Jacobsen, a Textron Inc. company, announced today that its latest generation riding greens mower, the Eclipse® 322, has begun full production at the company’s manufacturing center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
These latest mowers from Jacobsen are like nothing else in their class. Available in three models: battery, gasoline hybrid and diesel hybrid, they have been designed to lower operating costs, increase productivity and provide cutting consistency on all types of greens.
Whatever option is selected, two unique features stand out; each machine is totally free of hydraulics and they can be customized to meet the specific requirements of any golf course.
For all models the traction motor and reel motors are electrically driven, but there’s a choice of power units. In the all-electric version, six 8-volt, deep cycle lead acid batteries are used to power the 2.2 kW AC traction drive motor and the three 0.97 kW DC reel drives.
In the hybrid versions, internal combustion engines are linked to a 48-volt 5.8 kW continuous generator, which provides electric current to power the traction motor and the reel drives. There’s a choice of either a Briggs & Stratton® 14 hp air-cooled Vanguard V-twin gas engine or a Kubota® 13.3 hp 2-cylinder liquid cooled diesel engine.
Brian Melka, Jacobsen’s director of product management said: “We’ve given golf course owners and managers a choice of power units dependant upon their specific requirements, which has to be a first for the industry. The battery version is ideal for courses with homes, hotels and condos close by and for those especially concerned about the environment. This is the ‘greenest’ mower available today, with no emissions at the point of use. This mower can reduce operating costs by up to 86% when compared to a traditional hydraulic greens mower. It saves up to 630 gallons of fuel annually, produces 26 fewer gallons of waste oil and reduces labor costs by up to 15 hours each year.
“The two hybrid versions also reduce fuel costs because they do not have large engines powering big hydraulic pumps; all they are doing is providing power to a genset to create the current to drive the relevant traction and reel motors. We have calculated that these hybrids reduce fuel use up to 180 gallons a year, produce 18 gallons less waste oil and can save up to 35% on operating costs.”
Innovation has always been at the forefront of Jacobsen’s new product development and using electric motor technology totally negates the use of hydraulic oil. And that means NO leak points, NO broken hoses, NO hydraulic fluid trails across greens and NO hydraulic maintenance costs.
From the operator’s perspective, everything has been ergonomically designed to minimize fatigue; the controls are all comfortably within reach and the view to the cutting units is unobstructed for consistent and precise mowing.
These next generation greens mowers are the most technologically advanced in the golf industry. Their ‘steer by wire’ steering system eliminates the need for mechanical links, cables and hydraulic hoses, but still provides dynamic feedback to the operator, mimicking the feel of a hydraulic or cable-operated steering system.
The reel control system allows for each reel to operate independently. With the center cutting unit raised it is possible to cut in one direction, return in the other direction and give the striping effect of a walking greens mower. With all three cutting reels in use, a 62 inch cutting width is achieved. Individual reel control also allows the operator to minimize the wear pattern known as triplex ring.
The traction wheel drive is provided by an AC electric motor, which provides exceptional torque, dynamic braking and regenerative power. The parking brake is applied automatically when the vehicle stops and then released automatically when the traction pedal is engaged. This reduces operator fatigue and makes the machine very easy to get on and off.
The operator platform has been designed for ultimate comfort. The steering column tilts forward and back to provide the best operating position and the pivoting side arm control unit houses the lift and lower joystick, various switches, LCD screen and storage box complete with 12-volt DC power outlet for accessories. A padded rubber floor mat ensures secure footing when mounting or exiting the platform and a rollover protection structure (ROPS) is fitted as standard. A high intensity LED headlight provides a wide beam for illuminating work areas.
Like the Eclipse 100 series walkers, these ride-on versions feature advanced electronics including Frequency of Clip (FOC) control. This allows the course superintendent to tailor the FOC using a number of variables, but primarily this means that each machine in a fleet can be set to exactly the same FOC, providing identical finishes on all greens, irrespective of operator or machine. The result is exact consistency of finish, better playing surfaces and healthier turf.
The groundbreaking yet simple electronics of the Eclipse 322 gives the course superintendent ultimate control over mowing operations on golf greens. Mowing speeds can be controlled to a maximum of 5 mph and transport speeds up to 9 mph. Similarly, the FOC can be adjusted: from 0.05 to 0.25 in. for the 11-blade reel and 0.08 to 0.39 in. for the 7-blade option.
Maintenance has become much easier with the introduction of these new machines. Full on-board diagnostics and monitoring are displayed through an LCD screen and on LED readouts on the controllers. There are no additional diagnostic tools or attachments required. A flip up hood gives easy access to the engine bay. There’s a swing-out center unit providing easy access for routine cleaning, adjustment and overhaul. The lack of hydraulics results in fewer wearing parts and reduced oil disposal costs.
The Eclipse 322 is more than just a ride-on greens mower; it is a Total Greens Management System with Classic XP™ reels, verticut units, Quick Roll™ attachments, spikers, Turf Groomer®, various rollers, and a powered roller brush. With no hydraulics to consider, it is easier to change these attachments, which saves time and increases productivity.
Jacobsen’s vice-president, sales and marketing Martin Levy concluded: “At Jacobsen we have listened to the marketplace and our engineers have produced a ‘next generation’ greens mower that meets the requirements of today’s golf community. We have proved that electric and hybrid technology works with our walking Eclipse range and now, with the Eclipse 322, we have a riding greens mower packed with innovative features that provide superb functionality, superior performance and reduced operating costs.”
Ransomes Jacobsen www.ransomesjacobsen.com