- The operator sets the injection depth by turning a handle.
- The operator then selects manual or automatic mode.
- In manual mode the operator moves the machine into position and pushes a button to run a single injection cycle. The operator is fully in charge of positioning and injecting in manual mode.
- In automatic mode the operator simply selects the desired spacing between injections on a dial and sets the drive speed with a lever. The machine then moves the set distance, runs an injection cycle, moves the set distance again, injects … and the cycle repeats. The operator still has to guide the machine, but the machine is measuring and injecting automatically.
"The operator can be trained on the machine's operation very quickly," Klippenstein assures. "No special skills are required to operate it."
Other noteworthy items regarding the Aqua Cents injector machine include:
- 20-hp engine powers the high-pressure polymer pump
- Drive system and probes are hydraulically powered
- Weight is similar to a commercial riding mower
- Service/maintenance issues similar to other engine-powered equipment; i.e. routine oil changes – however, the polymer/water slurry must be flushed out of the system prior to prolonged storage.
Aqua Cents has come a long way since ACLS crews first hand raked those polymer granules into the soil back in 2010. The first-generation Aqua Cents injector machine then allowed a single operator to take care of an average-sized residential lawn in about a day. Today's machine only takes about an hour.
Results have improved as well. "Trials are now showing water savings up to 60%, with the average being 40-50%," De Lany says. "We're looking at root systems that are three or four times more fibrous than they were nine months earlier."
For now, ACLS Inc. will continue offering Aqua Cents as a service to its own customer base. But De Lany sees it as a service just about any landscape contractor could offer—especially those with customers who are concerned about rapidly climbing water rates.
According to De Lany, closing sales comes down to explaining the numbers. "For the average homeowner, it's a 5:1 ROI over a five-year period," De Lany says. "One injection costs $1,000 and lasts about five years—but you could end up saving $5,000 on your water bills during that time."