University of Limerick choose Weldon`s
In Picture Micheal Weldon from Seamus Weldon`s and Pat o Neil from UL
A thorough and highly detailed tendering process led to John Deere’s Killarney dealer Seamus Weldon delivering their first full machinery fleet to Limerick University in Ireland last autumn.
The University campus covers 330 acres of parkland landscape, including 50 acres of sports fields, with a staff of between 8 and 12 managed by grounds superintendent Pat O'Neill. Pat was responsible for drawing up the extensive selection criteria for the competitive tender, once approval was given by the University for funding a new replacement fleet.
The whole process took about four months, and involved a great deal of work by Pat O'Neill. “Specifying what we needed in the first place was the biggest job for me,” he says. “We couldn’t specify a particular machine make or model, so it needed a lot of work to identify exactly what we needed once the funding was secured.
“Basically different points totals were awarded under a wide range of headings including commercial and economic information, technical capabilities and specifications, quality systems, purchase price, warranty, machine delivery and training, operator evaluation, and health & safety aspects such as emissions and vibration levels.
“Weldons scored very highly in sales and service back-up in particular, and this was a very important factor for us,” says Pat O’Neill. “They are very reliable and very prompt – if we make a call they’re up here very quickly, which gives me great peace of mind. All maintenance is provided by the dealership, so we get a full fleet service once a year, plus a comprehensive breakdown service with replacement machines if required.”
The new fleet included an 8700 fairway mower, a 2653B utility triplex mower, an X748 lawn tractor with collection system and a 7H17 pedestrian rotary mower for grass cutting, in addition to a 5415 utility tractor, a 4720 compact tractor with ComfortGard cab and an HPX Gator 4WD utility vehicle. A 997 ZTR zero-turn mower is also being used on trial.
“The 7H17 mower is a great machine and has proved very useful, especially on the various grass banks we have around the campus,” says Pat. “We use the same 48in wide cutting deck as the lawn tractor, and we can now run through these jobs in a day or two, where it might have taken up to a week before.
“The land here is very heavy and can get quite wet,” adds Pat. “It used to be very difficult getting out to cut the grass, especially at the beginning and end of the season. We had to collect everything, which was just too time consuming as well as being environmentally unfriendly, having to dispose of the cuttings.
“Now we use mulching on all the rotary decks, as we’re trying to get away from collecting any grass at all if possible. So far this summer we’ve not had to use the collector – we get a much better, clean finish all round, and there’s a big saving in man hours, so this has worked very well.”
ENDS (August 2009)