Green Industry & Equipment Expo (GIE) | Recap

GIE Drag Mower

GIE+EXPO, the Green Industry & Equipment Expo, boasts the largest outdoor power equipment, products for landscapes, gardens, outdoor leisure, hardscapes and light construction trade show. Every October, the Kentucky Exposition Center plays host. Oh, did I mention that they also have 19 acres of outdoor space where attendees gleefully tried out many of the new products.

GIE Expo 2014

The show caters to the landscape pro but, there are plenty of innovative products that will benefit anyone who has to maintain their property. There were two things that ran rampant throughout the show: zero-turn mowers and battery platforms.

Scag Zero-Turn Mower GIE+Expo

Scag Zero-Turn Mower

I know that I will probably leave someone out but, to give you an idea of how many companies produce a zero-turn mower here are the exhibitors I saw at GIE:

  • Ariens
  • Altoz
  • Cub Cadet
  • Dixie Chopper
  • Exmark
  • Gravely
  • Grasshopper
  • Husqvarna
  • Hustler
  • Scag
  • Toro
  • Walker
  • Wright

Outside, companies set up obstacle courses or had wide open areas where guys could buzz around. Dixie Chopper claims to be the “World’s Fastest Lawn Mower” and while there are varying claims of top speeds, the company lists a top speed of 15 mph. It doesn’t sound like a lot but, once you are on ones of these things, you really get an idea of how quickly things can go south if you don’t know what you are doing.

GIE Expo 2014 Dixie Chopper

Dixie Chopper

Ditch the operator and opt for the remote control with Smartec from Hydro-Gear.  For more info on that technology: CLICK HERE

Designed to be integrated by the OEM during the production stage, this system can be installed as an after-market upgrade. As I’m not a motor technician, I won’t profess to state that I know how it actually works but, suffice to say, it is really cool. Two new pumps with longer shafts are installed that eliminate the manual linkage that integrates with an electronic drive module that can be accessed by a PC with GUI interfacing to change settings. While this machine is being operated with a joystick, the thought is that it will eventually be able to work with most portable devices.

For the professionals, the number one cost is labor, followed by equipment and then, gas. The biggest obstacle to making the switch to batteries has been to solve the power/productivity problem. While the power tool industry quickly became the leader in battery adaptation, the outdoor power equipment (OPE) companies had taken a more cautious route, until now.

Industry staples such as Husqvarna and STIHL have entered the market and now, so too has DeWalt who introduced their new string trimmers, blower and hedge trimmers. In addition, EGO, Greenworks and Core showcased their line of battery-operated equipment. All of the companies are living by the same mantra of delivering gas performance, without the gas. In addition to the cost savings, other benefits include reduced noise and eliminating emissions.

Stihl Battery - GIE 2014

Stihl Battery Platform

While the amp hours and torque depend on the application, the voltage platforms vary from 36V to 80V Max. Again, many companies what to inflate the voltage to convey power but, as we all know, voltage that isn’t under load, doesn’t mean anything as the tool is just spinning, not actually working.

DeWalt is offering two 15” brushless string trimmers, two brushless blowers with a couple of battery options; a 4Ah or 6AH, and a 22” hedge trimmer with a 40V Max lithium ion battery and will be available in March of 2015.

DEWALT Cordless Blower - GIE 2014

DEWALT Cordless Blower

DEWALT Cordless Trimmer GIE Expo 2014

DEWALT Cordless Trimmer

Greenworks boasts the highest voltage with the 80V Max battery platform that drives their entire line of products that include an 18” chainsaw, blower, snow thrower, lawn mower, string trimmer and hedge trimmer.

EGO demonstrated their 56V line includes a string trimmer, chainsaw, mower, hedge trimmer and blower. Fans of toolselect.com will be glad to know that Stephan and Barnaby are now working with EGO.

EGO Chainsaw GIE 2014

EGO Chainsaw

EGO Mower - GIE 2014

EGO Mower

Husqvarna currently offers chainsaws, string trimmers and a hedge trimmer powered by their 3AH, 36V batteries.

Husqvarna GIE 2014

Husqvarna

One company is offering a twist to the battery performance, Core. They believe they have built a better mouse trap by focusing on the motor instead of the battery. CORE motor technology (Conductor Optimized Rotary Energy) eliminates the wire windings and iron laminations used in conventional motors. Instead, Core embeds copper-etched conductors into a multi-layered printed circuit board to iron-less and wireless motor.

They claim this increases the torque and efficiency of the system that uses a 36V, 5.8Ah to run their string trimmer and blower. The CGT-400 Trimmer is programmed with a dual mode power control where users can optimize speed for normal trimming or, torque for more demanding operations or to increase the runtime.

Wood Carving GIE+Expo

Chainsaw Carving

Thinking about attending next year’s show, you can only get into GIE+EXPO if you are a dealer, retailer, distributor, or lawn & landscape professional.

For more info on the GIE+Expo: CLICK HERE

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Rob Foster

Rob Foster is a public relations guy who is contracted by Senco, an avid DIYer, power tool collector and makes precision firewood from failed woodworking projects.

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