Behind the Scenes: An Inside Look at the Creation of the ZT-X
Gravely® introduces the ZT-X, an all-new zero-turn lawn mower bred from commercial DNA but designed for the homeowner. With fabricated deck designs in either 42-inch or 52-inch sizes, the ZT-X incorporates enhancements typically only found on commercial machines that improve cut quality, durability and ease of use.
We sat down with Ariens Product Manager and Residential LNG Expert Jeralyn Braun, who was involved with the project from start to finish. Keep reading for her insight on how the product was concepted to why the finished product is unlike anything else in it's class.
Gravely: You're a product manager here at Ariens, but can you describe what you do and what your involvement was in the development of the ZT-X?
Braun: Yes! I am the Product Marketing Manager for our residential lawn and garden category. My role within the project was to continually focus on the needs of the consumer providing this insight to the design team. As a product manager it is my responsibility to understand both our customers as well as the market and drive the direction of the design team to include features on this mower that will be a direct benefit to our customers.
Gravely: Can you tell us about the ZT-X's development?
Braun: As a team, we started with this project approximately two years ago. The residential market began to shift as manufacturers began introducing fabricated decks to their lower-priced residential zero-turn mowers. We wanted to assure that we were providing a product that stood up to our homeowner brand promises, that was also something they could rely on to perform above their expectations for many years. As a team, we began to review our current product line and concluded that we would offer a redesigned product with a focus on cut quality and durability. We also included an enhanced test plan, which was different and more involved than any program that we have ever done for a residential mower. Validating this product's design allowed us the peace of mind, knowing that we had achieved a product that will provide the best experience for our customers.
Gravely: Why is the ZT-X unique to the Gravely residential lineup, and to the market?
Braun: The ZT-X is unique for us because it allows for us to bring a feature set that is typically only seen on our Gravely commercial mowers down to a mower that is designed to fit the needs of the average homeowner. For many years, a fabricated deck design like the one on the ZT-X was typically only found on commercial mowers, and we are now able to achieve this within our residential line. Our unit is also unique because it goes above and beyond just the ability to offer the fabricated deck. We focused on areas of durability across the complete unit assuring that we are providing a product that the homeowner can rely on for many years. We also wanted to pay close attention to operator comfort, while making the mower easy to use. Features such as the plush comfortable seat, vibration reducing floor mat, enhanced comfort and the dial height of cut selection are new to mowers in this price range.
Gravely: Who is the ideal customer for these machines? What are the unit's unique benefits?
Braun: The ideal customer for this machine is a homeowner with property anywhere from one to three acres, who lives in either an urban or rural setting. The zero-turn concept alone allows for an efficient mowing experience and time saving benefit versus the traditional riding mower, but above and beyond that, we stayed true to our roots and over-built this machine, paying attention to every small detail. We are confident with the design of this new mower, and we've created something that we can stand behind, knowing our customer and dealer base will be astounded.