Robot mower for a big garden: Feedback – Belrobotics

Robot mowers for big gardens: economies of scale

Still underused only a few years ago, robot mowers are now everywhere to be found and especially in the gardens of private individuals. There may be a multitude of smaller models, adapted to gardens that are the size of postage stamps, but models tailored to more extensive surfaces are still not exactly legion. At Belrobotics, our models are mostly designed for professional use: municipal parks and gardens departments, football grounds, golf clubs, company grounds, etc. However, they also suit ‘down to the ground’ any private individual who owns and has to maintain large grounds.

This also happens to be the case for family J, who decided a few years ago to invest in a Bigmow model to look after their lawn. According to them several aspects have turned this investment into a real success:

Considerable time savings

For Mrs J, with her 2 hectares of land, a complete mow by tractor could take anything between 6 to 7 hours depending on the condition of the ground. So, a robot mower is an incredible time saver especially during periods when the grass grows very quickly. Furthermore, as it is now possible to adjust cutting times, you can easily decide which particular time would suit your needs best. 

 A top-quality cut

It is true that saving time is important, but there is no point mowing as fast as possible only to sacrifice the quality of your lawn. Fortunately, a good robot mower now allows you to apply a mulching technique to improve the condition of your lawn, reduce felt and plant diseases and even provide protection during the summer heat. For family J who, given the size if their lawn, had to mow without picking up the cut grasses and plants, mulching also means that they can now enjoy a ’clean’ lawn without a heap of all kinds of grass and foliage.

 An adaptable multi-zone mower

Not all gardens present a nice flat canvas allowing easy-access mowing. Such is the case with the garden of Mrs X. Crossed by a brook, it is split into three zones. One of the advantages of our mowers is their ability to easily mow multi-zone grounds, as well as, for even bigger gardens, to manage the use of several mowers. Whatever might happen, you definitely do not have to fear that your lawn somehow cannot be got to. Thanks to an expert laying the peripheral cable you can rest assured that your robot will not damage any zone, trees, flowers beds or anything else.

An application to track your robot mower

The application is a real advantage although it might rather look like an accessory. Yet, for many clients, professional or private individuals, it brings peace of mind in many ways. The application in fact allows you to know the location of your robot mower at any given point in time. If it runs up against an obstacle you get a direct alert and you can then immediately start solving the problem. And you can also easily reset certain parameters such as the cutting height and working hours.

Transcription

Our grounds are indeed very uneven. In fact, it is an old meadow. It was never seeded to be a beautiful lawn, so there are holes and lumps all over the place. It sort of goes up and down. There are all kinds of little animals living here on our two little hectares.

A garden with plenty of fauna and quite a lot of flora too I might say. We have plenty of trees and like to see flowers pretty much everywhere. For the robot this is no problem, it just turns this way and that. The robot also eases its way around the trees and does not damage anything at all.

I used to mow by tractor, so, depending on the season and the state of the grass, which can be dry or sodden and covered with leaves or not I could look forward to a good 6 or 7 hours of straight mowing. Now we use the robot for the three zones in these U-shaped grounds. We have really defined the back and each side of the house, all crossed by a little brook. We get up in the morning and lawn is mown after a good night’s sleep, we do not have to worry about the job anymore!

I save a whole day each week in the high mowing season. With the tractor we were not able to collect the cut grass from this surface. Now we no longer have a problem with grass sticking to our feet thanks to the mulching technique. This is the future, it is no use going back in time. The robot mower offers more comfort and allows to save time. Moreover, the result is much nicer. I can always check the robot mower’s battery, verify its location and what type of alarm it sends me. To do that I just need my tablet or smartphone, that is all.

 

Robotic lawn mowers and hedgehogs: what risks? – Belrobotics

Are robotic lawn mowers a danger for biodiversity in gardens?

Between 2014 and 2018 sales of robotic lawn mowers nearly quadrupled! Although this trend proves the numerous qualities of robotic mowers and their ability to magically transform lawns, some people are concerned about possible loss of biodiversity, particularly following some articles in various media.

It is true that lawns and gardens, regardless of their location, are often the retreat of many small animals and countless insects that play their crucial roles in nature. Looking at an automatic lawn mower, it is only logical to fear the harmful consequences for hedgehogs. However, there are currently no real statistics on the danger of robotic mowers, and most articles often make general mention of ’gardening tools’ and ’brush cutters’.

At Belrobotics, we are convinced that, even if zero risk does not exist, a whole series of measures and gadgets greatly reduce the risk of wounding these small creatures.

 Robotic lawn mowers & hedgehogs: how to protect them?

To better protect hedgehogs it is first necessary to understand them. The hedgehog is essentially a nocturnal animal. It can sleep up to 18 hours a day under bushes, a pile of leaves or any other suitable place. It hunts at night and feeds on insects (slugs, snails, earthworms, etc.), but also on berries and fruit. This is one of the reasons why the hedgehog is now threatened. The massive use of pesticides poisons its food or makes it disappear. Another point, this little animal hunts mainly by hearing and smell, since its sight is far from perfect.

This behaviour explains why the robotic mower might be dangerous. It is able to cut automatically at night and be ’too’ silent for this little animal that, instead of fleeing, rolls itself up into a ball.

Don’t mow at night to save hedgehogs

To avoid any risk it is therefore preferable not to mow at night and to use a robotic mower suitable for surfaces larger than the real size of the lawn to be mown so as not to cut from dusk to dawn.

 Use robotic mowers with retractable blades

There are also two main categories of cutting heads in robotic mowers:

Those fitted with cutting blades similar to razor blades: they retract when they come up against resistance, not wounding animals at all or at least causing only very superficial injury – it’s the choice of our robots, used by lovers of beautiful lawns and for bigger professional sports surfaces. What is more our cutting heads are fitted with anti-friction discs and mounted on pantographs: it is a unique patented design that allows, for example, the cutting head to pass over the back of a hedgehog without injuring it, or at least touching only a superficial part of its skin.

The other cutting heads are made of long hard blades in the form of knives or stars: they are deadly if a hedgehog strays across their path.

New technologies in development to better protect biodiversity

Apart from the above advice – not mowing at night, using light blades instead of hard slicing knives -, Belrobotics has launched several other initiatives in order to guarantee better protection for hedgehogs:

For one thing we are constantly improving the active safety of our robots and are currently testing a technology that allows not only to detect but also to characterise obstacles. It can also detect for example the presence of an animal, teddy bear or child’s toy left out on the lawn and then manoeuvre round it.

Also, armed with our experience mowing golf courses, we have developed different models of cutting heads that avoid contact of the cutting blades with any object the size of, for example, a golf ball. We have planned tests this summer for these heads on dummies the size of hedgehogs: if the results are convincing we will offer this device as an option for our robots in 2021.

Finally, we are also testing protective devices installed on the front of the mower. First fitted to push aside small branches, waste or ducklings and thus to prevent the blocking of the heads. They could also push aside hedgehogs without injuring them.