Sisis Aer-Aid System

The Aer-Aid makes one pass across the cricket pitch. "You can feel the difference when you walk on the pitch," notes a tester. There is no denying that this machine — winner of the Horticulture Week IoG Saltex award for innovation in a sports turf product, is effective.

Sisis recognises that because the spaces between the soil particles of compacted ground are small, air passage to the roots is restricted. Compacted ground can also hold more water. The result is often black layer — a stagnant, anaerobic layer in which the roots die.
Sisis developed the Javelin 1500, a tractor-mounted, PTO-driven, vertical-action aerator, for use on fine and outfield turf. Last year, it transformed the Javelin from a conventional solid tine aerator into an air injector capable of physically forcing air into the rootzone.
The Aer-Aid System has air-injection tines alternating with normal solid tines. Both types are 10mm in diameter and carbide tipped but the air-injection tines have a hole towards the end and are connected to a compressor. The modular cam system, with toothed belt drive, triggers the compressor, ensuring the fresh air is blasted into the soil when the tine is at its deepest. Depth is variable to a maximum of 127mm.
Sisis calculates that working at 150mm spacing, air is introduced into the soil at a rate of 88 litres per minute. Disconnect the compressor and conventional aeration can take place. Optional tines for the Javelin include: 127cm tapered or seven-millimetre diameter solid tines; 12.5mm and 16mm diameter hollow tines; 22mm diameter jumbos; flat chisel; and fluted tines. Various tine-cluster units are also available.
With the air pumping, the Aer-Aid is driven back and forth across the pitch and then moved on to a green. It leaves a remarkably neat series of holes. “You can’t get any cleaner than that and the holes are nice and close,” says one tester. The speed and efficiency of the Aer-Aid is impressive. As the unit passes by, you can feel the pulses of air being discharged into the soil. What’s more, Sisis has independent test results to back up its claims about the effectiveness of the machine in terms of reducing hardness and increasing infiltration rates.
Despite the complex job accomplished by this machine, maintenance has been kept to a minimum. All bearings are fully sealed. There are two grease points on the main shaft and two on the roller. The engineering of the unit is typical Sisis — it’s sound.
We wonder if the principle could be applied to longer tines to alleviate deeper compaction in a similar manner.

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