IRRIMAKER
IRRIGATION DESIGN

 

Background

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 system.
• What type of vegetation must be irrigated - This would in turn determine the precipitation required.
• 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 be added?
• What will the maximum pressure in the system be?
• Would pressure regulators be required?
• Will the pipe classes handle the pressure?

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 making process.

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 software

• MM provides for most if not all aspects for irrigation design.
• 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 informed.
• 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 software.

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 model is created.
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 sizing calculation.
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 customizable patterns.
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 lines.
7. The blocks will then be filled with the predetermined emitters and lateral pipes and by means of manifold pipes, connected to the block valve.
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 be made.

Related sites:
Irrigation Software


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