The Dore &Totley Golf Club, close to the home of Advanced Turf Technology (ATT) in Sheffield, was recently host to a small group of Press to see ATT’s revolutionary INFiNiSystem™ in action.
The company’s flagship product is the TMSystem™ developed some 10 years ago. It is a product for triplex greens mowers to replace their cutting units with a range of SMART cassettes to enable differing maintenance activities to take place. The system can carry out aeration, brushing, de-thatching, scarifying, top dressing, grooming, levelling and mowing.
The drive behind the company and the products is MD, John Coleman. John’s background is firmly in greenkeeping, from being an award winning Greenkeeper to consulting on courses. John has been involved with renovation projects, being employed on behalf of a course to ensure the contractor was on target and often, once the contractor had completed the job, being retained to maintain the course.
All of his ‘ATT ideas’ have come from this experience. He has been influenced a lot by working with, and talking to various Head Greenkeepers. For example, he found that every single course he worked on used different equipment and he thought it would be much easier to have one piece of equipment that would suit the needs of every course – hence the birth of the TMSystem™ for triplex greens mowers. From that it was a sensible step to develop it into a pedestrian unit, the INFiNiSystem™.
The ATT facility is based within its sister company AET (Advanced Engineering Technology) in Sheffield. AET is a high end engineering subcontractor offering the latest technology from state of the art laser cutting, CNC machining to pressbrakes and fabrication. The company is family owned – a family that John married into. ATT draws heavily on the machinery and experience of AET – a combination of engineering and agronomy to make them experts in their own field.
Since a tie-up with The Grass Group as their selling arm, John has worked closely with Tim Merrell to refine the TMSystem™ by providing a cutting cassette for triplex’s and developing the INFiNiSystem™ into a pedestrian unit to power the full range of TMSystem™ SMART cassettes.
With the inception of a pedestrian maintenance ‘system’, rather than just a mower, the means of powering the unit was altered and now sees the current product exceeding the original one. Power is produced from a dual source to deliver driveto both the traction drive and a cassette’s DC brushlessmotor – either by a petrol engine via a 1.5kw generator, or anominal 48V battery module. They can be quickly swapped,even on course, to suit the working environment. The hybrid configuration improves fuel efficiency whilst the battery drive reduces noise (it was awarded The Quiet Mark in 2013). The 22” INFiNiSystem™ started of life as the INFiNiCut™, a dedicated pedestrian mower. “You can’t just design a new mower,” says John Coleman, “but you can take one and improve on it. For example, weknew that Greenkeepers didn’t like the idea of manually changing the cutting height so we invented something to make that easier – a patented Wrenchless height adjuster in 0.1mm/0.004” click increments.The unique floating head mechanism has a ‘dynamic return’ feature that is constantly trying to spread the weight of the machine evenly, even when on steep slopes.”
The 22” INFiNiSystem™ shares the same cassettes as the TMSystem™ for triplex mowers. There is a 26” version of the INFiNiSystem™ launched recently with a similar range of SMART maintenance cassettes. This version offers increased productivity because of the wide width, but the unique floating head mechanism makes for a no compromise finish due to surface scraping that some competitor machines would have.
After years of developing this range of fine turf maintenance equipment both John and Tim seem almost satisfied with where the products are today but they will no doubt be continually improving the designs. To see the products in action at the Dore & Totley Golf Club Tim Merrell, The Grass Groups MD, described how his team took to the road with trailers loaded with the 22” ATT INFiNiSystem™.
“We have standardised on the 22” pedestrian model for demos because changing one cassette rather than three saves a lot of time. Whilst we carry all the SMART cassettes with us a typical demo will consist of using only three: We’ll start with the SMARTUltraGroomer because it’s something the client is unlikely to have seen before. This makes a huge difference to the surface and is an advancement on a verticutter- it’s just jaw dropping!Greens consistency is what you want – you don’t want greens changing from day to day so preventing a problem happening in the first place makes any issues much easier to deal with.This is a pro-active tool to prevent problems: like keeping puffiness in check – where shoot density increases leading to thatch; minimising poa ingression and reducing organic matter to reduce plant stress. Then we’ll fit the SMARTCut cassette and make a few passes. Lastly we bring the SMARTVibe vibration roller into play to truly level the surface. By that stage the client is hooked, especially when we use the battery power – with no noise the impact is unbelievable!”
Advanced Turf Technology www.advancedtt.com