Getting Proof from Irrigation Piloting

Consultation manifests itself in many shapes and sizes. This time it’s about proving finished irrigation products thanks to a pilot line at Maillefer’s facility. 

Consultation is yet another example of how Maillefer is more than a classic equipment provider. Know-how, value, and relationships extend beyond hardware in each and every case.

Drip emitters make a strategic difference

Most manufacturers of micro-drip irrigation laterals rely on exclusive access to drip emitter technology and proprietary flow designs. There are two dominant technologies on the market for micro-drip laterals, emitters formed into extruded tape or individual ones made via injection molding. Whether tape or injection molded, the choice on emitter type means more or less independence from outside sources. Both types remain the key component to control the water flow out of a lateral. A successful flow design is often protected intellectual property, veiled in secrecy, subject to licensing, and tightly controlled by those who own it. As a provider of extrusion solutions for the full range of micro-drip laterals, Maillefer facilitates access to the technology for its customers.

Accelerated by pilot tests

Our micro-drip irrigation pilot line offers sufficient flexibility to produce a variety of micro-drip irrigation laterals and is configurable for a variety of emitter formats. We collaborate with market players that come from the micro-drip lateral side or the emitter side of the industry. Both benefit from the advantages of having access to Maillefer’s resources to advance with their development projects.

Proven flow to success

1. In this particular consultation case, a producer of thin-wall laterals identified a business opportunity to start promoting the tape solution in his geographical market area. Maillefer assisted by providing the extrusion capacity fitted with rotomold technology, and with consultation services for proving the customer’s initial flow design. After several process tuning iterations, which involved profile redesigns with advice from experts, computer simulations, and multiple trials, the laterals were proven to meet top quality expectations. The satisfied customer got the industrialized production line that he was looking for. Plus, Maillefer’s team of specialists had given him the needed support to achieve an optimum tape lateral that incorporated his own design.

2. Another case involves an important producer of quality injected molded parts for different industries. They recognized micro-drip irrigation as a breakthrough innovation and immediately began working on their own emitter designs. Maillefer provided them with the testing grounds during several cycles of development. Each visit to our plant brought this customer closer to a unique emitter product that offers plenty of benefits to the end-user. Laterals produced on our pilot line and fitted with these emitters were then proven on our in-house flow tester. More than 10 visits later, the produced laterals moved from testing at Maillefer to field tests. The partnership formed through these consultation services allows this injection molding company to accelerate into the future of micro-drip irrigation.

Relationships that withstand time

Calling upon an outside source to get expertise represents a courageous and visionary step. Customers have shown their loyalty to us for years, some even for decades. We back up our services with NDAs when necessary. Consultation strengthens those bonds that lead to success, together as partners in the extrusion world.

Thierry de La Harpe
Irrigation Product Manager
thierry.delaharpe@maillefer.net

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