Last year a Hunter Industries irrigation system, supplied by KAR UK, was installed at the iconic London Stadium. After seeing a number of benefits, Head Groundsman James Williams wanted to extend the Hunter system to other areas of the stadium.
The former Swansea and Liberty Stadium groundsman has certainly made an impression in London since he took the job in 2016. James’ work has been widely praised by his peers, and also by players and managers. By his own admission he is addicted to his profession.
“I think every head groundsman has a bit of an obsession with their pitch,” he said. “The lads are always asking why I’m messaging them even when I’m on holiday but I have cameras all around the pitch which I view on my phone and I’m forever spotting things. It’s difficult to switch off.”
James now has even greater control over the pitch when it comes to irrigation – so much so that he can even manage it from his own home or wherever he may be.
“We’ve got probes in the pitch which give me a lot of readings such as moisture, the humidity in the stadium, the temperature and a lot more. Every morning I get an email with a report telling me what the moisture levels are from three different depths. If I see that the moisture has dropped below 10% then I’ll turn the irrigation system on through my phone.”
This advantage has all been made possible thanks to a newly installed Hunter Industries irrigation system. Last year James felt that he was not getting the best out of the previous irrigation system and the pitch wasn’t getting the water it needed. After getting in touch with KAR UK, the UK’s leading wholesaler of irrigation equipment, a new Hunter system was installed. The system included eight of the most technologically advanced commercial rotors on the market – the all-new 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.
“I was instantly impressed with how good they were,” said James. “The service from KAR UK was also excellent and was part of the reason why I decided to go ahead and replace the outfield and pitch surrounds with the new Hunter TTS-885’s with no-bounce covers and turf cups.”
The new Hunter TTS-800 rotors provide maximum uniformity and longevity as they use the same gear drive and nozzles as the I-80’s. The high-torque gear drives are the strongest in the industry, so the challenges of reclaimed water use or poor water quality are mitigated. An extra-large, fast-access flange compartment comfortably accommodates wire connections and other components.
James and his team are now able to control the system both to the pitch and the outfields through the mobile-friendly Centralus irrigation management platform. This provides highly secure, comprehensive cloud-based control and monitoring features to the new ACC2 controller at the stadium. 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 a technologically advanced system, yet incredibly user friendly – something which James felt was important.
“The one thing that stands out the most for me is that this system is very simple to use and that was essential. I needed something that the whole team could use – not just myself.
“I’m very impressed with the whole system. There is a reason that more and more stadiums are switching over to Hunter.
“The service and support from KAR UK has again been fantastic.”
For more information, please visit www.karuk.com