Geoff Bailey, a Bend inventor and entrepreneur wants to make winterizing your watering systems for the year as easy as setting a dial and flipping a switch with his new Rocket Air product. It’s the world’s first self-contained, on-site sprinkler purging system designed for homeowners, small farmers, landscaping companies and lawn maintenance businesses.
The system gives the individual homeowner the flexibility to easily empty an irrigation or sprinkler system at any time of year, as many times as desired. Weather fluctuations often require the purging of entire watering networks several times with the sudden onset of cold fronts delivering an unexpected flash freeze.
“The residential prototype featured in the Youtube video is a little different than the one going into production, which will be one third the size with less components,” said Bailey. “This was just the test model and we wanted to see what kind of performance we could get out of it. The home unit will be electric with the ability to easily mount in your garage.”
This particular method of air compression has never been done before because you need about 60-80 cubic feet per minute to be able to purge any system correctly, a massive volume of air, and your standard piston type compressors just cannot produce that intense level of volume. Compressors with tanks in the past have required 30 and 40 amp breakers and most homes are not equipped for that.
“Our product does away with the tanks and produces a huge amount of air shot through the system,” he explained. “The 3-phase electric motor gives you more rpm and more horsepower. The air mover is spun at approximately 4000 rpm to create that much air flow. By splitting the standard 110-volt household current into three phase this unit only pulls between 6 and 8 amps which allows you to plug it in anywhere, even on a shared circuit.”
“For the Rocket Air commercial unit, we’re hoping to keep the retail cost at just under $2,000, the household unit price will depend on who eventually produces it.”
Right now, Bailey’s team is concentrating on producing a few more prototypes, then taking orders from irrigation companies and/or distributors nationwide.
Bailey came out of the Sun Valley, Idaho area and has been in the compressor business for close to 30 years. He and his partner Dan De Grossa, a retired electrical engineer, realized the contractor has always tried to get their compressors lighter and smaller. In the construction field you actually need more psi than cfm and this is where this whole process is heading for Bailey and his inventor crew. Bailey has primarily developed this Rocket Air unit as a winterizing product, and hopes to market it extensively to areas with harsher winter climates.
“If you were to hook this unit up where the water heater is and linked up to the main line and opened up the household faucets, you could winterize any vacant home or vacation unit that would normally be vulnerable to freeze damage.”
Benefits of Bailey’s machine include the extension of the watering season for your lawn, garden or orchard, protection of costly sprinkler pipes and buried lines, that all-valuable peace of mind and finally, the elimination of the added expense of hiring 3rd party firms to provide the purging service.
“We just started production on the 60-lb commercial unit that can fit in the bed of a pick-up or back of a van for transport,” said Bailey from his shop in Bend. “They’re manufactured right here in Bend, northeast of town, using the highest quality components and hoses. It operates off an 8hp gasoline motor and sits on a single wheeled cart. Irrigation companies will be attracted to this system due to its ease of use and mobility. There’s a company in New York looking at possibly licensing the home unit from us. The residential unit may start production sooner than you think if this company does not follow through.”
There are other new and innovative products coming down the pipeline ready for patent and Bailey’s future looks bright.
“It’s who I’ve surrounded myself with that’s made all this happened,” he said. “Whenever you develop an idea, it takes a whole group of talented people, one that works well together. It’s always a team effort, never one person.”
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