The Toro Company Celebrates 100 Years of Industry-Changing Innovation

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The Toro Company Celebrates 100 Years of Industry-Changing Innovation
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Industry first lithium-ion, battery-powered Toro Greensmaster eFlex walk greens mower (Photo: The Toro …

BLOOMINGTON, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

As The Toro Company nears its 100th anniversary in 2014, it is reflecting upon its past as it continues to drive to the future. Since its beginning, Toro has created innovative products, services and solutions to help customers care for their outdoor environments – from golf courses and sports fields to public green spaces, commercial and residential properties, and agricultural fields. The principles that have guided the company from the very beginning – a commitment to innovation and building lasting relationships – remain a key focus today as Toro looks to its next hundred years.

Driven By Innovation
From the company’s first patent in 1920 for a convertible cultivator tractor, to the more than 20 U.S. patents it received in 2012, Toro has obtained over 800 U.S. patents – in addition to many corresponding patents outside the U.S. Toro demonstrates its commitment to innovation by annually dedicating at least 3 percent of net sales to research and new product development. Recently, in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s list of annual R&D spending among Minnesota public companies, Toro ranked 11th with investments of just over $60 million in fiscal 2012.

The combination of intensive product development and a deep understanding of customer needs has enabled Toro to achieve and maintain market leadership. In 1919 at the request of The Minikahda Club in Minnesota, Toro created a mechanized mowing machine to replace horse-drawn equipment typically used by golf courses at that time. After Minikahda put the new machine to the test, the chairman of the grounds committee, Senator William F. Brooks, predicted it would “revolutionize the cutting of grass on golf courses.” His prediction came true and helped establish Toro as the leader in the industry.

More recently, in a broader effort to help customers better manage water resources, Toro introduced the Precision™ Soil Sensor – the first wireless moisture sensor for the residential irrigation market. This award-winning technology was recognized for its compatibility with most irrigation controllers, including competitive units, long-range wireless connectivity, and the ability to help homeowners save water by knowing when to water based on moisture levels beneath the surface.

Innovative People
Core to the company’s success is the drive of its employees in continually seeking new products to deliver top-quality performance, enhance productivity, and improve efficiency for customers. Another key contributing factor to Toro’s success is its partnership with researchers worldwide to advance the science of turf management, and help customers conserve water and other resources.

One unique, solutions-based approach was the formation of Toro’s Center for Advanced Turf Technology (CATT) in 1998. Comprised of a team of leading agronomists and engineers, CATT has been influential in the development of products that increase productivity, save water, reduce fuel consumption and improve growing conditions. This group also has created the foundation for future innovation in robotics, fuel cells, advanced battery technologies, and site assessment – including Toro’s patented PrecisionSense™ site assessment solution. Used by golf courses and sports fields around the world, this innovative mobile soil sensing and data collection technology measures the variability of key site attributes – such as soil moisture, salinity, compaction and plant performance – to help improve water and resource efficiency, and produce healthy turf.

Industry Leading Products
Understanding the needs of its customers and empowering product development teams to strive for innovation enables Toro to deliver industry-leading advancements in its products. This focus has created all-new product categories, increased customer productivity, and advanced more efficient use of resources. Recent revolutionary products include:

  • Toro® Greensmaster® eFlex® walk greens mower – Making its debut at championship venues, the Greensmaster eFlex walk greens mower is the industry’s first lithium-ion battery-powered greens mower and can mow up to nine greens on a single charge, which is nearly double that of competitive battery products.
  • Toro® Groundsmaster® 360 rotary mower – Pioneering an all-new rotary mower category, this innovative machine features all-wheel steering to maximize commercial mowing productivity and versatility.
  • Toro® Precision™ Soil Sensor – Leveraging the same wireless sensing technology used on golf courses and sports fields, this award-winning product helps homeowners maximize irrigation efficiency by continuously measuring moisture levels in the soil and allowing the controller to water only when the soil needs moisture.
  • Toro® Precision™ Series spray nozzles – Considered the most significant breakthrough in irrigation spray nozzle technology in over 60 years, this product easily retrofits to existing systems and reduces water usage by up to 30 percent.
  • Toro® Evolution™ Controller – This revolutionary irrigation controller features an intuitive digital interface that provides simple operation, expandability and smart control.
  • Toro® Aqua-Traxx® drip irrigation – Agricultural growers around the world are looking for technologies to increase productivity of existing land, while conserving water resources. Toro’s patented Aqua-Traxx drip tape helps growers deliver water more efficiently to the root zone of the plant and improve crop yields.
  • Toro® TimeCutter® SS zero-turn mower – This machine takes zero-turn mowers to the next level with the innovative Smart Speed™ feature that pairs greater control with time-saving speed and maneuverability.
  • Toro® TimeMaster™ and TurfMaster™ 30” wide-area walk power mowers – This all-new category in walk-behind mowers delivers a high-performing machine for homeowners and landscape contractors that significantly reduces mowing time compared to 21-inch walk-behind mowers.
  • Toro® TRX Trencher This highly innovative, dedicated tracked trencher provides unsurpassed maneuverability and productivity to help contractors and homeowners make quick work of difficult landscape projects.
  • Unique Lighting Systems Hub – The Unique® Hub wiring system accommodates larger jobs and longer runs in landscape lighting, while maintaining a desired luminosity.

“As we head into our next century, Toro will continue to build on the strong foundation that has driven our company’s success in our first 100 years,” said Michael J. Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We are committed to building trusted relationships with our customers, and to creating innovative products that help them better care for their outdoor environments. Kenneth Goit, the company’s third president, may have said it best, ‘The success of this company is no secret. It has been due to two simple things: building a good product and treating customers honestly and fairly.’”

About The Toro Company
The Toro Company (TTC) is a leading worldwide provider of innovative turf, landscape, rental and construction equipment, and irrigation and outdoor lighting solutions. With sales of more than $1.9 billion in fiscal 2012, Toro’s global presence extends to more than 90 countries through strong relationships built on integrity and trust, constant innovation, and a commitment to helping customers enrich the beauty, productivity and sustainability of the land. Since 1914, the company has built a tradition of excellence around a number of strong brands to help customers care for golf courses, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential properties, and agricultural fields. More information is available at www.toro.com.

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Contact:
The Toro Company
Branden Happel, 952-887-8930
Senior Manager, Public Relations
branden.happel@toro.com

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