Photo caption: Peter Knight (left), with Nick Darking of Charterhouse Turf Machinery
Designed to relieve compaction, improve drainage and revitalise growth, the OxyShot was introduced into the Charterhouse Turf Machinery portfolio at BTME 2019. It was a long road to Harrogate though for the machine’s creator, Peter Knight, who spent 10 years converting the concept of the OxyShot into a reality…
Peter is a well-known name in the field of sports turf maintenance and construction. He established his company Bury Turfcare in 1988, and over the years has kept abreast with the tools and techniques required to keep playing surfaces first-rate. “When it came to the spot-treatment of heavily compacted soil, the go-to machine was always a Robin Dagger” says Peter. “I was regularly out contracting with the Robin Dagger, and it was a popular machine with groundsmen and greenkeepers across the industry.”
“While everyone who used it agreed it was a brilliant machine, it wasn’t without its problems! The noise of it deafened you, the emissions from the petrol-driven engine nearly choked you and the vibration of the unit nearly killed you! It therefore wasn’t a massive shock when it was removed from the market for Health and Safety reasons, however, a machine to conduct the same job never emerged into the market to fill the gap.”
“I spoke to a number of people who agreed there was definitely a gap in the market for a new air-injection machine, so I used the concept of a product that worked but went back to the drawing board for a completely new design. One of the main elements was to run the OxyShot purely off a large compressor, eliminating the need for electrics to reduce the risk of failures. The very first version of the OxyShot was pieced together in my shed, from various parts and components from other machines. I took this from engineer to engineer before I found someone who could invest the time, taking it piece by piece, to create bespoke components which would go on to form the very first prototype. It was then that Charterhouse Turf Machinery, and their parent company Redexim, became involved and suggested modifications that my engineer could work with.”
“It was all a massive learning curve, from understanding how to make the machine perform as I wanted, to sourcing all the necessary certification… 10 years of blood, sweat, and at times, tears. But the combination of my hands-on experience as a contractor, Redexim’s manufacturing know-how and the expertise of the engineer proved to be the perfect mix.”
The end result is a unit that uses a single 25mm probe to inject air into the soil in four directions, at a pressure of up to 110psi and to a maximum depth of 500mm (20”). It can also be fitted with an optional 14mm probe, to reduce the working depth to 250mm. It lifts, expands and de-compacts the ground, without the need for chemical applications.
Over at Ipswich Town Football Club, Grounds Manager Ben Connell has already experienced first-hand the benefits of the OxyShot. He explains, “Despite aerating with solid tines throughout the season, and into the lead-up to the wet winter, we had some problems with waterlogging on one of our academy pitches. I called Peter in December, who deduced there was a pan layer at a depth of roughly 400mm causing these areas to hold water. As the OxyShot can work deeper than regular aeration work, he brought the unit in to shatter the pan layer and since then, this area has been free-draining.”
So impressed with the results, Ben had the Oxyshot back a few weeks later to carry out air-injection on another problem area. “We worked on an area roughly 10m2 and the results were fantastic. We had some really significant rainfall throughout the winter and while some surrounding areas were very wet, the test patch was free-draining and clear of any puddling. Nine months later and we’re still seeing the benefits of the work, with no compaction to report. As we now pre-empt the winter, we’re looking to have the OxyShot back in to work on a couple of different areas that need a little extra attention.”
As well as dealing with compaction on sports pitches, the highly manoeuvrable unit can be easily transported for spot treatments in a variety of situations on the golf course – from high footfall areas such as walkways, to improving the drainage on greens and in bunkers. It can also be used for arboricultural operations, to deliver aeration to tree roots growing in compacted, air-starved soils.
The OxyShot is distributed exclusively throughout the UK by Charterhouse Turf Machinery.