a few minutes for hydraulic fittings to cool, then change the blade direction by reversing the fittings.
The company says these mulchers are available in three sizes with cutting widths of 62-, 74- and 86-inches, weights from 1,950 to 2,450 pounds and hydraulic flow requirements from 17 to 41 gpm.
The National Garden Bureau announces five classes for the 2020 “Year of the” program
The National Garden Bureau (NGB) has announced the four plant classes that will be featured in the 2020 “Year of the” program:
- For the bulb crop, 2020 will be the Year of the Iris.
- For annuals, 2020 will be the Year of the Lantana.
- For edibles, 2020 will be the Year of the Corn.
- For perennials, 2020 will be the Year of the Lavender.
New for 2020 is the category of flowering shrubs, which for 2020 will be the Year of the Hydrangea.
The NGB says the “Year of the” program chooses crops specifically for the North American market that are easy to grow, genetically diverse and with a lot of new breeding to showcase. Breeders, brokers, seed companies, growers and garden centers throughout the U.S. and Canada are urged to highlight these flowers and plants when planning their marketing for the 2020 season.