Why Should I Buy Exmark Original Cutter Housings?

When it comes to the landscape professional, protecting Exmark’s good name means protecting his. And to protect the pro’s good name, our machines have to endure all the punishment his tough livelihood can dish out. In practical terms, what does that mean to the pro? Allow us to introduce you to a gentleman we consider to be a critical guardian of Exmark’s good name, and so a friend to Exmark owners far and wide. He holds responsibility for our test lab, and for testing the durability of the business end of your Exmark mower – the cutter housing.

Put simply, Kelly Van Duyn never has time for "good enough." He epitomizes a no-nonsense approach to test validation that has earned him and his lab crew a position on the battlefront of engineering at Exmark. They know all too well that it’s not good enough to design reliable components independently. True performance comes from ensuring those components all work together in harmony, and that they’re tougher than what his team can dish out in testing.

The best examples of what has to pass by their discerning eyes never see the light of day. Within each cutter housing are two bearings that carry much of the spindle load. Every bearing we install, in every cutter housing produced, has been developed with the mower deck operation in mind. It’s not enough to choose bearings that enable smooth operation. That’s the easy part. The bearing, and the housing they reside in, have to handle all the external elements in play.

To accomplish this durability standard, many aftermarket housings rely on a system requiring a lot of grease, and a schedule of greasing maintenance. Not Exmark’s housings. The hassle of maintenance has been completely removed from our cutter housings. To achieve that benefit without compromising quality or integrity, we bring all the engineering and test expertise we can bring to bear. After all, we know better than any brand out there the environment our commercial operators are up against.

n mowing operations, a whole host of forces attack the underside of your mower deck, with the most vulnerable components being your blades and cutter housings. From unintentional impact events, to sand and other abrasive debris being forced upward toward the bearings, most operators forget how much punishment has to be absorbed. To top it all off at the end of the day, many operators pressure wash under the deck to remove material build-up. Without properly engineered housings, that high pressure water and debris can penetrate through housing seals, to the bearings, beyond the trash guards, quickly disabling them. And that means downtime; oftentimes sudden, significant and expensive downtime.

Exmark engineers know all about this, and design in features to combat the abuse. As one example, small vent holes and unique, labyrinth seals enable air to expand and contract inside the housing. This happens particularly with rapid heat exchanges due to pressure washing after operation. Aftermarket housings without the right seals and venting will be more likely to draw in moisture, causing corrosion, and bearing abrasion. In every case, the housing life will be shortened.

Even all the engineering tools and knowledge brought to bear are still not good enough. Each new design has to pass the scrutiny of Van Duyn and his team. "Nothing passes our testing unless we know it will be rock solid on our machines in the field," says Van Duyn. "This one component has to be the toughest part of the machine if our customers are going to depend on them to make their living." So, what does Van Duyn’s lab team do? "We destroy them," he says. The lab techs pound cutter housings with a specially-concocted slurry and mud spray while operating at full speed in a test deck application. They do that in an effort to penetrate through to the bearings and stop the housing from functioning. The recipe for the slurry has been carefully thought through to be as nasty as imaginable, with the sole purpose of exaggerating the conditions our machines will see in the real world.

Good engineering and test work doesn’t stop at protecting our housings from the elements. What about extreme impact events?

"We test for that too," says Van Duyn. The lab crew sets up a complete deck and runs it up to full speed - blades, spindles and pulleys rotating as fast as they would be in the field. At that point, they insert an iron stake from below the deck, directly into the path of the deck blades. The blade then hits the stake at over 200 miles per hour, stopping immediately.

Our engineers can learn a lot from this one impact. Most importantly, they get a good picture of how safe our customers will be in the event they mow over an object at full RPM. They also learn about the strength and integrity of the cutter housing. The energy from the stake impact travels from the blade, through the spindle, to the bearings and everything else holding the drive intact. Even the deck shell itself absorbs the impact stress.

After capturing every testing data point they can with these and many other tests, the lab then sends our engineers back to the drawing board to make the appropriate improvements. And the cycle of design and improvements continues until we get it just right.

Finally, the most brilliant engineers in the industry, coupled with Van Duyn’s team of hard-nosed technicians, have created a battle-hardened cutter housing worthy of the Exmark name. More importantly, they have created a cutter housing worthy of our customer’s good name.

In the end, no aftermarket parts provider owns the original design, engineering and test requirements needed to make meaningful, original quality claims. The best they can do is provide you with "almost right" parts. With Exmark Original Parts, you know that every blade, belt, and bearing you sell or install has been qualified as the very best. That truth cannot be ignored. So, since your customers matter, help them maintain their machines to the highest standards with Exmark Original Parts.