Thursday, May 4, 2017

Fine Rough

We received our new rough mowers this week, and I have been busy with prepping them for their first use this coming Monday. We decided on the Toro 4700 for a couple of reasons; first, there are seven 27" decks on each machine, which makes for a 150" width of cut. I know that some of you are doing the math and thinking 7 X 27 = 189, but the Toro design provides for over 7" of overlap between decks, which means no "mohawks" of uncut grass on slopes or in turns. We looked at the new John Deere 9009A, but it only has five decks, and the decks aren't designed to allow for fine adjustment. We also had several occurrences of mohawks when cutting on slopes. I had the Toro 4500s and 4700s at PGA National and we had very good results with them.

We are after the optimum after-cut appearance with these units, so I pulled the decks off and put them up on our Stronghand welding table to fine tune them.

Using the welding table gives us a reasonably flat (within .010" or so), repeatable surface to work with, and we can measure up through the slots to the blade tips to measure height of cut. The brackets which secure the red mower deck to the black carrier frame each have a stack of shims which can be used to dial in the blade position. They were all within 1/8" out of the box, but I was able to adjust them all to within 1/32".

It's a tough shot to get with an iPhone, but this shows a blade tip measuring 1-1/2" on-the-money.

When I first measured our old Pro Flex decks in this manner I found a total variance of 5/8" from the highest to lowest deck and had to resort to some drastic measures to get them all within 1/8". I just love it when we can make a change in the shop which makes an improvement by an order of magnitude...

I was asked to show more of the shop, specifically our chain hoists, so here you go:

The electric hoist on the left is on a swinging boom and has a 500 lb. capacity. We use it primarily for mower decks and fixed head walk mowers. The manual hoist on the right can travel down the beam to cover two bays, and comes in very handy for breaking tractors for clutch replacements, etc.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Small Engine Equipment Storage - Early Spring

About the same time as I noticed we couldn't find a couple of backpack blowers when they came due for their 30-day service, we got a call from a detective who was working on the Pawn Shop detail...

Long story short; we have one fewer employee and have implemented a new way to store and keep track of our blowers and trimmers.

I thought for a while about the need to control inventory and also make it quick and easy to monitor. This chain link cage measures 7' X 20', and occupies a convenient location between our two inside facing bay doors; the wall separates the workshop from reel mower storage areas.

Each equipment item has a designated spot, and a daily check takes seconds.

I decided on 16" spacing for the vertical discharge tube hooks. The new storage location makes it very convenient for employees who are gearing up for mowing greens, as we have the mowers, blowers, mixed fuel storage, etc., all in the same area.

Our new procedure is working out well. Managers assign needed equipment, which the employees remove from the cage when needed. Employees then return the equipment to the maintenance shop after use, where a technician checks it over before returning the item to the correct location in the cage. At the end of the day, whoever is locking up that day can see quickly if something is missing.

Sprung Spring...

With the exceptionally mild Winter and early Spring we are experiencing in Atlanta, the greens have a lot of tender new growth which will need to be covered whenever frost is possible. Above is a view of 6 Green on the Highlands course getting a good heavy dusting - almost a month earlier than usual for the first topdressing of Spring. It's a good thing that all of our mowers are serviced and ready for action - and our reel grinder is always ready for a workout, which it will get soon!


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February 2017 Shop Photos

Here's "my" corner of the shop with the new mill and lathe, and my toolbox. We painted the walls bright white semi-gloss and installed the Armorpoxy Supratile floor tiles. Still waiting for the electrician to hook up the new machines, but I did get the mill trammed in.

I have a list of jobs ready for each of these. The mill is going to see plenty of bedknife shoes and other bits, and the lathe is going to spin all my rollers true.

The 3500 square feet of floor tiles took five of us a weekend to install. Cost was $15,000 - $5000 less than my best epoxy quote. The building is 53 years old and there was no vapor barrier used when the floor was poured. All of my epoxy quotes included an additional sealer step to ensure adhesion. The only prep needed for tile installation was a good sweeping.

Safety Center with new Eyewash Station.

New Lista benches are great for shop tool and supply storage. The left bench will have all of our two-stroke parts, supplies, and specialty tools. Doors were painted John Deere green, and the green and yellow theme fits this shop well.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What; a year? (What a Year!)

Yes, yes - I know - I've been busy. In the year that I've been away, I've...

  • Changed out reel mower and utility vehicle fleets
  • Changed out the reel and bedknife grinders for SIP machines
  • Implemented new cutting unit maintenance standards and procedures
  • Updated waste oil handling equipment and procedures
  • Replaced portible fuel cans and storage cabinets
  • Authored and implemented our new GCM employee training program
  • Went through a major renovation of the Highlands course
  • Set up a shop safety center with lock out / tag out and emergency eyewash station
  • Purged over 50% of old parts inventory and negotiated penalty free credit from distributor
  • Purchased a Mazdaspeed Miata, sold the TR6, started playing with the Miata
  • Renovated the maintenance shop with new paint, flooring, and benches
  • Updated shop tools and tool storage cabinets 
  • Installed a vertical mill and lathe in the shop
  • Hosted the GGCSA annual Equipment Managers Seminar
  • Implemented new 2-stroke equipment storage and handling procedures
  • Spent quite a few hours on conference calls with the test writing team at GCSAA 
  • Went to yet another Golf Industry Show in Orlando
 ... along with the standard equipment repairs and maintenance. I'll post some follow-ups to expand on the above soon.