Ransomes Jacobsen unveiled its latest generation riding greens mower, the Jacobsen Eclipse™ 322, at the BTME Show in Harrogate earlier this week. Featuring a unique hybrid drive system, this latest mower is a radical departure from the hydraulically driven machines of the past 40 years and is like nothing else in its class.
Designed to reduce operating costs and increase productivity, the Eclipse 322 provides cutting consistency on all types of greens, irrespective of the operator.
The hybrid technology in the Eclipse 322 combines a Kubota 13.3 hp 2-cylinder liquid cooled diesel engine with a 48-volt 5.8 kW continuous generator, which provides electric current to power the 2.2 kW AC traction drive motor and the three 0.97 kW DC reel drives.
From this combination, two unique features stand out; the machine is totally free of hydraulic oil and, because of electronic control, it can be customised to meet the specific requirements of any golf course.
Richard Comely, Ransomes Jacobsen’s product manager said, “This machine is a world first in greens mowing. It uses a hybrid system utilising an internal combustion engine and electronic technology to provide power to both the drive wheels and the cutting cylinders. Electric motors are more efficient than their hydraulic counterparts, but have traditionally been rather bulky. New technology provides more power in a smaller package, so now we can harness the efficiency of the electric motor.
“With a more efficient drivetrain, a smaller engine is sufficient to provide enough power. Our tests have proven that we can expect an average reduction in fuel consumption of 43%. We have calculated that the Eclipse 322 can save operators an average of 180 gallons of fuel a year (based on an annual 900 hours of operation). When you consider the reduction in hydraulic oil and filter waste, we believe an owner can expect to save up to 35% on operating costs.”
Innovation has always been at forefront of Ransomes 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 minimise fatigue; the controls are all comfortably within reach and the view to the cutting units is unobstructed for consistent and precise mowing.
This next generation greens mower is the most technologically advanced in the golf industry. The ‘steer by wire’ steering system eliminates the need for mechanical links, cables and hydraulic hoses, but still provides dynamic feedback to the operator, which mimics the feel of a hydraulic or cable-operated steering system.
The all-electric joystick-controlled Lift/Lower system allows the reels to be operated independently, with any combination of reels in use. With the centre 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 1.6 metre cutting width is achieved.
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 seat-mounted arm control unit houses the joystick, various switches, LCD screen and toolbox 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 a consistency of finish, better playing surfaces and healthier turf.
The sophisticated electronics of the Eclipse 322 give the course superintendent ultimate control over mowing operations on golf greens. Mowing speeds can be controlled to a maximum of 9 km/h and transport speeds up to 14.5 km/h. Similarly, the FOC can be adjusted: from 1.27 to 6.35mm for the 11-blade cylinder and 2.03 to 9.91mm for the 7-blade option.
Maintenance has become much easier with the introduction of these new machines. A flip up hood gives access to the engine bay which is impressively spacious in this hybrid, due to the small size of the engine. There’s a swing-out centre 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 cutting cylinders, verticutting 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.
Ransomes Jacobsen’s managing director, David Withers concluded, “At Ransomes Jacobsen we have listened to the marketplace and our design 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 Ltd www.ransomesjacobsen.com