The majority of conventional grass cutters used engines as power sources, and this applies not only to grass cutters at solar power plants. Nearly all of the generally used grass cutters, including machines that are supported by the shoulder and waist, riding-type machines and radio-controlled machines, use engines as power sources.

Grass cutters that use storage batteries instead of engines as power sources began to be introduced only recently. However, it is just that the power sources changed. Models that effectively utilize the advantages of using storage batteries are limited.

In such situation, models taking advantage of batteries began to be commercialized recently. One of them is a remote-control model commercialized by Sasaki Corp of Towada City, Aomori Prefecture, which manufactures agricultural machines and snow plows (Fig. 1, Video 1).

Fig. 1: Low vehicle height is one advantage of electric grass cutters. (source: Sasaki)

Video 1: Remote-control grass cutter used at solar power plant (source: Sasaki)

The biggest advantage of using a storage battery instead of an engine is that the machine is easier to handle for anyone. A certain level of knowledge is required to operate and control machines mounted with engines.

Farmers are accustomed to engine operation because they have experience in handling conventional agricultural machines. In other fields, however, the machines are handled by workers who are not accustomed to operating engines in many cases. Because of this, even if there are operations that need efficiency improvements by relying on machines, the barrier to machines powered by engines is high and such machines become popular only in a small number of fields. The barrier is lowered, however, by using storage batteries as power sources to improve operability.

The machine height can be lowered, which is another advantage. Grass cutter models that can travel under mounting systems at solar power plants can be designed more easily.

It is also easier to realize machines that can cope with slopes when storage batteries are used. Machines mounted with engines cannot be driven on slopes that are inclined more than a certain degree because of the mechanism to feed gasoline while machines mounted with storage batteries can be operated on steeper slopes.

Sasaki developed a remote-control grass cutter featuring advantages of motorization and released the machine naming it the "smamo."