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New flagship for Ferris: new commercial mower first diesel for Ferris, first turf application for Caterpillar engine. (Turf Equipment).

The new Ferris IS5000Z mid-mount, zero-turn radius (ZTR) mower for commercial turf care applications represents several firsts. It is the first time Ferris has produced a diesel-powered riding mower. It's also the first time a piece of turf care equipment in this size class has been designed specifically to use a Caterpillar diesel engine as its power plant.

"We reviewed our product line and realized we needed to build a larger more powerful mower," said Bob Laurin, research and development manager at Ferris Industries. "Commercial operators are demanding more power, more durability and more comfort from their turf care equipment, all of which equals improved productivity. The IS5000Z is designed to meet these demands and fill the role of flagship mower in our product line. This machine is larger overall than anything we have ever built."

From the beginning, the IS5000Z mower was conceived and built as a clean sheet design using the Auto CAD and Mechanical Desktop software programs. Few components are shared with other products in the Ferris mower line, though the basic design concept of the 1000 and 3000 series mowers were used as a starting point.

"This was a rather quick design cycle for us," said Laurin. "The project literally took six months from concept to working prototype and pilot production."

Interestingly, the IS5000Z mower is powered by a naturally aspirated, 1.5 L, three-cylinder, Caterpillar 3013 diesel rated 33.7 hp at 3000 rpm. The engine also produces a peak torque of 96 lb.ft. at 1800 rpm. The engine is supplied by Southworth Milton Inc., the Caterpillar dealer/distributor responsible for parts of New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Southworth Milton is a master engine dealer/distributor and was instrumental in Ferris using the engine in its new mower. In fact, the dealer went so far as to help with the installation of the engine and some of the engine package development.

"We chose the Caterpillar engine for its performance characteristics," said Laurin. "However, the strength of the Caterpillar name and its brand image were also part of the decision process.

Through details worked out with Caterpillar, the engines will be painted Cat yellow and the mowers will also include "Powered by Caterpillar" badges. Also, there are plans to promote the mowers using Ward Burton who drives the Caterpillar sponsored car in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.

Initially the IS5000Z mower will be available through Ferris' Premium dealers. There are also plans to sell them in the U.K. For this reason, noise and exhaust emissions are critical.

The engine is delivered to Ferris from Caterpillar in power module form. The module includes the radiator and other cooling system components along with the air filter, fuel system and various other ancillary engine components. This module is ready for installation into the mower right from the shipping crate, according to Laurin.

The air filter is a Donaldson centrifugal, dry type unit with a replaceable element. One of the other components Ferris adds to the engine package is a primary fuel filter water separator from Parker Hannifin's Racor Division.

During the development and preproduction stages, various components have been used from different suppliers and at the time of writing some component choices had yet to be finalized. One of these components is the exhaust system -- two different mufflers have been used during the development process. These are supplied by the Canadian companies Automotive Control Systems (ACS) and Silexis.

The engine drives, via two "V" belts, twin Hydro-Gear axial piston hydraulic pumps, each with a displacement of 21 cc. These pumps are used to provide flow

to the twin Parker Hannifin wheel motors that drive the rear wheels through five-bolt wheel hubs. Control valves are designed into the pumps which are actuated through twin fold-over sticks common to other ZTR mowers. These are used to control forward and reverse motion, as well as turning capabilities.

Also included in the drivetrain are twin mechanically operated Hayes parking brakes -- one on each drive wheel. The rear suspension is an enlarged, strengthened and refined version of that found on the 3000 series, Laurin said. The mower has infinite travel speeds from zero to 11 mph forward and zero to 6 mph in reverse.

Hydraulic oil cooling is through a Long Manufacturing oil cooler and the design allows the oil cooler to be folded down for easier access and cleaning. Hydraulic oil is filtered with a 1 qt. capacity spin-on full flow filter. Synthetic oil is used in the hydraulic system.

The mower deck is suspended from the A-frames with a patent pending design to provide a smoother more consistent cut. The mower blades are engaged by a Warner Electric PTO clutch which has a 300 lb.ft. torque rating. From the clutch, power is transferred to a 1:1 ratio right angle gearbox supplied by Superior Gearbox. From there a single continuous "B" section belt simultaneously drives all the cutting blade spindles.

The 1S5000Z mower uses a gauge monitoring package that includes Datcon gauges for water and oil pressure and an hour meter -- the hour meter is connected to the PTO clutch. Audible alarms are also included for high water temperature and low oil pressure.

The mower uses a front independent suspension system with coil over adjustable shocks. The rear suspension is an independent arrangement with dual "A" arms and coil springs. "The independent suspension is what really gives this mower an advantage over the competition' said Laurin. "It allows an operator to mow comfortably at faster speeds. It also allows the operator to stay on the machine for longer periods of time."

The mower deck has a cutting capacity of 72 in. and is adjustable by foot in quarter-inch increments. The deck includes an anti-scalping feature which is adjustable, 360[degrees] pivoting rollers with minimum 1 in. spindle shaft. Cutting time is substantial thanks to a twin tank system with a total capacity of 13 gal.
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Comment:New flagship for Ferris: new commercial mower first diesel for Ferris, first turf application for Caterpillar engine. (Turf Equipment).
Author:Mercer, Mike
Publication:Diesel Progress North American Edition
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2002
Words:988
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