Newslines Spring 2019

Just another rotary mower with a bulk collector? PRODUCT TEST Toro ProLine H800 by James de Havilland 04 . news lines . spring 2019 A casual look at the Toro ProLine H800 with a working width of 1.26m and an 810 litre capacity collector which can discharge at a height of nearly 2m. The out-front rotary ProLine ticks key specification must-haves for a direct collect machine, but does it have what it takes to deliver in demanding damp conditions? Long wet grass and deep autumn leaves, two things that will quickly show up any weaknesses in the design of a collect mower. Poor collection can lead to operator frustration with blockages and savaged operating schedules all too often becoming the order of the day. Toro designers are obviously aware that clean collection can make or break a mower’s chances so the ProLine H800 comes with the benefit of tweaks that are claimed will help keep the machine working in what can be challenging seasonal conditions. As you would expect, these start with the 1.26m wide deck which follows the same basic structural design as existing Toro commercial rotary mowers; with a rigid ‘bull bar’ at the front and heavy gauge steel plate for the bed itself. On the deck underside are a pair of contra-rotating blades. The paddle at the tips feature a noticeable upsweep to create the blast of air to blow clippings into the collector. So far pretty much as you would expect. This, however, is just the start. There’s a third central rotor mounted ahead of the main units to allow for a critical clearance between the two main rotors. When this spacing is combined with the deck’s overall depth, the net effect is to increase the mower’s capacity to cope with large volumes of bulky material. Then there are the turbines incorporated into the base of the main rotors and the streamlined darts and vanes in the centre of the deck. The latter channels the air blast generated by the turbines and rotors, helping to ensure bulk material is forced into the collection hopper. Although it is easy to overlook, a further small but important design tweak are the small cleaning paddles fitted adjacent to the deck outlet. These are activated each time the deck is raised, their action helping to ensure the outlet is not compromised by any build-up of material, particularly in damp conditions. Practical thinking The Smart AirFlow collection system employs a removable trunk to link the deck and collection hopper. The design of the trunk optimises the collection of bulky material by concentrating the air flow between the deck and hopper. Should the trunk block, it can be quickly and easily removed to ensure full productivity in demanding conditions. The aim is to retain the pressure of air required to actively force material into the hopper. There has to be a compromise between the draft the deck produces, the noise this generates and the power the creation of an air blast consumes. Excess draft not only wastes power but generates excessive dust in dry conditions too; the trick is to arrive at the optimum collecting and hopper filling force. Once material is discharged into the hopper, the next job is to prevent over-filling. This is solved by fitting a sensor linked to an automatic deck stop that is triggered when the hopper is full. There are three hopper sensor settings, the first for dry conditions, the second for long wet grass and the third for dealing with bulky material such as leaves. A key design feature prevents the free flow of air from becoming obstructed by over-filling the hopper – the hopper sensor triggers an automatic deck stop before the hopper becomes over-filled and helps prevent the trunking from getting blocked. What’s the ProLine H800 like to use? Setting the height of cut is one of the first jobs. The ProLine comes as standard with electro-hydraulic adjustment to allow the height to be varied between 20 to 110mm. A simple deck-mounted gauge shows the selected setting with adjustments being made via a rocker switch to the right of the operator and just behind the throttle. When mowing, the height of cut can be varied on the move, a real plus when working over areas with different grass heights or leaf depth. It really is necessary to set the ‘hopper full’ sensor according to conditions. Leaving the sensor in its dry grass position when clearing leaves will see the system block. It’s easy to set the sensor, just open the hopper and move it to the lowest of its three positions for leaves and grass. On the flip side, if you subsequently cut just grass you will not have any problem leaving the sensor in this position. Actual collection is not affected, but you will not optimise hopper capacity. As with all mowers, a few minutes getting used to how it operates in varied conditions is key to getting the best finish. With the ProLine, slowing the pace and raising the deck to its near maximum position proved the best way to clear 01 06