“Husqvarna’s team of designers and engineers have developed a product that integrates five design elements into one machine that is destined to set the industry standard in zero turn mowers,” said Lennie Rhoades, head of wheeled ride on products, Husqvarna. “We created a mower that addresses the unique needs of the commercial landscaper, then asked landscape companies from coast-to-coast to put the mowers to rigorous in-the-field tests. The landscape professionals provided real world feedback to make the PZ Series the very best in the industry.”
Focal areas for the design and engineering team included five components that commercial landscapers consider paramount to operating a successful business and productive and profitable crews.
The PZ Series offers a high level of productivity through a balance of optimized ground speed, cut quality, clipping dispersal and maneuverability.
“Productivity is not measured by ground speed alone, though the PZ Series can certainly hold it’s own in that department,” said Sean Dwyer, product manager.
The standard Hydro drive system utilizes 16cc Hydro-Gear fan cooled pumps and Parker wheel motors to achieve ground speeds up to 12mph. The combination of oversized pumps, cooling fans and large 1.5 gallon reservoir effectively reduce heat for extended service life and provide high torque and smooth operation.
A new 2-speed version featuring Hydro-Gear ZT5400 integrated commercial transmissions will be available in early 2010 and will allow for 30 percent or more higher transport speeds to further increase productivity.
Though speed is a critical component, the largest productivity gain is the result of a new series cutting deck featuring state-of-the-art computer aided design to increase cut quality and processing of clippings at higher ground speeds.
Best Quality Cut
The new PZ Series’ cutting deck utilizes extensive CFD (computational fluid dynamics) modeling as well as extensive field testing in various grass conditions, to optimize flow patterns, provide high cut quality, even clipping dispersal and reduced blowout, even at high ground speeds. The wide mouth opening also allows superior discharge in heavy cutting conditions so that ground speeds can be increased.
“This benefit is an immediate productivity gain, hence, more profitable for the landscape contractor,” said Dwyer.
In addition, the new deck lift features a foot activated quick release mechanism which allows the operator to keep both hands on the levers while moving the deck from transport to cutting position and back again. Oversized deck lift assist springs effectively reduce the effort required to raise and lower the deck while a locking mechanism that activates when the pedal is released eliminates the possibility of deck “float”.
“The most noticeable, best feature to me is that since we’re in the green industry and we’re into putting down lines on turf, to be able to lay down the lines that this machine lays down, and the clean cut that it puts on, it throws down a really nice cut and at very good ground speed, is just amazing,” said Tony Fisher, General Manager, Maintenance Dept, Senske Tree and Lawn Mower in Kennewick, Washington. Fisher’s business participated in field testing.
Maximum Durability and Ruggedness
All components of the new PZ Series were carefully designed to stand up to the day to day abuse of commercial cutting. Items including a rugged welded tube frame, cast iron lift arms and spindles, premium commercial engines and oversized hydro systems all combine to make a product that will not only be productive, but stay in the field longer.
“We strived to achieve long service life, even in demanding conditions,” said Dwyer. “Extended component life means reduced repair costs and higher productivity overall.”
The new 6-inch deep cutting deck features a seven gauge steel shell with reinforced scalp roller supports and a new cast iron blade spindle assembly that is 10 inches in diameter to spread impact loads over a wider area. In order to extend the service life of the deck belt, larger idlers were used to reduce belt flex and extend bearing life. A discharge shield constructed of molded rubber withstands impact without damage to the deck rounds out the package.
One thing is unanimous among commercial landscape contractors — a comfortable operator is a productive operator.
“Our crews like the new PZ Series mower-- everything’s mounted in rubber, it’s a lot more cushioned ride and they were all kind of surprised when they first got on it,” said Ron Green, Fleet Supervisor, D. Foley Landscape in South Walpole, MA. “They compare it to driving a Cadillac.”
A new rubber suspended operator platform isolates the operators hand, feet and body from vibration while the new deep cushioned, full suspension seat and ergonomic placement of controls combine to optimize operator interface with the mower.
Standard adjustable arm rests, 6-inches of seat travel and ergonomically angled steering levers with adjustable dampeners accommodate different sized operators.
A critical design component of the new PZ Series is the machine’s service accessibility.
The design of the PZ Series lends itself to simplified service, from the open engine area with easy access to engine and hydro oil filters and drains to minimal grease points. The under-seat area offers open access to the hydro system, battery and electrical system and an easy to remove foot plate allows for convenient deck access.
The modular hydraulic system which can be removed as a complete assembly, including pumps, wheel motors, brakes and reservoir in less than 30 minutes, is also unique to the PZ Series.
“Regular service is the key to long life; simplified service access is the key to minimized shop time and maximum mow time,” said Dwyer. The new PZ Series is available at Husqvarna retailers in October, 2009. The Series will consist of five models with Kohler and Kawasaki engines, ranging from 54-inch to 72-inch, including a 60-inch LPG (propane) model.
The PZ Series LPG model is equipped with a 29hp Kawasaki FX series engine and accommodates twin 33 pound propane tanks to allow a full days production. “Powering the mower with Propane is less costly for the operator, has better shelf life than gasoline and has less impact on the environment,” said Dwyer.
Husqvarna is the world's largest producer of lawn mowers, chainsaws and portable gas-powered garden equipment such as trimmers and blowers. The Group is also a world leader in diamond tools and cutting equipment for the construction and stone industries. Net sales in 2008 were 4.9 billion dollars and the average number of employees was 15,700.