ARB Research Seminar

This page updated July 16, 2013

Orbital Scythe Electric Mower Prototype Development and Testing

Craig Witty, President, O-Sage Power Equipment, LLP, Illinois

November 23, 2009
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA

Research Project


Grass is fragile stuff - a blade of it can easily be bisected with the pressure of a fingernail.

Yet the technology for cutting residential lawn grass typically applies gasoline engines rated at several horsepower to do the job, and battery-operated versions of standard rotary mowers have relatively short run times because of the high power levels required to cut grass with purely inertial force. This presentation examines the process of developing and testing a more energy-efficient grass cutting technology, using a modified reel-type design which features thin, flexible blades rotating inside a counter-rotating set of reel bars.  The result is a mulching mower that uses a small fraction of the energy required by comparably-sized rotary mowers, and can deliver enough cutting power in a battery operated model to handle larger residential lawns.  The presentation also looks at some of the uncertainties inherent in the product development process, and lessons learned from this project.

Speaker Biography

Craig Witty, President of O-Sage Power Equipment LLP, Illinois, was formerly VP of Strategic Marketing with the Tetra Pak Group, a $9 billion Swedish multinational in the food processing and packaging industry.  Mr. Witty was responsible for commercial management of new product development in the company's second largest business unit, and for marketing packaging material and filling machines in 72 countries.  Mr. Witty has five US patents, two in motion picture imaging, two in packaging, and, most recently, one in the field of outdoor power equipment.

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