• Freestyle Grates

    Freestyle Grates


    Flexible production tools make it possible to create unique grate designs for projects on a standard grate.


    Architectural features such as entrances, promenades, courtyards and landscaped areas, whether public or private, can all have their appearance enhanced through the use of Freestyle

    and Exotic grates. Freestyle Grates offer a semi-custom option with the opportunity to design the top surface look of an iron grate to complement any project design. When the grate design and/or material becomes a focal point, exotic grates can be fully customized with a variety of materials and/or finishes to suit specific requirements.


    Flexible production tools make it possible to create unique grate designs for projects with a custom surface design on a standard KlassikDrain DrainLok grate.The two-part tool consists of a standard lower part to provide the structural support of the grate and a customizable top part where unique designs can be created.


    Read more: http://www.acodrain.us/freestyle.html.




  • ACO Announces Kroy McLean as New President



    CASA GRANDE, June 13, 2017 – ACO, Inc. is pleased to announce Kroy McLean as their new President of the USA operations. Kroy assumed responsibilities on June 5, 2017 and succeeds Vaclav Tikalsky, who was appointed in January to another ACO company.


    Kroy comes to ACO from Allegion, where he served as the Vice President of Strategic Sales for the past three years. During that time, he led the sales operation of door hardware and electronic security solutions for strategic channels within the Americas business. Kroy is relocating to the Phoenix area with his family and will work out of the Casa Grande, Arizona ACO location.


    “I am excited to be a part of this great business as we seek to more closely align with the needs of our customers, employees, and stakeholders. ACO has a tremendous heritage and is well positioned to deliver increased value in the marketplace. I look forward to working with our employees and our customers as we continue to build on the success of the past several years.”


    Established in 1946, the ACO group has manufactured products for almost 70 years in the construction industry. It operates on a global basis through its subsidiaries and manufacturing facilities in over 45 countries in North America, Europe and Asia. ACO employs over 4,000 people worldwide. ACO Polymer Products, Inc. introduced the concept of modular trench drains to North America over 30 years ago. Today, ACO in North America is a multi-site manufacturing and sales operation using a variety of materials for its extensive range of drainage products for all aspects of building and construction. ACO USA has locations in Casa Grande, AZ; Mentor, OH and Fort Mill, SC.


    For more information on ACO, Inc., please visit www.acousa.com.



  • Solutions for the Drainage Dilemma

    A quick perusal of once-popular English literature would show that the Victorians, and indeed a century of their predecessors, were eager to adopt any innovations to improve drainage. While most agrarian societies fought weather, taxes, and landlords to keep crops in the field, drainage for them and the estate managers was key to “turning profitless waste into land fit for tillage and pasture.” On the other hand, crowded urban dwellers were repulsed by the lack of conveyance to remove standing water, rain, and sewage; the term drainage (and the lack of it) for them connoted entirely different circumstances.


    Without the seemingly limitless expanse of land in the US, Britain and small European countries devised ingenious plans to drain land for profitable use. Looking back today on some of those Victorian novels whose droning prose on the dilemmas of drainage bored most of us into oblivion as we waded through years of requisite reading, we can now appreciate the immense challenges of earlier engineers and landowners.


    Then as now, drainage for the landowners presented a simple choice between profit and loss. While this still holds, today the stakes are higher and far more complicated. Regulations, human safety, public health, transportation access, environmental conservation, and more are the measures that guide drainage efforts.


    And we have something our ancestors didn’t: tough and durable piping systems made from the latest formulations of concrete, plastics, and engineered corrugated steel.


    Dutch Determination Demands the Best

    Holland, MI, located in Ottawa County on the east side of Lake Michigan about two hours north of Chicago, was originally founded by Dutch Calvinist separatists. Settling in the 1840s near the Black River that streamed to Lake Macatawa and led to Lake Michigan, they established a First Reformed Church and founded Hope College, which was chartered by the state in 1866.


    John Tenpas, civil group manager with Driesenga and Associates in Grand Rapids, MI, describes the latest project to create a new home to the school’s musical arts program, the building of the Jack Miller Center for Musical Arts. “The goal was to move the music facility to a vacant site that the college had purchased from the city with the help of significant private donors. Driesenga played a very important role in geotechnical services. “We led the site design effort with evaluation of site soils and recommendations for foundations, floors, retaining walls, and excavation stability.”


    He adds that the comprehensive evaluation was crucial because the site had been vacant and planning, literally from the ground up, was necessary to address the significant increase in runoff volume that would be created. Another aspect was the overarching concern for the appearance of the project.


    “It was very important that all the drainage and stormwater systems were virtually invisible. The aesthetic of this project was paramount, and we had to come up with unobtrusive but effective drainage features,” says Tenpas. He notes that the facility faces the street, and with “thousands of cars passing each day, high pedestrian traffic, and a wide range of performances, we didn’t want to mar the aesthetic presentation with drainage features such as round iron castings and typical drainage elements that would detract from the stunning brick and glass façade.”


    The new 43,000-square-foot center has an acoustically superior concert hall that seats 800, as well as offices, classrooms, practice rooms, and rehearsal halls. The civil engineers successfully accommodated both drainage and appearance demands. They developed a grading plan that accommodated the architect’s vision to include barrier-free ramps and short knee walls, with water managed through a 300-foot trench train.


    “We used Brickslot from ACO Drain, which is a very discreet drainage solution,” says Tenpas. “One of the concerns we had was keeping the area free of water and snow while at the same time using a product that was smooth. You don’t want people in dress shoes getting caught in typical drain surfaces, nor have them slip on snow or ice buildup.”


    Tenpas says that the Brickslot trench drain was installed in five sections, with the longest being 114 feet and the shortest about 32 feet. These were positioned under pavers where the land was graded to slope away from the building. The collected water is conveyed to an underground retaining system, which ties into the city of Holland’s stormwater system. The drain is virtually invisible.

  • 8 Ways ACO Drainage Systems Use Smart Design to Manage Water

    Even though they might not receive an overall design credit, a drainage systems company called ACO is playing an important role in the building of some of the world’s greatest venues—sites like Rio’s Olympic Park, New York City’s World Trade Center complex, Dubai International Airport, and L.A.’s Hollywood Boulevard. The list goes on to include hospitals, military bases, fire stations, wineries, food manufacturing plants, and others.


    If you’ve visited any of these sites, you’ve likely benefited from—and yet overlooked—ACO’s work. That’s because most of it is underground.


    The ACO team specializes in advanced drainage systems: the largely invisible channels built into parking lots and plazas that “save people from water and water from people,” says Jaclyn Revis, marketing services manager for the company’s U.S. division.


    “Without a way to evacuate water from the surface of a site, it’s going to sit there,” she says, adding that the water could also freeze and become dangerous. “It’s going to deteriorate the pavement, which leads to potholes that could be dangerous to pedestrians.” Beyond redirecting surface water, ACO’s systems also help treat and repurpose it, preventing pollutants from entering the water table and contributing to sustainable water practices.


    The company began as a small workshop in Büdelsdorf, Germany in 1946, founded by then-22-year-old Josef-Severin Ahlmann. The young inventor experimented with various designs (from hay feeders to excavation equipment and drainage) on the site of an iron foundry started by his ancestors in the 1820s and overseen by his mother, who was said to be one of the greatest female entrepreneurs of her time, beginning in 1931.


    Eventually, Ahlmann and his growing company, ACO (short for “Ahlmann Company”), found their specialty in drainage systems, emphasizing durable materials, smart design, and environmental care. The Ahlmann family continues to advance this vision today, operating in more than 40 countries under the direction of Josef-Severin’s nephew, Hans-Julius Ahlmann, and Iver Ahlmann, the son of Hans-Julius Ahlmann. The company is especially active in the U.S., where smart drainage systems are becoming more relevant alongside tightening water regulations.


    While concrete has been widely used to make drainage pipes throughout the past century, the material actually breaks down when used to channel water. That’s because concrete made with cement is highly porous: As it comes in contact with fluid, pollutants in the water such as road salts or pesticides seep into the material, causing it to crack. It’s also weakened as it freezes and thaws. This leads to hefty repair costs and material waste as concrete pipes degrade over time.


    ACO solves for these issues by designing with polymer concrete, an alternative to concrete that’s bound with resins rather than cement. Through the addition of these polymers, which boost the material’s thermal stability and resistance to chemicals, it becomes less porous and more durable (not to mention stronger and lighter), according to the International Journal of Polymer Science.


    One of the company’s most-used systems is a modular trench drain, which is essentially a long, narrow trough featuring a continuous grate that captures water along its span. These systems draw on the concept behind prefab homes, in which relatively lightweight components are designed to be easily shipped and assembled on-site. The segments come in meter and half-meter lengths, in a variety of channel sizes, and they fit together according to male/female ends. “You don’t need big excavators like you would for a 10-foot pipe,” Revis says. “You’re digging a couple feet down to be able to install these modular trenches, and it takes one to two people to move the pieces.”


    These trenches also come pre-sloped—meaning the gradient required to actually redirect water is built into the system, as opposed to needing to be calibrated and dug by installation crews.


    In many cases, the best thing drainage can do for the aesthetics of a site is blend in. This is what the company sought to achieve with its “Brickslot” system. The modular system features a very narrow grate (as slim and heel-friendly as .3 inches) that, when installed, sits flush with the hardscape. The design especially appeals to landscape architects, Revis says. “They’re working with plazas and parks where they need drainage in a big way, but they don’t want to make it a focal point. They can put it along the edge of a fountain, and the [line of the] grate becomes a design element.”


    For architects and engineers wanting to embellish the details of a site (and perhaps surprise pedestrians), the company offers grates with custom surfaces—think geometric patterns, dimensional leaves, or even a company’s brand mark.


    ACO also recently launched an online tool to help architects and engineers envision various grate and pavement pairings in the context of their project (acovisualizer.com). You select just a few details such as project type, desired drainage features, and surface finish, and the tool serves up product specs and an image of the elements in play.


    One of the company’s most “disruptive” designs, Revis says, is its applications for sports venues. In fact, the company has provided drainage for nearly every Olympic venue since 1972. These venues are highly specific, and drainage on-site is especially visible, so high-performing systems and accurate construction are key. With features like rubber grate edges to keep athletes safe, ACO Sport is a drainage system designed to integrate with playing fields and multi-purpose grounds (i.e., a track and field). “Putting drainage in between those two surfaces is a real need,” Revis says, adding that standing water on turf or courts is not only dangerous to athletes but deteriorates the facilities


    Similarly, smart drainage is crucial to commercial kitchens and food processing plants, spaces where poor water management could lead to food contamination. Here, drainage has to work doubly hard: These settings not only involve heavy water use (for both food production and cleaning) but they create grease and solids that can’t be released back into the public sewer system.


    For spaces like these, ACO has done the dirty work of engineering a range of “hygienic” drainage—systems made of parts that are specifically shaped and streamlined to avoid food and bacteria buildup. These systems, which go beyond U.S. standards to meet European regulations, feature components like slip-resistant grates, foul air traps (to stave off food odor), and self-cleaning grease separators.


    Since the late 1980s, the company has worked with environmental specialists to develop a series of “amphibian tunnels,” designed to allow small animals to safely move through developed areas. “These tunnels go under highways and roads, allowing animals to cross underneath,” Revis explains.


    In Santa Cruz, California, for example, the developers of a high-end housing development used this line to protect the area’s endangered Santa Cruz long-toed salamander. Built using materials recommended by local conservationists, the system pairs fences to prevent animals from reaching the road with tunnels to guide them below. Near Calgary, in Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park, a similar system steers small creatures clear of park roadways.


    In open natural areas, rainfall organically filters back into the water table, but in developed or hardscaped areas, stormwater needs to be thoughtfully managed—that is, collected, treated, and reused when possible. This is the practice of sustainable drainage.


    To this end, ACO has designed a system called StormBrixx to help sites harvest—and repurpose—large amounts of rainwater. The system is a network of cell-like containers installed beneath the surface of a parking lot or airport, for example. These containers pair with water-treatment devices such as oil-water separators to enable water to be reused on-site (an increasing demand in dry states like California).


    “Designers and engineers are scrambling to meet new regulations and trying to make sure products they use help keep water on the property,” Revis says. Designs like this also help projects earn LEED credits for capturing and repurposing runoff, and for reducing a site’s water use. This is the future of drainage—a widespread use of systems that save and recycle water, just as nature intended it.

  • Innovations in Stainless Steel - Business in Focus Magazine - December 2016

    ACO's initial success came from its unique and innovative trench drainage solution that saves both time and money. The company's modular trench drains are factory manufactured and then shipped to site and installed. Manufacturing the product in a controlled environment ensures quality and lowers the production cost. In fact, pre-cast modular trench drains typically cost about 10 percent less to install than catch basin systems and 20 percent less than cast –in-place trench drain systems. Long term cost of ownership is also reduced by simpler maintenance and operational costs.


    The various standard lengths of each interconnecting channel makes transportation easy, while the male/female interconnected ends allow for versatile configuration and continuous sloped run. With up to 40 interconnecting channel sizes available in one system, modular sloped trenches can be as long as 125 feet. In addition, neutral channels with no slop can be inserted within that run to create an even longer system.


    ACO has a dedicated research and development department that continues to develop innovative market leading drainage solutions. The company’s latest innovation is in the stainless steel drainage sector. ACO Strategic Manager, Mark Haydon sat down with Business in Focus to share the lasts advancements in this area to follow up on last year’s feature.


    The company’s stainless steel drainage solutions deliver an affordable and hygienic drainage option for the pharmaceutical and food industries or any industrial facility subject to chemicals or aggressive cleaning regimes. The product is ideal for sensitive areas that require a more hygienic solution such as restaurants, wineries, food processing facilities, beverage plants, commercial kitchens and hospitals.


    “At ACO, hygiene always comes first,” Mr. Haydon explains. “Our HygieneFirst philosophy represents our commitment to delivering products that provide the ultimate in hygienic performance.” This commitment-and R&D capability-has allowed ACO to bring the first product of its kind to market. “We are the first company to incorporate and independently certify hygienic design principles into commercial drainage,” he says.


    “When we are talking about ‘hygienic’, we literally mean ‘easy to clean’,” Mr. Haydon elaborates. “Drains that are designed to strict hygienic standards allow the cleaning process to be more efficient, which reduces the risk of contamination while still controlling costs”. ACO’s easy to clean drains experience less soil buildup than traditional drains – and whatever soil does accumulate is easier to remove, right down to the microbiological level. Furthermore, ACO’s grates and removable parts have rounded corners so the product is safer to handle the cleaning process than other options available in today’s market.


    These attributes make the product stand out from the competition. “What we see in the market is a lot of floor drains and drainage solutions that are non-hygienic and have crevices and surfaces that actually trap and hold soil and are very hard to clean. You are generating problems for yourself in these environments because you can’t clean it, and if you can’t clean it, that means that the pathogens and the microbes are going to remain and there is obviously a risk associated with that.” Research shows that 70 percent of positive screenings for listeria in the food processing environment are found in drains.


    A sanitary processing environment is imperative in the food industry and maintaining a hygienic, easy to clean drainage system that helps achieve this. “Drainage can often be out of sight and out of mind – but unfortunately poor drainage solutions are so often a source of continuous operational and maintenance problems,” Mr. Haydon points out. “In the food processing environment, poor hygienic drainage is a potential source of contamination. We’ve all seen the headlines about outbreaks of listeria, salmonella and other pathogens in our food. In order to protect the quality and integrity of our food, steps must be taken to reduce the risk of contamination. An important component of this is keeping the processing environment sanitary.” Research shows that drains can contribute up to 30 percent of the total bacteria contamination risk within the food processing area.


    The challenge of maintaining food safety has increased as consumer preference trends move toward cost savings, wellness, and convenience. “Food consumption preferences are changing. Today’s consumers require products that are fresh, easy to prepare with little or no heat treatment and fewer preservatives. The food industry needs to accommodate these preferences but also reduce the risk of food contamination.”


    When the food industry fails to maintain food safety standards and contamination occurs, the results can be disastrous for public health and for the affected business. “Brand names can be damaged in minutes through our hyper-connected society,” Mr. Haydon points out.


    The government continues to increase regulation to boost food safety. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Preventative Controls for Human Food aims to make food producers proactively prevent food contamination rather than react to problems or foodborne illness outbreaks when they occur. ACO’s stainless steel drains can help the food industry achieve these preventive measures.


    The company’s stainless steel drains have earned NSF/3A certification, demonstrating their effectiveness at preventing contamination. Specifically, the company’s hygienic floor drains, hygienic floor troughs and hygienic cast and ladder grates for the hygienic floor drains will now display the NSF/ANSI 3A 14159-1-2014 certification mark to show that their hygienic performance complies with the strict standards and procedures of the NSF/3A.


    The achievement is an industry first. “As a responsible manufacturer and business partner, ACO has become the first and only drainage company to obtain NSF international is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization recognized as a world leader in standards development, product certification, education and risk-management for public health and safety.


    ACO’s innovative solutions are affordable and adaptable to a broad range of circumstances. “ACO’s stainless products are competitive against existing products in the market.” says Mr. Haydon. The competitive against existing products in the market,” says Mr. Haydon. The company recommends one-piece units as the most hygienic solution for high-risk zones. “If the optimum drainage solution ends up being long runs-10 to 20 foot-then it can have an impact on transport options and costs, but it’s a tiny percentage overall. What is important to look at is the lifetime cost of ownership with stainless drainage solutions. The benefit is reduced downtime for cleaning and maintenance due to the advanced hygienic design and manufacturing technologies. Additionally, the risk of employee and customer accidents is lowered due to rounded internal corners and anti-slip features on the grates. These tangible benefits combined translate to much lower lifetime ownership costs.”


    ACO’s products have become so popular that the company recently opened a new manufacturing facility to meet the demands of the United States’ northeastern market. The company’s original factory, located in Chardon, Ohio, was unable to accommodate the growing production needs, so a site 16 miles away in Mentor, Ohio was selected that could handle the company’s expanding needs, increasing product capacity by 35 percent. The stainless steel manufacturing facility in Casa Grande, AZ location has also been expanded to accommodate the growth of the company’s stainless steel division.


    As the company continues to expand, the team plans to keep leading the market across a wide range of drainage solutions. “ACO has an ongoing commitment to very high standards of manufacturing and to research-led product development, which ensures its products deliver optimum hygienic performance,” Mr. Haydon summarizes.


    The company will continue to work closely with flooring companies on the drain-to-drain interface research to ensure a durable and safe connection, and with a product portfolio that includes products to collect, clean, hold and release water, ACO is the leader surface water management solutions in both internal and external applications.


    As the first drainage manufacturer to become a member of EHEDG (European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group), ACO will continue to work in close cooperation with the rest of the industry to develop new guidelines for hygienic drainage in the food processing industry around the globe. After nearly 40 years of growth and success in the American market, ACO is well placed to lead the industry while forging ahead into new, innovative territory.

  • ACO Becomes FIrst and Only Drainage company to obtain NSF Certification for Hygienic Drainage Products


    August 22, 2016 – Leading commercial drainage company, ACO, has become the first and only drainage company to obtain NSF/ANSI 3A 14159-1-2014 certification for its products from NSF International – a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization which is a world leader in standards development, product certification, education and risk-management for public health and safety.


    The NSF/ANSI 3A 14159-1-2014 standard refers to the hygienic requirements  in food processing. This certification shows that the hygienic performance of ACO’s drainage systems and products comply with the strict standards and procedures of the NSF. It also underlines ACO’s ongoing commitment to the very high standards of manufacturing and to research-led product development, which ensures its products deliver optimum hygienic performance. All of ACO’s hygienic floor drains, hygienic floor troughs and hygienic cast and ladder grates for the hygienic floor drains will now display the NSF certification mark.


    Commenting on the certification, Vaclav Tikalsky, President of ACO, Inc. in the USA, said, “We are delighted to receive NSF certification for our products. ACO is committed to raising standards across every part of the hygienic drainage process to help food and drink manufacturers, foodservice outlets, healthcare facilities and operators of other hygiene-sensitive environments put hygiene first. We are committed to the very highest operational standards at all of our manufacturing facilities worldwide. NSF certification reflects this commitment to high standards throughout every part of our operations and also our commitment to championing improvements throughout our industry.”


    As a leading advocate of hygienic design, ACO also has EN 1253 and EN 1672 certification for its Hygienic Floor Drain and Hygienic Trench Drain product ranges as well and all products are CE marked. ACO’s stainless steel drainage products apply hygienic design principles that are normally reserved for food contact surfaces – as listed in EN 1672 and EN ISO 14159. With a strong collaborative relationship with the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG), ACO also follows the best practice design principles of EHEDG documents numbers 8, 13 and 44 and was the first drainage manufacturer to become a member of EHEDG.


    For more information about ACO, the HygieneFirst philosophy and ACO’s hygienic drainage systems, visit http://www.acobuildingdrainage.com/.


    Established in 1946, the ACO group has manufactured products for almost 70 years in the construction industry. It operates on a global basis through its subsidiaries and manufacturing facilities in over 45 countries in North America, Europe and Asia. ACO employs over 4,000 people worldwide. ACO stands for professional drainage, efficient cleaning and the controlled discharge or reuse of water and is committed to raising industry standards with regard to hygienic drainage.


     ACO, Inc. in the USA introduced the concept of modular trench drains to North America over 30 years ago. Today, ACO in North America is a multi-site manufacturing and sales operation using a variety of materials for its extensive range of drainage products for all aspects of building and construction. ACO USA has locations in Arizona, South Carolina and Ohio.


  • Putting Hygiene - and drainage - First


    Stainless-steel drainage systems are an increasingly popular choice with today’s public-health engineers and designers in the food and beverage, professional kitchen environment, and the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.


    Stainless steel offers a host of benefits compared to more traditional materials, including long-term durability and aesthetics. For engineers, the superior hygienic performance, ease of installation, on-site health and safety benefits, and system compatibility with other drainage system components are some of the key advantages.


    Due to the lighter weight of stainless steel than other traditional materials, less onsite handling equipment needs to be used, which reduces the risk of a manual handling-related injury. With reduced manual handling required, installation is easier and quicker, reducing installation costs and time.


    When looking at the performance of the drainage system once in place, stainless steel also is the material of choice for engineers looking to deliver optimal hygienic performance and lifetime cost efficiency. Stainless steel is easy to clean and its smooth surface helps reduce the likelihood of a drainage system becoming contaminated with harmful micro-organisms and bacteria leading to permanent residence of pathogens within the system.


    Ease of cleaning reduces downtime and costs. The high corrosion resistance of stainless steel also means there is no need to apply internal coatings that are expensive and often fail, negatively impacting hygienic performance.


    When manufactured to high standards and fully pickle passivated, stainless-steel drain products deliver the advantages of long-term durability, the need for virtually zero maintenance and high life expectancy.


    So what are some of the key things a specifier should look for when specifying stainless-steel drainage products?


    Clean Products


    With industry trends for fresher food choices, less preservatives and less heat treatment, recent research and improvements in best practices tell us the food industry increasingly recognizes poor facility hygiene can be a direct result of bacteria present in a processing facility’s drainage. It’s widely accepted that hygienic drainage is critical to any food manufacturing or processing facility, whether you’re an international brewer or your business manufactures ready meals for a major supermarket.


    As a result, the industry needs to incorporate the hygienic design principles usually reserved for food-contact equipment into drainage design and improve specification standards in order to mitigate potential problems.


    So why is your drainage specification so important? Apart from the obvious issues regarding public health and brand reputation, there also are regulatory and best-practice standards to consider.


    It is clear drainage specification should be a high priority along with the design of the flooring and other infrastructure items.


    When specifying hygienic drainage, there are some basic, practical aspects to consider to ensure you have a drainage system that mitigates hygiene risks and the likelihood of cross contamination.


    Choosing the right materials: Stainless steel long has been established as the primary material of choice in the food sector and where hygiene is concerned. An engineer or hygienic technologist also needs to consider operating conditions such as acidity and temperature, and more importantly to fully understand the cleaning methodology and chemicals that will be used during the cleaning process before deciding which grade of steel to use.


    Welding process: The manufacturing process with regard to welds and welding should include welds that are continuous, smooth, ground and/or polished to eliminate uneven surfaces or pitting. Overlapping joints must not be used, which would create a void that will harbor bacteria. Welds should not be made in corners. Smooth contours eliminate crevices that can harbor bacteria.


    Pickle passivation: If it’s not fully pickle passivated, the stainless steel will suffer from corrosion and pitting which, in turn, will lead to the risk that it can’t be properly cleaned. It’s essential that the drainage system is fully pickle passivated. Processors which use localized pickling or pickle paste run the risk of failing to meet longer-term durability requirements.


    Product design considerations: This affects both the functionality of the drainage and its “cleanability,” a potentially overlooked consideration in the product selection process.


    Designing with cleanability in mind


    After taking into account the considerations above, there are four questions you should ask yourself to ensure your drainage system design meets hygienic requirements.


    Is your design fully drainable? Drainage channels need to have completely drainable bodies with engineered positive drainage features to prevent the build-up of stagnant water, smells, microbial growth and potential chemical hazards. If the drainage isn’t fully drainable, its hygienic performance will be compromised.


    Does your drainage have rounded corners? Sharp corners are harder to clean, particularly if they are situated at a right angle or bend, which means there’s a very real risk that the corner won’t get cleaned effectively. To ensure every part of the drainage surface is easily accessible, drainage should have rounded component features and corners with a minimum radius of 3 mm.


    Can your drainage be cleaned without power-washing? In spite of what some companies will say, one of the worst things you can do is power-wash your drainage. Power-washing creates ballistic droplets or a high-velocity spray. Your drainage should be designed in a way that power-washing is not required.


    Operational considerations


    Health, safety and cost management are keys to running a successful business. Ensure drainage design optimizes the safety of the people working in and cleaning a facility. Some basic requirements include the specification of slip-resistant products and grates that are easy to handle to avoid injuries and cuts.


    In terms of cost, ask how cost efficient the drainage system will be in the long term? Is it easy to clean, reducing labor costs and downtime? This reduces the risk of drains being a source of contamination, thereby mitigating risk. Is it durable so it requires the minimum amount of maintenance? How easy is it to work with on a daily basis? Asking these questions during the design stage saves valuable time and money down the road.



    After these considerations, rest assured you will have chosen to put drainage first and, as a result, hygiene first.


  • Formula One Circuit - Austin, Texas

    Austin Formula One Circuit


    Formula One used to come to the USA every year. The last race was held in 2007 at the Indianapolis Speedway in Indiana. Formula One races are generally run on either road courses of street circuits. For over 40 years the world's premier single seater series has been recorded at iconic circuits such as Watkins Glen, NY, Long beach, CA, Detroit, MI, and Dallas, TX.


    In 2011 the decision was taken to bring F1 back to the United States at a purpose built track in Austin, Texas.


    The number one designer in the world for F1 is the German architect, Hermann Tilke. He was chosen to design the new Austin circuit.


    ACO has worked with the Tilke organization at many circuits across the world and did so again at Austin.

    The drainage chosen around the track was Qmax 225 to give a safe, high capacity solution to remove any water on the track, and run off surfaces. To meet the exacting Tilke standards of design ACO took the standard Qmax 225 products and made a special ductile iron top specially designed to interface with the high quality between wearing surfaces. Also a custom built catch basin was produced for access to the pipework which had grates held down with 4 bolts to ensure that there was no chance of grates coming out of the ground when cars were running over them at up to 200 mph.


    In total ACO supplied more than 20,000 ft of Qmax and 80 catch basins were used on the track.


    For more information please contact your local ACO sales office.



  • ACO Wildlife Copperwood Schoolyard Habitat for Environmental Education

    ACO Donates Custom Wildlife Enclosure and Burrow for Copperwood Schoolyard Habitat for Environmental Education Project


    October 6, 2016 – Leading manufacturer of amphibian tunnel and drift fencing systems, ACO, Inc., recently donated custom polymer concrete wildlife fencing and a custom fiberglass tortoise burrow to the Copperwood Schoolyard Habitat for Environmental Education Project.


    In 2013, Copperwood PTSA/Peoria Unified School District in Glendale, Arizona received a $10,000 Heritage Fund grant from Arizona Game and Fish Department to develop an outdoor environmental education classroom and desert tortoise habitat at Copperwood Elementary School. This project increases awareness of the environment, wildlife and promotes outdoor experiences for students to learn about nature via hands-on exploration. Phase two project development began in fall 2013 with the assistance of various community partners and volunteers, and currently is in the final stages of development. Customized innovative curriculum was developed by Arizona State University professors and rolled out to the teachers and students during the 2014-2015 school year. A grand opening for the site will take place in early December 2016. This project will serve as a model to other schools seeking to integrate outdoor education.


    The site includes an existing schoolyard habitat with several native plants and a small pond. The new adjacent site includes several outdoor classroom/teaching amenities and a new tortoise habitat. The tortoise habitat is surrounded by a 20’ x 25’ enclosure/wall and will be visited by hundreds of students throughout the school year, as well as various community groups.


    ACO’s wildlife wall system is perfect for the tortoise enclosure as it provides a barrier under the ground as well as above. The sturdy polymer concrete material and rounded top edges of the wall are safe for students to sit or lean on.


    "We truly appreciate ACO for donating the polymer concrete custom walls for Copperwood Elementary School's tortoise habitat enclosure, as well as the custom-designed igloo-shaped tortoise burrow for this important schoolyard habitat for environmental education project,” says Janet Sharkey, Habitat Committee Chair for Copperwood Elementary School. “ACO's generous, in-kind donation offers students the opportunity to safely and closely observe our tortoise when visiting the outdoor classroom and performing inquiries in the garden with Copperwood teachers."


    Goodman’s Landscape & Maintenance also contributed to the project with over $15,000 in services and materials provided for phase one and two of the project.


    ACO introduced the concept of modular trench drains to North America over 30 years ago. Today, ACO in North America is a multi-site manufacturing and sales operation using a variety of materials for its extensive range of drainage products for all aspects of building and construction. ACO utilized its knowledge of surface drainage to develop a proven amphibian tunnel and drift fencing system. The first tunnel systems were installed in Europe and North America in 1987. Since this date, numerous sites have utilized the ACO tunnel and fencing system. Wildlife guidance systems allow animals to be led safely to their habitats: amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals can safely cross under roads with a tunnel system and are prevented from reaching the road surface by surrounding fencing - a measure to protect both animals and humans.