Last week, I was fortunate to be invited to a special event ran by STIHL at the Environmental Training Centre (ETC) in Stafford.
TurfPro and a number of other leading industry publications, were afforded the opportunity to catch up with several new product launches from the manufacturer. The day was centred around trying out new battery powered products including chainsaws, strimmers, pole saws, hedge trimmers and blowers.
New cordless launches
Simon Hewitt, head of marketing at STIHL GB welcomed us and introduced us to sales retail trainer Reuben Wilson, who talked about the new products we would be seeing and testing throughout the day.
Ruben began his presentation talking about the new enhanced battery technologies that STIHL had developed, with the launch of their new AP 500 S, described as the most powerful AP battery in the company’s range and the first to feature power laminate technology.
Designed for use with any professional STIHL AP System tool, the 36V AP 500 S features flat power laminate cells instead of traditional round cells, which the company says helps to double the service life of the battery up to 2,400 charge cycles and ensures a long working life of up to 10 years.
What’s more, we were told, the AP 500 S boasts a 20% higher capacity and increased operating time for only an extra 200g of weight.
The AP 500 S is also the only battery compatible with the new MSA 300, STIHL’s most powerful cordless chainsaw for professional users. In addition, the new battery can also be integrated with STIHL Connected, the company’s fleet management tool, to monitor total discharge time and location of the battery.
Ruben then spoke about the new Rapid Hexa chain system that the company has designed for forestry professionals. Hexa consists of a patented hexagonal file and a full chisel chain with a V shaped side plate. The company boasts this results in a chain that cuts up to 10% faster than standard RS chains, is easier to sharpen, and stays sharper for longer.
Ruben also talked about the FSA 135 and FSA 135 R the latest additions to their range of professional brushcutters.
The FSA 135 bike handle brushcutter comes with the GrassCut 260-2 blade as standard and has an expected working time of 100 minutes when used with the recommended AP 300 S battery. The FSA 135 R loop handle version comes with an AutoCut 26-2 line head and has an expected working time of 45 minutes when used with an AP 300 S battery.
Next, Ruben ran through the new BGA 300 STIHL’s first cordless backpack blower for professional users that utilises their noise reduction system.
With a blowing force of 26 newton, we were told this blower is the most powerful in their cordless range and features a high air speed to ensure wet, heavy autumn leaves can be cleared. The unit is powered using the AR 2000 L or AR 3000 L backpack batteries.
We also were told about the new MSA 300, which is apparently the most powerful cordless chainsaw in the AP System. Suitable for felling, cross-cutting, snedding and processing, we heard that the saw offers pro users plenty of power for taking on larger cutting tasks.
Powered by the new AP 500 S battery, the MSA 300 is recommended with a 16” Light 04 guide bar and .325” RS Pro chain for fast cutting. The recommended cutting attachments are identical to the MS 261 C-M, with a maximum recommended guide bar length of 18”.
To help keep all these new products running efficiently, STIHL have developed a new AL 301-4 multi-charger, which is the first charger in its range to hold up to four AP and AR batteries at one time. The company believe this unit is suitable for landscapers, councils and large end-users to mount in a vehicle or workshop for quick charging.
It can charge up to four batteries consecutively and will switch off automatically once charging has completed. The company told us charging allows AP batteries to be fully recharged in 90 minutes or less, leading to reduced downtime and a quick turnaround.
Finally, we also were told how the manufacturer continues to extended its range of lightweight cordless pole pruners with the recent introduction of the HTA 135, their most powerful model to date.
Pro user roadshow this month
All in all, I have to say it was a very informative day and it was good to have the opportunity to try out this vast new range of products.
In fact if readers were interested in trying out some new kit for themselves, STIHL have announced that they are conducting what the are calling the Fully Charged Cordless Roadshow that will allow larger professional users, such as councils and major landscaping contractors, exclusive access to its range of cordless machines.
Starting tomorrow, professional users will be able to get hands on with the manufacturer's latest range of cordless products, as well as gain insight from their team who will be on hand to offer advice and recommendations. Refreshments will be available on the day, as well as offers and discounts all redeemable through STIHL's specialist Approved Dealers.
The 11 locations being visited throughout March, are:
- 8th March - Stirling - Stirling County Rugby Football Club, FK9 5AP
- 9th March - Durham - East Durham College, DH1 3SG
- 10th March - Harrogate - Pavillions of Harrogate, HG2 8NZ
- 16th March - Newport - Harper Adams, TF10 8NB
- 17th March - Cheshire - Reaseheath College, CW5 6DF
- 22nd March - Melton Mowbray - Brooksby Melton College, LE13 0HJ
- 23rd March - Avonbank - Pershore College, WR10 3JP
- 24th March - Swansea - St Hilary's Church, SA2 7DZ
- 29th March - Devon - Bicton College, EX9 7BY
- 30th March - Guildford - Merrist Wood College, GU3 3PE
- 31st March - Essex - Writtle College, CM1 3RR