The word on the lips of the 10,000+ visitors to SALTEX this year was: innovation.
Keeping in with the innovation trend was the new and exciting Eco Village laid on by SALTEX, which allowed visitors to discover the latest green technology in groundscare. Brands such as STIHL, Husqvarna and Allett Mowers showcased their latest products with a 15-minute slot that allowed for an introduction and short Q&A session.
On the exhibition floor innovations continued to flourish as an incredible amount new technology was unveiled to the sports and leisure industry over the two days. From the renowned electric JCB digger through right through to the highly-anticipated launch of GroundWOW, hailed ‘the worlds first fully autonomous ground printing robot’.
Launch of GroundWOW
The journey of GroundWOW began with one simple question almost 5 years ago: is it possible to print on ground as easily as printing on paper? Fast forward to October 2019, and the answer is a resounding yes.
Currently, the method of ground prating requires stencilling work which is typically a long lead time due to the rigorous process. By pinning the stencil down on the surface, it’s not only dangerous but requires a large amount of manual labour hours. Additionally, human error can occur if the stencil is installed the wrong way up or at the wrong angle and such the entire process from start to finish is an entire pain. Finally, once the stencil is finally installed the only way to finish the job is with compressors, pipes and spraying nozzles full of paint, and with no policing of how much paint is used, the soil is typically ruined.
GroundWOW is a system to replace all that, it’s an artificial intelligence which allows it to be automatically set up, it’s machine learning element is second to none and allows it to know how much paint should be used to make the image. Repeatedly, consistently and systematically without fail. The level of technology stops any over painting and creates an image to truly stand out from the playing surface. Why is that an innovation? The process is cut massively short. When GroundWOW arrives it’s capable of printing within 10 minutes.
Tony Rhoades, Chairman and CEO of GroundWOW explains how this ground breaking technology came to fruition: “We started 4 years ago and we were hidden in my loft for at least a year. Proof of market study, proof of concept and various stages of technical feasibility later we have developed a technology that massively reduces the process of printing on the ground. Thinking about whether SALTEX is the right type of show to launch an innovative product, I think it is, especially with it being the sports and leisure aspect of what we do. Overall, it was an effective show.”
The most powerful cordless STIHL chainsaw
Over on the two-tiered STIHL GB Stand was the new MSA 220 C-B, the most powerful cordless chainsaw in the STIHL range.
Powered by the latest AP 300 S 36 V Lithium-Ion battery, the new saw makes quick work of any task as well as guaranteeing consistently high-quality cutting performance for felling, snedding, firewood processing and much more, regardless of the battery charge level.
It wasn’t just the MSA 220 C-B stealing the spotlight, as the prominent STIHL display embraced a whole host of renowned orange, white and black products. One of which visitors were allowed to test, in a bowling challenge. Yes, that’s right, STIHL had recreated a bowling alley at the side of their stand and challenged customers to knock as many pins down as they could using their blower and a football.
Hannah Louise-White, Events Team Leader from STIHL GB, commented at her first ever SALTEX “It’s been an amazing show for the brand with a large footfall and most importantly, a lot of excited customers.”
Chemical-free machinery for housing association
During SALTEX 2018, Bromford Housing approached SPA Power Machinery to discover all about their new range of Westermann Weed & Moss Brushes. A year on, we were able to catch up with Brian Mackay the Landscape Team Manager for Bromford Housing to see how business had been during 2019:
“We came last year to SALTEX which is where we first discovered the Westermann range, and after demonstrations we decided to purchase. We use them for our communal areas and pathways around Bromford Housing schemes and sites that we own. They’re getting used mainly in the winter, when moss is most prominent, and they’re absolutely brilliant. The lads love them, we as a housing association love them, they really are just brilliant. Previously we used a scraper and moss killer so naturally the Westermann Moss Brush has not only saved us mass amounts of time but they also do the job better and cleaner. Being a housing association, we can’t them knock them at all especially with them being chemically free.”
Allett Mowers unveil new Uplift 86E
SALTEX 2019 truly was the place to launch innovations, as Allett Mowers successfully discovered. During their slot in the popular eco-village they unveiled the Uplift 86E - the new 82V li-ion battery powered stadium rotary mower. Developed and built on the experience gained from previous models the Uplift 86E is designed for debris collection after matches and features twin contra rotating blades for a high lift cut. Additionally, the vacuum offers increased efficiency, whilst a full width rear roller produces perfect stripes.
Utilising the latest smart phone technology the batteries connect to a phone app via Bluetooth enabling the operator to check battery life, battery temperature and even the batteries’ location. By using batteries as the power source, the Uplift 86E is, extremely quiet during operation and complete with exceptionally low vibration.
Looking ahead to SALTEX 2020
Plans and preparations are already in place to take SALTEX to the next level in 2020. Innovation will continue to be at the heart of the must-attend show as groundsman, green keepers and estate managers alike look to a more sustainable future.
Did you visit SALTEX? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the leading sports amenities and landscaping trade exhibition. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org