Tractor Samples Carried Out For Production Start-up 06/06/2007

Production of a commercial turf care tractor is expected to commence in North Bay this fall by manufacturer Mississauga manufacturer.

It has been said by one of the principle with GP-Turfcare Inc, Robert Ernst, that production of the turf and utility tractor is expected to start in October and Novemer and is in the final stages if its last prototype Plastitech Products plant on Progress Court is where the assembly line is expected to be situated. Twenty five people will be employed at the plant in the welding position along with the assembly line and quality control. They will eventually be seeking workers involved with hydraulics and electronics.

Twenty five units a week is the aim in terms of production, or approximately five a day. Ernst has said that after the final prototype work is complete, the samples will then be sent to Europe for customers to look at. According to Ernst the demand is present for the 26 and 32.7 horsepower tractors. These are intended to be sold through a distributor network. A market is hoping to be established in North America after GP-Turfcare has carried out some ‘pioneering work’. A sales office will be situated in Mississauga whereas the manufacturing site will be in North Bay.

The company imported the technology a year ago after being originally designed in Europe several years ago. "The original intention was to produce it in Europe, but costs were quite high to produce it," says Ernst. "The cost of shipping full containers of tractors to Europe ends up being cheaper than shipping components over there."

The width of the tractor is 151cms and can reach the speed of 19 Kilometres per hour and is installed by a caterpillar diesel engine. Various assets such as hydraulic-powered drive-wheels lift and dump mechanisms and all part of the production models. Tractors are expected to sell between $15,000 and $20,000 (cdn) at wholesale price.

The tractors feature a new cutting system with counter rational cutting blades, which are not featured in the ‘standard’ model of tractors. The cutting blades are able to direct any clippings that are collected, into a chute, under the seat. A 700 litre collection hopper at the back of the tractor then collects the clippings. The tractor is able to lift the hopper up to seven foot, meaning it can be easily emptied into a waste container/compost heap. The company is targeting the tractor for municipal applications, golf courses, sports fields, or any "management of various estate and turf applications where (clipping) collection is important," says Ernst.

$220,000 was given as a loan towards the companies development and marketing of the tractor by FedNor last July. GP Turface moved to North Bay .It was previously known as IBD, which stands for international business Development Inc. The reason for relocation was due to family relations of the sibling in partnership has family connections.

"We are using his facilities at this time, rather than commit to other facilities," says Ernst. "When it gets to a serialized production phase we'll definitely be considering additional premises."

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