Model Maker System's
irrigation design system is made up from the
Model Maker DTM software modules 1,2,6&17 and is
internationally marketed as IrriMaker.
MM (Model Maker) is suitable for agriculture and
landscaping. In agriculture the program is
capable of performing complex mainline designs
which include multiple pump configurations,
gravitational designs, ring mains with several
loops in the system. The program is also
suitable for several block design scenarios with
branching sub main lines and laterals. MM can
also be successfully used for landscaping- and
turf-irrigation designs. Please contact us if
you would like to see a real time demonstration
over the internet.
Preparing for design
Prior to designing the irrigation system, a
number of important pieces of information need
to be gathered and recorded on the IrriMaker
• What type of vegetation must be irrigated -
This would in turn determine the precipitation
• The spacing between plants and rows intervals
- In a sprinkler system, the sprinkler throw,
percentage of the overlaps and overall
uniformity is important.
• Water availability - What is the maximum area
that can be irrigated at one time. If needed,
the total area must be divided into smaller
blocks (or zones). The blocks must then be
defined to operate in pre defined shifts.
• The maximum and minimum slope in the
ground surface to be irrigated
• Do you have enough pressure from the water
source to the highest point?
• Must a booster pump
• What will the maximum pressure in the
• Would pressure regulators be
• Will the pipe classes handle the
IrriMaker has the tools and functions to assist
the designer in his decision making. Although we
have built limits and safety nets into the
program, the system still requires a
knowledgeable operator to understand the
warnings, hydraulic values and consequences of
certain design choices.
Model Maker (IrriMaker) does not carry out the
design decisions a design engineer needs to make
automatically. The program uses the information
that is given and performs a hydraulic design
based on pre-defined parameters as defined by
the designer to provide an optimum solution. The
program does however provide for calculation
tools to assist the designer in this decision
A variety of applications
A major draw card for the IrriMaker system is
that it is not only restricted to sprinkler
designs despite the fact that it was initially
designed only for such systems. After only a few
months on the market, so many micro and drip
designers got interested in the system that we
quickly enhanced the features to also include
drip design. Presently the software handles any
of the systems with the greatest of ease. We
also have no limit on any combination of
sprinkler and drip systems within the same
design. Flood irrigation and the internal
hydraulics of central pivots are not catered
for, but because Model Maker is used by so many
industries like civil engineers, land surveyors,
mining, landscapers AND irrigation designers.
The product has excellent tools to perform
designs of almost any mass earthwork structure
like dam walls, channels, canals, terraces and
many others. These functions are part of the
rest of the 21 modules of the software.
Fact Box 1: Main features of IrriMaker
• MM provides for most if not all aspects for
• What sets it apart is the fact that MM has an
integrated CAD, DTM (digital terrain model) and
IRRIGATION DESIGN engine.
• The ease of use is also a plus point with a
very short learning curve.
• The product is also very cost effective with a
dedicated support backend.
• The main feature will definitely be the
integration and flexibility that we have between
the survey, cad and irrigation design modules.
On most other systems these will be available
from different software packages and different
developers. In IrriMaker the three systems all
exist within the same program and share a common
database. For instance, the survey complements
the cad by providing the coordinates from which
the detail layout can be drawn. The survey
provides real time elevations for the irrigation
design and any node or pipe is instantly placed
on the correct elevation. When laying out the
irrigation elements, unlimited use can be made
of the defined cad elements and cad features.
Designs can be annotated and any detail sketch
e.g. valve clusters, pump or filter
configurations can be drawn with ease. Existing
diagrams and drawings from dwg, dgn
and dxf formats
can also be imported and be used in Model Maker.
• The irrigation module itself has been designed
to be flexible, provide automation where needed,
allow the user to control critical aspects, has
a safety net to warn when limits are exceeded
and most of all, has a complete graphical
interface that always keeps you visually
• One of the advantageous features of IrriMaker
is the ability to design multiple block layouts
on top of each other. This is specifically
useful in designs where windbreaks or
landscaping areas like rose hedges form part of
the irrigated block, but does not form part of
the original block demand.
• Because of the CAD functionality virtually any
image (including MrSID &
JPG2000 ecw) can be loaded and
be used as a backdrop behind any design.
• Another advantage of IrriMaker is the
comprehensive support we provide. The system has
been developed in South Africa and our dedicated
team is always available to provide support and
implement user requested improvements.
• Model Maker Systems software is currently
being used in 58 countries which provides a
broad base of input for enhancements to the
Fact Box 2: Steps in the design process
1. The designer will most of the time start out
with a survey drawing. If a survey is not
available then he will have to visit the terrain
and by using a survey instrument (e.g. total
station or GPS [Global positioning system]),
record the needed survey points so that a
drawing can be produced from the area to be
irrigated. If the terrain is flat and the
elevations are not important, only a minimum
number of points are required. If the elevations
and consequent pressures in the system becomes
prominent, enough survey points must be measured
in order to perform accurate hydraulic
calculations in IrriMaker.
2. The survey points will then be loaded into
IrriMaker and a digital terrain
3a. Once the survey is in place and contours are
available the user will use the integrated CAD
and draw the boundaries and other surface
features if necessary.
3b. For agricultural drip, micro or sprinkler
block design, the designer will define the
irrigation block areas to be irrigated.
3c. Next he will define the emitter and pipe type
to be used and fill the block with laterals.
3d. Finally, he will define the sub-mainline and
perform the hydraulic calculation and pipe
4a. For landscaping and turf design, he will
define the different sprinkler types and
position each one. The sprinkler angle can be
set and rotated to the desired positions with
4b. Then he will define the valve positions and,
if necessary define a shift schedule for each
valve. All of these will be connected with pipes
leading from a supply source after which MM will
calculate the hydraulics and pipe sizing.
5. Mainlines works in much the same way as the
turf/landscaping design process but the
difference is that the source is a pump node and
demand nodes are mostly valves leading into
irrigation blocks, pivots or any other form of
demand valve or emitter.
6. The area to be irrigated will be identified
and depending on the required precipitation and
available water volume, the user will determine
the number of sub blocks in the system. The
boundaries of the blocks can be defined by
interactively using the DTM points and cad
7. The blocks will then be filled with the
predetermined emitters and lateral pipes and by
means of manifold pipes, connected to the block
8. The hydraulics of the block will be done and
once all the blocks have been designed, the
mainline pipe system will be put in place.
9. After the hydraulics of the whole system has
been verified, the bill of materials can be
calculated and design prints of the system can