Campey Imants has never suggested the Shockwave range is an alternative to deep tine aeration systems. The key is to regard these now well-established units as tools that can help alleviate compaction, both when used on their own or in conjunction with other systems.

How the Imants Shockwave, Rotoknife and Rootpruner machines work

The Imants Shockwave rotary decompactor range is ideally suited to golf courses and other sports turf aeration, with good work rates and low maintenance as operating pluses.

The Shockwave, is designed to complement existing aeration systems. It should leave a clean finish, even in less than ideal conditions.

Campey Imants has never suggested the Shockwave range is an alternative to deep tine aeration systems. The key is to regard these now well established units as tools that can help alleviate compaction, both when used on their own or in conjunction with other systems.

The Shockwave range is divided into 155 and 210 models of 61” and 83”. These can be operated by compact tractors from 30hp for the 155 through to 60hp for the 210.

For deeper and more intensive operations, the 87” ‘heavy-duty’ 220 and the most recent addition to the range – the 110” wide 275 model for large outfield areas, are available. Primarily seen as a contractor tool, these physically larger units need to be operated by a ‘heavier’ tractor in the 80hp to 120hp power bracket. They use thicker 6/10” knives and also feature hydraulic depth adjustment from tractor to smooth rear roller.

All versions of the Shockwave have a central gearbox from which drive passes to a shaft fitted with three-blade rotors. These blades slice a vertical slit through the turf at a depth of up to 9” -or 3” for the heavy duty 220 model. Mechanically that about wraps it up. Even maintenance is minimal, there being no grease points on the smaller units with just the PTO shaft needing lubrication attention. The 220/275 model has a couple of grease points on the rear depth roll, but that is about it.

The blades are made from drop forged steel, with a curved profile that is claimed to preserve the blades overall length as it wears. The way in which the blade is made also helps to keep the cutting edge ‘sharp’. The blades have a slight offset that leads to a lateral shift in the sliced section of soil with each blade pass. Take a look at a Shockwave in action, and you can see the turf physically shuffling back and forth across the width of the unit as it moves forward. It is not a dramatic movement but it is sufficient to help relieve a layer of compaction.

The key is to establish the depth of compaction by digging a few test holes. The Shockwave is then set to the required working depth by adjusting the rear roller. It pays to follow the machine initially, checking the set depth is delivering the required results. The simplest approach is to use a simple probe, testing how easy it is to push through the soil both before and after the passage of the machine.

The Shockwave will either push smaller stones aside or slice through them. If the stone or other obstruction will not yield to the blade, the rotary action will lift the unit up and over the obstruction. Campey Imants suggest this is a key to the versatility of the Shockwave as it can be used in areas that may be considered too risky to treat with a tined aerator.

If the rotors do meet an object that will not allow the unit to slice through or force the machine out of the ground, the tractor and Shockwave transmission are protected via a torque-limiting clutch on the PTO. Once triggered, the clutch will reset once the obstruction has been cleared.

“The Shockwave is something I plan using many times year after year, its ease of use and small surface disruption is only a small part of the benefits I saw from it. I wasn’t expecting the results I saw, it was hard to imagine something so simple could work so well in relieving compacted soil.” Says Chris Morrow, Field Supervisor at Dallas Cowboys Football Club.

Summary: A Shockwave is one of those tools that can be a useful aid to relieving compaction over wider areas where surface disturbance needs to be minimised. Relatively fast and capable of working in less than ideal conditions, the Shockwave should prove easy to operate and look after. Most important of all it appears to do a good job.

The Imants Rotoknife is another versatile, effective linear aerator, designed to relieve surface compaction, improve aeration, reduce thatch build up and remove surface water.

The first thing that strikes about the Rotoknife is its clean and streamlined appearance. Closer examination shows that here is a very clever piece of engineering. With no fewer than five different functions, one would expect the machine to be complicated and bulky – but not a bit of it. To produce such a compact piece of equipment Imants have designed a counter weighted carousel system that is a breeze to operate.

Merely by removing a locking pin either side of the machine, enables the user to smoothly rotate the carousel and instantly swing into play any one of 4 different discs with different working depths, for any sports turf application. Replacing the locking pins then secures the unit in place ready for slitting to begin.

It has a fast action and covers a lot of ground in a short space of time.

Its variable working depths and linear spacings, allow deep slitting to a depth of 6” or shallow slitting at 2” spacing. So is ideal for both greens and fairways. Many golf courses have a large number of trees and pathways which certainly enhance the look of the course but roots and footfall can also create issues with compaction.

Imants have applied the same simple but effective design strategy to their RootPruner for easy root management and pathway aeration. As it is narrow and compact the RootPruner will easily access tight, restricted areas.

It can prune roots up to 4” in diameter and will stop root encroachment from absorbing valuable water and nutrients as well as preventing surface damage to vital areas on the course.

With the right machinery and maintenance programme any course, whatever the soil conditions and climate, can retain its individual character and beauty and still play to the highest championship standards.-By James de Havilland