(HESSTON, Kan.) — In spring, the days get longer and so does the grass. But along with the green, people will also see a little bit of yellow.
"We're just a big white building right off the side of the road," says engineering manager Ron Lefevre.
And Hustler Turf Equipment, in Hesston, keeps getting bigger.
Inventor of the zero turn lawn mower, Hustler manufactures thirty-thousand yellow mowers each year.
Mowers are stacked high off the ground and hanging in the air. About 400 people work at the Hustler to make the high powered machine for commercial and residential use.
"With the assembly line that we have set up its about every five to six minutes that we have a new mower coming off the line," says Lefevre.
Before it hits the line, mowers take their shape on the other side of the building.
"We start off with flat sheets of steel and you walk through and you see it being fabricated, welded," says Lefevre.
Steel is cut then bent using a machine. It's guided by human hands, each bend must be precise or the operator starts over.
The pieces are welded together, making up the mower's base before being hung on a paint line that moves seven feet a minute and runs twenty hours a day.
A powder coat system paints the pieces in seconds.
"The powder is actually bonded to the metal so if you get a chip in it rust won't leak underneath the paint like it does with a normal paint system," says Lefevre.
It comes out of the paint booth and goes into an oven where the pain is cured at 350 degrees.
Folks at Hustler call the assembly line the race track. It's where the mowers are finished being assembled, during peak season they can produce more than two hundred a day.
Assemblers work in pairs, one on each side of the mower. They attach belts, pulley covers and wheels then they marry the deck to the tractor chasse.
"It might look like the same mower going down the line but theres eighty different variations of some of them," says Lefevre.
The mower's engine is bought from a distributor but assembled at Hustler.
A quality control check that is done on all six lines before its wrapped and shipped across the country.