AGZA News

ECHO ROBOTICS BECOMES AGZA AFTC® CERTIFIED

AGZA AFTC LogoLake Zurich, Illinois. – The American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA) is pleased to announce ECHO Robotics has earned an AGZA Field Tested Certification (AFTC) designation for their line of battery-powered robotic mowers and golf ball pickers. ECHO USA has taken a proactive approach to developing a line of robotics which helps municipal and private golf course operations deal with staff shortages and the use of conventional gas mowers which are significantly louder than ECHO Robotics mowers. This spring marks the culmination of three years of independent testing by AGZA.

Echo Robotics

AGZA was given unobstructed access to ECHO Robotics distributors, installers, and service operations to gather additional verified hours of use, independent of ECHO Robotics. Through our relationship with the national “Robotics As A Service” AOS, AGZA was able to closely monitor several installation projects which became case studies on the performance, reliability, and overall satisfaction of ECHO Robotics, primarily in golf course settings. A big thank you to Joe Langton, Founder of AOS (Automated Outdoor Solutions) for letting AGZA in behind the curtain.

ECHO ROBOTICS:

ECHO Robotics is part of ECHO Incorporated, a worldwide leader in professional-grade outdoor power equipment for more than 50 years. Through forward-thinking market research, engineering expertise and acknowledgment of customer needs, we have innovated upon and pioneered ground-breaking products—moving sports-turf and driving-range management into a new era with ECHO Robotics.

ECHO Robotics gained traction in the United States with its flagship products, the TM-2000 autonomous mower and RP-1200 autonomous range picker. ECHO Robotics has differentiated itself by focusing on robust, reliable, and efficient solutions tailored specifically for the needs of large commercial property professionals.

Over the years, ECHO Robotics has expanded its product line to include a range of GPS-RTK enabled models for precise navigation and increased efficiency and production. They continue to innovate by collaborating with industry partners and incorporate these ideas into new technologies designed to increase quality, performance, and customer satisfaction.

AGZA EVALUATIONS:

AGZA was given unobstructed access to ECHO Robotics distributors, installers, and service operations to gather additional verified hours of use, independent of ECHO Robotics.

Dan Mabe, President AGZA & Joe Langton, President AOS

Robot as a Service Case Study

Trough our relationship with the national “Robot as a Service” Automated Outdoor Solutions (AOS), AGZA was able to closely monitor several installation projects which became case studies on the performance, reliability, and overall satisfaction of ECHO Robotics, primarily in golf course settings. Automated Outdoor Solutions offers a subscription model using ECHO Robotic solutions allowing customers to have a model where AOS will purchase the units. In this model AOS will insure, service, deal with warranty repairs on site, and service typical wear items in one simple monthly subscription process. This model has allowed customers the option to put robots into their OPEX budget and treat AOS as a subcontractor of automated mowing, picking, and ball washing. A big thank you to Joe Langton, Founder of AOS (Automated Outdoor Solutions) for letting AGZA in behind the curtain.

The Boca Raton features an ECHO RP-1250 and an ECHO TM-2050. The TM-2050 has been cutting six acres of grass for three years and picking an average of 7,000 golf balls per day for the same period. These are in full subscription, so the units are field serviced by “on call” AOS robotics support technicians. Eric, their superintendent, is pleased with the turf health on their golf range and is looking to automate other areas on the property.

Hunters Run Country Club in Boynton beach has two ECHO RP-1250 units picking an average of 22,000 golf balls per day and delivering those balls to the first united states AMS ball wash and management system. There is also a TM-2050 on the driving range cutting its 5.82 range every day to one inch with the ECHO ball protection discs, this system has been in operation since late in 2023.

Glen Ed Soccer in Edwardsville has two TM-2050 units, one TM- 1050, and one TM-1000 cutting several soccer fields and their grass parking lot. The soccer fields total 15.3 acres, and the parking lot is 5.58 acres of grass parking lot, totaling 20.88 acres of automation over a ten-month season. This customer is going on year three of their service contract.

Ibis Club in West Palm Beach Florida has had four ECHO RP 1250 units picking up an average of 50,000 golf balls per day. These started as RP 1200 units and were upgraded to wireless units for the club when ECHO made the technology available. The club benefits from the new technology without worries, as AOS has upgraded the units. They achieved this by adjusting monthly service costs and extending the existing service contract.

Southern California Case Study – Alta Vista Country Club Placentia, CA
An additional independent installation was conducted in coordination with Joe Holper of B&M Lawn and Garden who helped AGZA execute the installation and daily usage of an ECHO Robotics turf mower and ball picker at a popular Orange County CA golf course.

AGZA oversaw the installation of an ECHO TM-2000 Robotics Mower & Range Picker ECHO RP-1200 to maintain the six-acre driving range. To install the system, wiring was necessary to create working areas for robots. Golf Course Staff received training from B&M to assist the robots in case of errors. AGZA also assisted with regular maintenance of both the robots and the perimeter wire. The Golf Pro Shop had ECHO’s web portal on their primary computers to monitor the robot’s productivity and deploy personnel when a robot would get stuck or needed any type of assistance. AGZA was given independent access to this portal for the testing period. As soon as GPS-RTK came to ECHO, B&M installed it in the Range Picker to help increase productivity. The picker was able to pick in a systematic pattern rather than in a random pattern, for better efficiency.

Positive Attributes of System
The robots freed up time for staff to conduct other important tasks in a timely manner. The mower allowed landscape crews to do more maintenance on irrigation, planting, and manicuring of the Golf Course. The ball picker system freed up time for Golf Pro staff to maintain golf carts and interact with guests. Overall, the robots allowed staff to pay more attention to guests and the facility.

How ECHO Robotics provides B&M customers with more flexibility
Staff at schools, universities, sports parks, and golf courses all have many tasks to perform during the workday. When the workload increases and there are less staff to accomplish the mission, ECHO Robotics Systems can put the skilled worker where they can be most effective, helping them to get the most out of the day. ECHO robots are clean, quiet, and battery electric powered. Once installed correctly, they can conduct regular maintenance. A total of 3,600 hours were logged in 280 days at 13 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Pictured: B&M Lawn and Garden Center installation, California, USA

ECHO ROBOTICS AFTER-MARKET SUPPORT:

ECHO Robotics places a strong emphasis on after-market support to ensure the continued performance and satisfaction of their customers. Through a two-pronged approach via factory-direct operations and a growing, strengthening dealer network, the focus is on several key areas:

  1. Technical support: provided for users via various channels for both customer-direct and dealer.
  2. Training programs: The company provides training programs for customers and dealer personnel to ensure they have a knowledge base and skills to operate, install, and service their products.
  3. Warranty Coverage: ECHO Robotics stands behind the quality and reliability of their products with a two-year warranty.
  4. Parts and Accessories: ECHO Robotics maintains a stock of genuine replacement parts and accessories for their products.
  5. Field Service: ECHO Robotics offers field service support. Their team of trained technicians can make scheduled field visits with a dealer when appropriate and when needed to solve customer issues.
  6. Software Updates: ECHO Robotics regularly releases software updates and enhancements for customers to improve performance, functionality, and security of their products. All software updates are included in the base price of the system for customers.

Pictured: Left, Jake Vollbeer & Kyle Quantrell of ECHO Robotics in San Jose California, USA. Right, ECHO Robotics testing at Arroyo Seco Golf Course Southern California.

ECHO ROBOTICS MOWER ATTRIBUTES

Advantages include:

  • Turf looks freshly mowed all day, every day.
  • Quiet operation allows it to be used in noise-sensitive areas.
  • Significant energy cost savings when compared to other traditional operator mowing platforms.
  • Emissions-free operation.
  • 24/7 and fully autonomous operation in most environmental conditions.
  • Advanced automation, guidance, and remote monitoring features.

ECHO ROBOTICS GOLF BALL PICKER Attributes

Advantages include:

  • Quiet operation allows it to be used in noise-sensitive areas.
  • Lightweight, reduces compaction of turf and eliminates balls being pressed into the ground.
  • Can be programmed to spend time in high density areas maximizing efficiency for range operators.
  • Picking wheel picks up during turns reducing picking wheel wear and turf damage for range operators.
  • 24/7 and fully autonomous operation allows for a clean, picked range each morning.

ECHO ROBOTICS SYSTEMS ARE AFTC CERTIFIED:

ECHO Robotics joins a prestigious growing list of tool platforms poised to experience growth and shape the future of Outdoor Power Equipment for our industry. ECHO Robotics allowed AGZA to test their robotics system for over three years of daily testing. Also, AGZA would like to stress that after-market support is essential to having a successful robotics system.

ECHO ROBOTICS & AGZA MOVING FORWARD:

ECHO Robotics and AGZA have made a pledge to collaborate with their sales, installation, and robotics as a service network to utilize their robotic mower and ball picker systems to create new AGZA Certified Green Zone properties or enhance existing Certified Green Zones to be quieter and more efficient.

AGZA’s primary concern is safety, followed by performance, durability and reliability. AGZA is confident the ECHO Robotic mower and ball picker system platform will noticeably help reduce noise and carbon emissions. The more reliable the system, the more impact reductions can be achieved. “AGZA hopes to work with ECHO Robotics in the future to substantiate national, even global impact reductions through our ELF (Environmental Landscape Footprint) software. We anticipate folks will see a sizeable return on their investment and profitability,” said Dan Mabe President of the American Green Zone Alliance.

AGZA cannot stress enough that our value and credibility depend on our voice remaining independent. We test and vet tools from manufacturers who recognize the value of our field certification, then provide this information to professional crews in commercial, municipal, and academic settings. We insist on the most candid feedback from operators — both positive and negative. That’s our only guide in determining which brands and tools are truly viable to replace gas machines in large-scale electric operations.

Pictured: American Green Zone Alliance Founder and President Dan Mabe overseeing real time operations of ECHO Robotics mower and ball picker.

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South Coast AQMD's Commercial Electric Lawn and Garden Equipment Incentive and Exchange Program
AGZA News

Big Happenings with South Coast AQMD

Irvine USD Battery Equipment Training

South Coast AQMD’s Commercial Electric Lawn and Garden Equipment Exchange (eL&G) Program is positively impacting school districts within its boundaries. Older gas landscape maintenance equipment is being traded in for an 85 percent price reduction on new battery electric alternatives. The program partners with American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA) to conduct outreach, education, and training for battery electric operations.


Demonstration workshop at City of Irvine

The City of Irvine,  South Coast AQMD, and AGZA conducted a day of outreach and engagement. Cities such as Irvine are looking for creative ways to help small businesses and their constituents transition to lower impact equipment battery electric options.

South Coast AQMD Governing Board Vice Chair Michael Cacciotti, South Coast AQMD Board Member Carlos Rodriguez, Irvine City Council Members Tammy Kim and Kathleen Treseder were present in support of the event. People are calling for less ozone pollution and noise in their communities. Collaborations with  South Coast AQMD and AGZA provide learning opportunities and facilitate change.


Alan’s Lawn & Garden Battery Equipment Expo 2024 (Santa Ana)

South Coast AQMD’s eL&G Program is the largest in the nation. With a history going back over a decade,  South Coast AQMD has been taking an innovative and supportive approach to helping Small and Large Businesses, Municipalities, and Academic Institutions transition into battery electric technologies for the landscape maintenance industry and operators.

Alan’s Lawn & Garden is a South Coast AQMD eL&G Program retailer who is not only selling tools, but following the lead of other dealers to provide community outreach and networking.

This was the first of two outreach events by Alan’s Lawn & Garden which allows South Coast AQMD to engage communities face to face.


City of Lynwood 2024 Community Garden Spring Party

South Coast AQMD and AGZA were honored to participate at the City of Lynwood’s Community Garden Spring Party which was a meaningful day of community engagement held by the city’s Recreation & Community Services Department The day’s activities started with coffee, donuts, croissants, fresh fruit, and yogurt. The MC pumped up the music while people from Lynwood continued to spruce up their community garden.

People visited South Coast AQMD’s tent to learn about the programs offered to help reduce air pollution, especially in overburdened communities. Residents were interested in the gas for electric trade in program and curious about how powerful the commercial battery electric tools are. Participants were able to visit the AGZA tent to try a variety of battery powered leaf blowers to see for themselves how the equipment feels, functions, and performs.


Alan’s Battery Equipment Expo 2024 (Norwalk)

Alan’s Lawn & Garden continued their outreach efforts with a second battery electric equipment expo highlighting  South Coast AQMD’s eL&G Program.  South Coast AQMD and AGZA were on hand to provide program information and give case study examples of large successful battery electric equipment implementations.  South Coast AQMD and AGZA acknowledge Alan’s Lawn & Garden as well as all of the other dedicated eL&G Program retailers who help make the program successful for everyone.


For more information about South Coast AQMD’s Commercial Lawn and Garden Equipment Exchange Program, please visit their website here.

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AGZA News, Press Release

AGZA Adds Kress to The AFTC Family!

AGZA AFTC LogoLOS ANGELES, Calif. – The American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA) is pleased to announce the Kress Commercial platform of battery-powered landscape maintenance equipment as AGZA Field Tested Certified (AFTC). This includes the full suite of Kress 60V handheld equipment and the revolutionary Kress Commercial CyberSystem which rapidly charges commercial-grade batteries in eight minutes. The AFTC designation marks the culmination of a four- year effort working with Kress engineers, tool designers and product managers with initial visits to Florida and California. As a first step, Kress product developers teamed up with AGZA and

took the time to gather information from current users of gas and electric equipment to understand the specific needs of North American operators. The Kress platform underwent a consistent process of rigorous testing with AGZA’s network of commercial operators nationally, including daily use of tools and battery storage/charging in high heat and cold temperatures. Additionally, drop tests on batteries and tools as well as workload use in challenging springtime and fall clean ups were documented.

After two years of testing Kress 60V prosumer and commercial tools, Kress held an industry gathering at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California in October 2022. Industry OPE dealers, distributors and influencers were invited to meet Kress Global CEO and visionary Don Gao and his North American team to experience firsthand Kress’ unique rapid-charging technology, rugged tool designs, and Kress’ vision and roadmap to provide gas-alternative equipment for the professional landscape maintenance industry in North America and globally. Mr. Gao and his team have a strong pedigree with electric technologies and bring nearly 30 years of experience in designing and manufacturing battery electric tools and charging systems. Todd Zimmerman, Kress VP of product development, was on hand with Gao to give an impressive presentation about the technology before treating attendees to a five-star dinner at the gala.

“The launch of the Kress brand is a turning point for the commercial OPE industry,” said Zimmerman. “The Kress 8-minute CyberSystem is the first battery platform to match the power of gas without the drawbacks long associated with battery power such as short runtimes and long charge times. Kress has made the move to battery possible for commercial landscapers with this proprietary technology.”

AGZA Founder and President Dan Mabe was grateful to have an exclusive face-to-face sit down with Don Gao and his team to reflect on AFTC testing and understand firsthand how AGZA and Kress can help the industry through the transition from gas to battery with safe and responsible battery equipment.

“AGZA appreciates the patience and cooperation of the entire Kress team to allow us the time and resources needed to vet the Kress platform with the same process and standard as other AFTC companies have gone through,” said Mabe. “Even though the relationship with Kress began years ago, we feel we are just getting started working together to help the industry explore and implement battery electric operations.”


Kress ToolsSOME BACKGROUND ON KRESS:

Kress first appeared on AGZA’s radar four years ago when we were contacted by a Kress product development manager who was curious about the AGZA AFTC Certification process.

Kress Commercial officially launched in North America at the Equip Exposition in Louisville, Ky. in October 2022.

AGZA started out by evaluating and field testing the Kress prosumer platform and then graduated to their heavy-duty commercial line. The Kress 60V Commercial platform has proven to be worthy of daily robust commercial use.


WHAT’S IN THE FUTURE FOR AGZA AND KRESS

AGZA has held initial discussions with Kress to pivot to independent testing of Kress Robotic Mower Systems powered by a proprietary Kress real-time kinematic (RTK) network. AGZA understands robotics is rapidly becoming a viable mowing option for the commercial OPE industry. After gathering some initial independent data and firsthand demonstrations by Kress field reps, AGZA is eager to get started on the AFTC testing process for the Kress Robotic Mower System. Additionally, AGZA will work with Kress as it does with other AGZA AFTC manufacturers to partner on industry education and training endeavors.

KRESS 60V COMMERCIAL PLATFORM IS AFTC APPROVED:

The entire suite of Kress Commercial tools and rapid charging systems has undergone the AGZA Field Test Certification (AFTC) process. Kress and any other AFTC manufacturer who releases a new tool within the platform are required to provide samples for AGZA to test. As long as the battery voltages and compatibility have not changed, and new tools can “interface” with the original platform, AFTC status does not change.

KRESS 60V COMMERCIAL TOOL ATTRIBUTES:

Kress 60V has achieved AFTC Certification for both prosumer and professional/commercial battery electric platforms. AGZA rigorously evaluates and tests each such platform to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions and realize a return on their investment. Consumers are inundated with marketing campaigns from companies who invest more in SEO and social media instead of long-term focus on manufacturing high quality tools. Kress has assured AGZA they are dedicated to our industry and see themselves as a pinnacle brand in the battery OPE sector for years to come.

KRESS 60V ATTRIBUTES INCLUDE:

The new Kress Commercial 8-minute CyberSystem™ battery platform was engineered and designed specifically to meet the demanding needs of commercial landscapers.

The system features both 4Ah and 11Ah battery packs with the ability to recharge each 60V battery pack to 100% charge in only 8 minutes or 80% charge in 5 minutes, the fastest re-charge of any commercial battery system available.

Each 60V CyberPack battery is capable of producing up to twice the power output of standard lithium-ion batteries. The added power output allows Kress OPE to meet or exceed the same performance as comparable commercial gas-powered machines but with less noise and zero harmful emissions.

All Kress tools are backed by a three-year warranty and Kress Commercial batteries and chargers are covered for six years – an industry leading offering.

AGZA cannot stress enough that our credibility depends on our voice remaining independent. We test and vet tools from manufacturers who recognize the value of our field certification, which allows us to provide testing outcomes and data to homeowners, professionals, municipal, and academic institutions. We insist on the most candid feedback from operators — both positive and negative. That is our only guide in determining which brands are truly viable to replace gas machines for one yard and large- scale electric operations.

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AGZA News

B&M Lawn and Garden Center

Stop by B&M Lawn and Garden Center and ask them about battery electric equipment, current funding programs, and AGZA AFTC battery electric tool platforms. Learn about AGZA education, and set up company and institutional workforce trainings that will help your crews adjust and be successful with electric operations.

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AGZA News

AGZA Green Zone Ceremony at Mt. San Antonio College

On a beautiful fall Southern California day on November 2nd, 2023, Mt. SAC College became the first “Community College” AGZA Certified Green Zone campus. Their AGZA Green Zone rating is Level 2, which means all 2 – Stroke and 4 – Stroke landscape maintenance equipment has been phased out and only battery electric alternatives are now used.

AGZA President Dan Mabe was on hand to acknowledge the college on their monumental achievement. “This is the culmination of a two-year effort with classroom sessions, field tutorials, tools testing, and data collection. AGZA is confident Mt. SAC is up to the challenge to maintain the AGZA Green Zone standard in perpetuity” said Mabe.

An ELF (Environmental Landscape Footprint) report was generated to understand on a granular level the impact reductions the college is achieving each year. AGZA Green Zone Certification substantiates the reductions through independent verification of gas free operations.

Mt. SAC College was also recognized for their extensive “Water Wise” practices by reducing campus turf sizes, planting drought tolerant and native varieties, and using rotator sprinkler heads.

Congratulations Mt SAC College!

Click above to watch a brief overview of our visit to Mt SAC College.

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AGZA News

AGZA Bilingual Field Education

AGZA partnered with Resilient Palisades to help local gardeners take advantage of state and regional programs that lower the cost of commercial battery equipment and future regulations. Erik and Dan of AGZA brought the classroom to the gardeners who are simply too busy to attend formal indoor classroom sessions. Safety, charging and storage of batteries and tools, preventative maintenance, workload capability, and economic benefits were all covered in English and Spanish to ensure there was comprehensive understanding of how to have enduring success operating their new battery electric gear.

AGZA wants to thank Resilient Palisades for helping organize this amazing grass roots effort to help facilitate change with outreach, engagement, and resources. This is a supportive approach rather than a punitive one.

All gardeners were afforded the opportunity to test multiple brands and make their own purchasing decisions on what they feel is best for them. Other brands that were ordered by gardeners for future workshops include Husqvarna, Makita, and Kress.

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