What you missed at GIE+EXPO

What you missed at GIE+EXPO

Features - GIE+EXPO

It's been a few months, but get up to speed with what you didn't catch at GIE+EXPO earlier this year.

Mean Green’s new robotic mower, ATOM, comes with a 74-inch deck.
Photo courtesy of Lauren Rathmell

Mean Green goes robotic

A new large-scale robotic mower was unveiled at the company’s booth this year.

Mean Green Products, a manufacturer of commercial electric mowers along with The Kobi Company launched a large area robotic mower on the show floor at this year’s GIE+EXPO. The robotic mower features a 74-inch deck and has been dubbed ATOM.

“We are proud to be working with The Kobi Company to convert our latest electric mowers to quiet, zero emission autonomous mowing machines,” said Mean Green Mowers’ President Joe Conrad. “It’s a natural fit to combine our latest commercial electric mowers with high tech robotic automation.”

“We have designed our autonomous mowing module with mower speed, accuracy, and safety in mind. By using the latest in computer vision technology and artificial intelligence, we have been able to produce a system that can easily navigate any environment, even below trees and up close to buildings,” said Kobi CEO Andrew Ewen. “After years of writing code and exhaustive testing, we now have a safe and affordable autonomous solution for commercial landscape operations.”

ATOM features AI technology that allows the mower to recognize humans (and animals) so that it avoids them while in operation. At the Mean Green booth, the company was demonstrating through VR goggles how the mower actually operates.

Photo courtesy of Vermeer

Vermeer launches CTX160 mini skid steer

The machine features a rated (SAE) operating capacity (ROC) of 1,600 pounds at a width of 42 inches.

Vermeer is expanding its line of mini skid steers with the addition of the Vermeer CTX160 mini skid steer.

With a rated (SAE) operating capacity (ROC) of 1,600 pounds, 16.7 gallons per minute of auxiliary hydraulic flow and a width of 42 inches, the CTX160 provides high lifting capabilities while remaining compact and nimble to operate. The new Vermeer mini skid steer can handle jobs such as moving heavy material, working ground-engaging attachments and efficiently maneuvering in congested operating conditions – including passing through a standard gate. 

Brett Newendorp, landscape market manager at Vermeer, said the mini skid steer market continues to see a demand for machines with a higher ROC, and the CTX160 blends lifting performance and a compact body design.

“What makes the mini skid steer loader versatile and unique among tool carriers is its ability to efficiently maneuver where larger loaders can’t,” he said. “We designed the CTX160 to give contractors a class-leading ROC in a small footprint so they get the best of both worlds.”

The Vermeer CTX160 features a vertical lift path design, with a hinge-pin dump height of 88.75 inches for efficient clearance when dumping material in to a trailer or truck. The unit is powered by a 40 horsepower turbocharged Kohler KDI diesel engine that does not require a diesel particulate filter, helping to reduce the cost and complexity of the engine.

Its Vermeer chariot-style ride-on platform has an integrated operator presence system that disengages the loader’s ground drive and attachment motion when the operator steps off the machine.

The Vermeer CTX160 is backed by a 3-year/3000-hour limited warranty on the loader arms. L&L

Toro goes digital

The company has developed its own software that is compatible with any brand.

Toro launched the Horizon app – a software program that can automate your billing system and helps you manually invoice.  

Users can also communicate in real-time with their teams through the app for job notes/photos, proof of service and scheduling, among other items.

“Our continued commitment is to put contractors in the driver seat to help manage the daily chaos flying at them from every angle,” said Dave Francis, senior marketing manager at Toro. “Horizon is built to streamline a contractor’s operation, but we put extreme focus on keeping the platform easy to use and implement. More importantly, Horizon was built to scale with contractors as they grow, from the start to finish of every day and every season.”

Other products released included:

Husqvarna ZTOs. Husqvarna’s new Z400 Series of professional zero-turn mowers features the Parker HTE Series transmission, which is designed to last longer while delivering more power, a quieter performance and 10% better fuel efficiency than the M-ZT Series.

Hustler Stand-on. The Hustler Turf Super 88 stand-on mower is designed to produce the cut quality of a 54-inch deck and productivity of an 88-inch cut, allowing operators to mow faster and with a smaller crew. The Super 88 features a Vanguard 36HP carbureted engine and a Vanguard 37HP EFI engine with oil guard system.

Makita cordless options. Makita unveiled a number of cordless lawn mowers, blowers, chainsaws, string trimmers, hedge trimmers and more – including 10 new models making their debut at the GIE+EXPO. Makita also featured 4-stroke and 2-stroke power equipment, as well as Makita’s expanding line of OPE accessories.

The Makita MM4 4-stroke multi-position engine enables the engine to be inclined at any angle for continuous operation.

Courtesy of Lauren Rathmell


Lieutenant Colonel Rob ‘Waldo’ Waldman discovered not only the value of having your team’s back, but the value of a team that has your back, too.

As a decorated fighter pilot in the US Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Rob Waldman learned early on in his career that your wingmen are your most important asset. “You can’t do it alone,” he said. At the event’s keynote speech, Waldman shared how he thrived in the Air Force and how business owners can have the same mentality to succeed in their professions as well.

Recognize your passion. “Your passion has to be greater than your fear,” he says. He recalled when he first decided he wanted to be a combat pilot. His dad urged him to pick something else because frankly, Waldman was afraid of heights. Before he was even able to step into a cockpit, he had to face a 33 foot diving board in one of his Air Force trainings. “I jumped off that 33 foot diving board,” he says. “Because my passion for being a pilot was greater than the fear of the jump.”

He said getting too comfortable in your career can actually be a danger to your business. “Complacency kills your business,” he says. “Resist the temptation to ease up when you should be pushing up.”

Commit to your mission. “Who is dependent on you?” he says. You have employees relying and depending on the decisions you make every day. He says its up to the business owner to be a coach and mentor the team. “You already had the passion,” he says. “Share it.” You also need to recognize who to go to for help. “Wingmen should never wing it,” he says.

In your business, you may be the most important “family” your employee has. He suggests being aware of whose values you’re shaping as a leader day today.

Commit to your team. “You’re only as strong as your weakest team member,” Waldman says. He encourages business owners to convey to their employees that they do have their back. Waldman recalled a time in the Air Force when he realized his jet didn’t have the full amount of fuel in it. His superior explained to him that he needed to shift his perspective and really think about the people fueling the jets, and step into their shoes. “They are the unsung heroes,” he says.