Hunter innovation impresses The Swans
Published on: 19th April 2022
The advanced technology of Hunter Irrigation has hugely impressed Swansea City FC with Head Groundsman Evan Davies claiming it has improved the turf and simplified the irrigation process.
As soon as Evan started his first job at a local cricket club, he knew that sports turf management was going to be his career. Over a decade later and he finds himself in the top position at the Swansea.com Stadium – home to Swansea City FC and Ospreys Rugby, in which he oversees the main stadium, the first-team training complex, and the youth academy.
Somewhat of a perfectionist, Evan likes to keep well informed of industry trends and technological advancements, and future planning is something he likes to see in companies that he chooses to work with:
“In my opinion, companies in this industry always need to have something next in line – the next product or innovative technology. KAR UK and Hunter Irrigation are great examples of forward-thinking companies. The development is always there. Roger Lupton (KAR UK Regional Sales Manager) is always keen to tell me what exciting new products and concepts are coming next. It’s great to see.”
The Hunter Irrigation system at the stadium, supplied by KAR UK, includes eight of the most technologically advanced commercial rotors on the market – the I-80’s.
Engineered for sports turf, the I-80 is built with a robust, dirt-tolerant gear drive that offers the highest torque output of any rotor in the commercial sphere, and extends a radius range from 11.3 to 29.6 meters. The I-80 features a wide range of highly efficient, dual-trajectory, wind-fighting nozzles for highly efficient performance in a range of applications. It also provides total top serviceability (TTS) via its integrated, surface-mounted snap-ring for no-dig easy maintenance.
“The I-80’s are incredible,” said Evan. “We are now able to get water to every area of the pitch including the wings – whereas previously we couldn’t reach them. It has made the pitch quicker and the playability better, so the manager and the coaches are happy.
“The TTS aspect of the rotors makes life a lot easier too. For example, before one game an away player came onto the pitch earlier than expected. He kicked a ball, and it broke one of the sprinklers. Fortunately, myself and a member of staff fixed it and put a new one in within 15 minutes. With the old sprinklers, that would have been impossible – we may have had to have the game postponed as we would have had to dig around it to replace the sprinkler.
“The ease of being able to change and service the I-80’s is a massive benefit. In fact, I can rely on any of the staff at any of the sites to be able to change the I-80 rotors if needed.”
As Evan alludes to, a Hunter Irrigation system is installed at all three of the club’s sites and Evan and his team can control the system to any of the pitches through the mobile-friendly Centralus irrigation management platform. This provides highly secure, comprehensive cloud-based control and monitoring features to the ACC2 controller. The connectivity allows users to view a controller’s status, change settings, view forecasts, save water, and receive instant notification of important system alarms — all without costly and time-consuming travel and site visits.
“It is so convenient,” said Evan. “If you are pitch side you don’t have to keep walking back and forth to control the water – you can just do it from your phone; you could be at home after just putting some fertiliser down and the rain suddenly stops – well you don’t have to drive back into work to put the water on anymore; whether it is a phone, a laptop or a tablet you can control everything.
“In the palm of your hand you can ensure that any part of any pitch gets the exact amount of water it needs. That is technology that certainly makes life easier for any groundsman.”