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Ten in one go!

19. September 2018

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For one year now, a Holder C 270 with five-point cylinder mower has guaranteed that the sports pitches in Nürtingen are ready for play. Its manoeuvrability and directional stability combined with the panoramic view from the air-conditioned cab impressed those responsible at the municipal depot. Since the Holder can operate autonomously in the city centre and in the six districts at 40 km/h, it manages ten sites per day and therefore renders three classic ride-on mower tractors superfluous.

The thermometer at the Oberensingen sports ground shows almost 30 degrees – even late in the afternoon. Klaus Mendala releases the mechanical transport lock, gets into his Holder C 270 and lowers the fitted five-point cylinder mower to the preset 4 cm cutting height using hydraulics. The grounds-keeper at the Nürtingen municipal depot is happy that, on a day like this, he can mow the last field from inside his air-conditioned driver's cab too. TSV Oberensingen has recently been promoted to the Landesliga tier and their sporting success is in no small part thanks to the pitch being kept in such great condition. Grass-covered sports fields require special attention; their professional maintenance includes regular soil cultivation and sprinkling, and the grass must be mowed once or twice a week during the vegetation period. This task demands a good level of expertise, logistics and the right equipment for the job.

The Holder C 270 is a multifunctional vehicle with all-wheel drive and articulated steering. Standardised attachment points at the front and rear allow for a wide range of municipal cleaning, clearing, mowing and care applications. As an additional attachment space, the vehicle offers piggyback space for various mounted units. The Holder C 65 and C 70 have since superseded the C 270: Equipped with a modern turbo diesel engine, including diesel particulate filter and modified exhaust system, these comply with the European emission standard Stage IIIB and the American version Tier 4 final (see infobox).

As the first Holder at the Nürtingen municipal depot, the C 270 has since become the only lawnmower to be used. The front-mounted five-point cylinder lawnmower with a cutting width of 330 cm is made by the Danish manufacturer GMR maskiner, which is listed as a premium partner at Holder. "The mower is extremely precise and works in perfect harmony with the Holder C 270," states Klaus Mendala. He initially mows a two-lane ring around the field for turning the mower around in order to then drive back and forth, track by track, at a consistent speed of 7 km/h between the two goals. Today, the pitch is being mowed lengthways; next time, it will be mowed at a 90 degree angle. The four large tyres distribute the vehicle's weight evenly over the ground, while its ability to run straight and the directional stability of the front and rear wheels protect the grass. The raised seating position and panoramic view in the glazed cab offer an optimum overview. "The air-suspended and multi-adjustable seat in the Holder is more comfortable than the one in my A-Class," says Klaus Mendala with a laugh.

The sports grounds in the city of 40,000 inhabitants are up to four kilometres from each other, and up to eight kilometres from the depot. With optimal planning, Mendala can use the Holder C 270 to tackle 10 of the 13 sports grounds in one day – three more will be added soon. With the old mowing equipment, a maximum of six fields were possible each day. "This is only possible because, thanks to its maximum speed of around 40 km/h, the multifunctional vehicle from Holder can seamlessly flow into the city's traffic and therefore reach each field under its own power," says Michael Haußmann, head of the municipal depot. The Holder C 270 has been part of the depot's fleet for almost a year now; after around 600 operating hours, the combination of articulated implement carrier and mower has proven to be extremely robust and reliable – no significant problems have been encountered so far.

The municipality's depot fleet is still predominantly made up of small tractors and single-purpose vehicles. Until a year ago, three ride-on lawn tractors were used to look after the sports fields: The mowers were either stationed at one of the sports grounds or had to start out from the municipal depot. Loading and transporting using a trailer proved too complicated and time-consuming, while driving the vehicles on their own wheels caused material damage: "At 18 km/h, these mowing vehicles are too slow for city traffic and, with their small wheels, are not designed for long journeys. Damage and failures occurred frequently so we had to find alternatives," recalls Michael Haußmann.

By chance, Michael Haußmann heard about the "Day of Municipal Technology" at Holder. He was familiar with the Holder brand but did not know about the range of applications of the company's innovative multifunctional vehicles, with their numerous attachment options. "The Day of Municipal Technology is an ideal platform for us to show municipal representatives how they can use Holder vehicles to solve typical issues at the municipal depot. In addition to attending demonstrations and lectures, interested parties can test vehicles with different attachments on our course," says Oliver Maier, Area Sales Manager for the South-West and Account Manager for the Nürtingen municipal depot. The representatives from Nürtingen were quite amazed to see what was offered to them and their colleagues from other municipalities at the "Day of Municipal Technology" in Metzingen. "For the first time, we were able to see what's possible with a Holder and, I must admit, we were impressed," says Michael Haußmann. "When I then saw the Holder C 270 with the attached five-point cylinder mower in the hall, I knew that this was the right tool for our grounds-keeper!"

But he was sceptical: "The large wheels, the weight, the narrow turning circle: I was fairly certain that the Holder would damage the turf," says Klaus Mendala, looking back. But his curiosity was greater than his fear: Oliver Maier suggested providing the innovative lawnmower for a trial period. Klaus Mendala did not want to leave anything to chance and swamped the test site with water for days beforehand. "As with real life: If we have to mow just after heavy rain of 20 to 30 litres per square metre, the grass must not be damaged by this process," adds Klaus Mendala.

The results of the test spoke for themselves: Across the entire surface of the field, and even in places where the machine had to turn on a tight curve, the turf was not damaged at all. At this point, Klaus Mendala already sensed that he would never use a walk-behind mower again. "The on-site test completely convinced us and ultimately tipped the scales in favour of us making the purchase," says Michael Haußmann. Since the Holder C 270 was working to capacity looking after the sports grounds in its first season at the Nürtingen municipal depot, there was still no sign of being able to use its multi-functionality at this point. However, the upcoming winter maintenance season could prove to be the perfect reason to purchase a second Holder. "We certainly recognise the advantages offered by a fast and excellent on-site service like that offered by Holder," adds Michael Haußmann. At the sports ground in Oberensingen, Klaus Mendala has since finished mowing the field. He raises the cylinders, takes his leave and vanishes into the heavy evening rush hour traffic in the direction of the municipal depot. He wouldn't give up his Holder for anything!

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