As well as keeping turfed areas in trim, Dennis grounds maintenance equipment is enabling grounds staff at Hedge End Town Council to work safely and effectively, and reducing their maintenance burden.
Senior Groundsman Cyril Mason has 19 years' experience at Hedge End, near Southampton, and controls a team of five full-time staff. They look after all amenity areas in the care of the Council, including sports fields, bowling greens, cricket squares, play areas, allotments and cemeteries.
Dennis machines have been amongst the key items in the Council's fleet for some years. Indeed, Cyril still has a Premier Mark 1 mower, dating from the 1960s, in regular use. He also has two FT 510 mowers and a G760 machine, which can accept quick-attach cassettes for other essential tasks like scarifying, verti cutting and brushing.
The Hedge End team finds there are significant plus-points from using the Dennis machines, which were supplied by Alan Jeffery of local dealer M & S Enterprises, itself located in Hedge End. "The accuracy of cut is excellent," says Cyril. "Adjusting the front roller, one click is 0.5mm, so we easily achieve the ideal 4mm cutting height on bowling greens and the turf always looks perfect. The G760 comes into its own for cutting a putting green surrounded by a metal fence and which contains several shrubs. The 760mm-wide machine is very manoeuvrable around obstacles and into tight corners."
"Lubricating the machines is really easy, ensuring that we get the maximum life out of the equipment," says Cyril Mason. "Changing the cutting cylinders and attachments is straightforward, and controls are easy to use. Speed control is particularly smooth and the handlebars can be adjusted to suit the height of different operators."
The Dennis machines are designed to offer important safety benefits. The manufacturers' technicians have designed them so as to reduce vibration levels as far as possible, having optimised the configuration of the handlebars and the transmission. Excessive vibration can damage the hands and fingers, potentially leading to compensation claims for HAVS (hand-arm vibration syndrome), and the machines can therefore be used for longer periods before legal exposure limits are reached.
The mowers also incorporate a revolutionary new Honda petrol engine designed for low vibration, as well as for reduced noise - another important Health & Safety consideration.