Irrigation Innovation: Hunter Factory Tour
Last month, Hunter Irrigation’s Bay Area representative Christine Hawkins, invited the San Mateo office to visit their corporate headquarters and factory located in San Marcos, California. Team members Shawn Sanfilippo and Pierre Chin-Dickey took this opportunity to learn more about some of Hunter’s products and how they are researched, developed, and produced.
After a quick flight to San Diego, we were immediately carted off to the Hunter headquarters. The facility is a LEED platinum building that sits above their extended campus and manufacturing facility. Marty with the Marketing Department was able to show us the new line of details that Hunter was working on for their drip systems to help designers design using Hunter products. Afterwards, we had a presentation featuring a selection of Hunter’s flagship products, such as Hunter’s 2-wire controllers and their drip irrigation product Eco-mat. Mike Madewell introduced us to Hunter’s I-Core, Dual, and ACC 2-wire controllers. We had a 2-wire bootcamp through the entire setup of a 2-wire system from wiring and control process, to making sure we were grounding all of our stations. We were shown some very compelling photos of Eco-mat installations and the positive results in extreme drought areas, especially in turf streetscape applications. Afterwards we wrapped up the night at Stone Brewery where we had a chance to dine on some delicious food and drinks amongst Stone’s beautiful garden which was lighted with nothing less than Hunter’s FX Luminaires.
On Friday we had a chance to tour the Hunter factory along with a group of Cal Poly Landscape Architecture students. We toured all the departments from shipping, manufacturing, and product testing. On the MP Rotor manufacturing floor, we saw dozens of machines molding tons of plastic pellets into MP Rotor heads, while overhead tracks carried spray bodies to their shipping boxes. The drip line manufacturing machine was especially fascinating as it shot out yards of hot plastic tube at 400 degrees F and had a small shotgun that inserted the emitters in the drip line. In the testing room, a large area contained a series of small buckets radiating out from a single stand where Hunter can test a particular spray head. These buckets capture data for distribution uniformity and also precipitation rates.
We also had a great presentation and demonstration by FX luminaires displaying their latest models and some really fascinating technology using their mobile device controlled light systems. Since all of FX Luminaire systems are low voltage, landscape architects can design our own lighting on a project and save money on contracting out to a sub!
Though the trip was quick it was very interesting to meet all the people behind the product. Everyone we met was full of pride and enthusiasm for their company. Christine and the whole Hunter staff were very hospitable and made sure our trip was equal parts educational and fun!
-Pierre Chin-Dickey & Shawn Sanfilippo