After two days of welcoming expert operators from across the country, Caterpillar opened its training facility in Cary, North Carolina, earlier this fall to members of the media. They got a look at some of their latest pieces of equipment, though the spotlight was on CAT’s line of mini excavators, which received cab updates and new attachments. Plus, a new class was introduced entirely.

The new 6-ton mini excavator, the 306 CR Mini Hydraulic Excavator, is Caterpillar’s first entry in the 6-ton class offering. It’s a middle-of-the-road option in terms of workload, and still boasts the same features CAT customers are used to with enhanced standard features. The new machines come standard with stick steer and new LCD monitors on board. NextGen technology and cruise control are also available on the machine. For added comfort, the ventilation was moved from the door to the window panel, reflecting on how often operators are using the machine with the door open.

Greg Worley, senior product engineer, said the move to enter the 6-ton market was pushed by customer feedback. Users needed something comparable that fell between the 5- and 10-ton classes. “We also made it more serviceable,” he said. The same cab on the 308 series is found on the 306, making it a more familiar machine. And, the door was redesigned to be more cost effective if it needs replaced. The door costs roughly $300 to replace versus the $1,000 it used to cost.

Along with the new 6-ton mini loaders, CAT also introduced a line of skid-steers and compact track loaders.

Visit bit.ly/catll2019 for more on Caterpillar’s new releases.

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Looking to next season

ECHO has debuted 20 new products for 2020.

LAKE ZURICH, Ill. – From hedge trimmers to pressure washers, ECHO had plenty to reveal at its press event in early October.

Lawn & Landscape visited the ECHO facility located just outside Chicago, where the company debuted 20 new products. Its “20 for 2020” campaign continued into GIE+EXPO as a showcase for what ECHO customers will be able to buy once the new year begins.

The timing was not coincidental: Debuting the products a few weeks before the annual show was a deliberate strategy to get ECHO on buyers’ minds going into GIE+EXPO.

“What company puts out 20 in one year? That’s a huge feat and we wanted to make a big deal about that,” said Ken Osberg, the director of marketing at ECHO. “This was to kick off the GIE+EXPO season. Everybody talks this time of year about getting their badges and such, and we wanted to be part of that narrative. We have a story to tell, so we wanted to get that message out.”

The press event also included a tour of the company’s manufacturing facility, which employs roughly 900 people plantwide.

Debuting so many products in one sitting might seem daunting, but Osberg said the ECHO team answered the challenge accordingly.

“The timing is difficult. We’re such a seasonal business, and we have some key milestones in the year,” Osberg said. “We have a sales meeting, we have the GIE+EXPO show, so to have everything ready from an announcement perspective and to be ready to have everything ship, that’s probably one of our biggest challenges. All of it needs to hit to be ready for the (next) season.”

ECHO revealed five new hedge trimmer models. The HC-2210 trimmer’s RazorEdge blades are 22 inches long and feature a full spring suspension system to minimize vibration. The company also released the HC-2810 with 28-inch blades, and both feature a front-facing exhaust to minimize plant damage. The HCS-3810 and HCS-2810 models are straight shaft trimmers and respectively include 38-inch and 28-inch blades. The SHC-2620S Shafted Trimmer features a two-stage air filtration system, 21-inch double-sided, double-reciprocating blades and a 51-inch shaft. All but the SHC-2620S are powered by a 21.2cc engine and can reach 10,750 RPMs. The SHC-2620S includes a 25.4cc engine and 2,500 RPM blade speed.

ECHO heard customers wanted lighter equipment regarding the hedge trimmers, so they took chunks of unnecessary plastic and cut small holes in the blades and gears.

“It was a big focus of the engineers to take out some weight,” said product manager Brad Mace. “They looked at every piece of this thing. This really helps guys who use this all day long – they get fatigued. It really helps to take weight out whenever you can.”

Then there were the two generators – the 3500W Generator and the 10,000W Generator – which were constructed to be compact and easily stored or transported

ECHO designed four different pressure washers, some of which are specifically designed for homeowners while others work best as a commercial option. For professionals, the PW-4200 includes a 4.0 GPM max flow and is ECHO’s most powerful option to date.

The company also revealed its pair of new backpack blowers: the EB810 and EB770RT. The former blower is powered by a 79.9cc engine and produces roughly 44 Newtons of power, plus roughly 211 MPH of air speed. The EB770RT includes a 63.3cc engine and generates 33 Newtons of power, although it also creates an air speed of 234 MPH.

ECHO also debuted the RB-60 Broadcast Spreader that includes a 60-pound hopper for applying pesticides or herbicides. The RB-100W spreader is designed for rock salt and ice melts, so it has a spiked auger to break up clumps.

Visit bit.ly/ECHO2020 for more on ECHO’s 20 new products.

Harvest Partners acquire Yellowstone Landscape

Yellowstone, headquartered in Florida, is led by CEO Tim Portland, who will continue to lead the company.

NEW YORK – Harvest Partners announced last month that funds managed by Harvest have completed the acquisition of Yellowstone Landscape from CIVC Partners.

Yellowstone is headquartered in Palm Coast, Florida. The company’s management team, led by CEO Tim Portland, will continue to lead Yellowstone, and remain significant owners of the business. The company ranked fifth on Lawn & Landscape’s annual Top 100 list this year with over $230 million made in annual revenue. Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Yellowstone provides commercial landscape services to over 5,000 customers throughout the southern United States, including corporate campuses, resorts and hotels, homeowners’ associations, multi-family communities, schools, hospitals and municipalities.

“On behalf of Yellowstone’s leadership team, we are excited to partner with Harvest and accelerate our growth,” Portland said. “Their capital, experience and enthusiasm will help us continue our pursuit of excellence in commercial landscaping for our current and new customers across the country, deliver continued growth and success across each of our key priorities, and create ever increasing development opportunities for our outstanding team of landscape professionals.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Tim and the entire Yellowstone team,” said Michael DeFlorio, president of Harvest. “They have built an excellent company and we look forward to providing additional financial and strategic resources to help them further build their market leadership.”

Stephen Fessler from Harvest Partners will also join Portland, DeFlorio and Stephen Carlson on the board of directors of Yellowstone.

In May 2018, Harvest Partners acquired Neighborly, formerly known as Dwyer Group Franchising, the parent company of The Grounds Guys. Grounds Guys ranked 17th on Lawn & Landscape’s Top 100 list with more than $77 million in 2018 revenue. In July, Josh Sevick was named president of The Grounds Guys, replacing Michael Green. Prior to joining The Grounds Guys, Sevick was the president and CEO of CPR-Cell Phone Repair and Computer Troubleshooters.