TOTOWA, N.J.—Swan Products L.L.C. sees water conservation as the future and said it is filling a pressing need by marketing new advanced watering systems.
The Totowa-based company is promoting conservation as it rebrands itself and rolls out upgraded garden watering systems.
With Western North America facing serious droughts, residents are getting serious about how they use water. The state of California said residents have cut residential usage by as much as 29 percent.
Swan is marketing itself as “Swan—The Watering Company” and it is backing up the boast with new hoses and other water delivery systems.
“The time is right to reposition ourselves as the leader of the category,” said Miguel Nistal, Swan president and CEO. “We are upgrading the look and feel of our products.”
Swan is debuting this year its Element Soaker System, a modular watering kit that the company claims can save up to 70 percent of the water directed at residential gardens and lawns.
Swan extrudes a polyethylene/rubber composite into 100-foot lengths that residents can cut to the specific needs of their garden and lawn layout. The system includes ergonomically designed couplings to attach to the lengths of hose snipped by the gardener. Tiny perforations in the hose spray water where and when it's needed most, eliminating most of the waste that occurs when less precise systems scatter water in the hope it will fall where plants want it.
The Element system is a variant of widely used soaker hoses that spray water onto soil within a radius of a few feet or so from the hose. Because a homeowner can snip the Element hose to any length, he or she can reduce the amount of water delivered to dead zones such as sidewalks and driveways.
“Soaker hoses are the fastest growing category, at about 15 to 18 percent a year,” Nistal said. That growth far surpasses the 2 to 3 percent annual expansion of households. Yet only about a quarter of North American homes have soaker hoses, according to Nistal.
The Element system is a high-end watering tool “for serious gardeners,” he said. Swan extrudes its hoses in Waco, Texas, and in Sparks, Nevada. All of its extrusion lines contain co-extruders to lay down two layers of polymer to comprise the hose core and jacket. Reinforcing yarn can be added in standard constructions.
Several domestic watering hose manufacturers vie for market share. Nistal said imports aren't a big threat because freight charges are onerous for hose made offshore. Fittings, however, can be made cheaply elsewhere and imported.
Getting the weather right also favors local hose production. Hot and dry spells compel consumers to react quickly, so hose demand is elastic and seasonal.
“It's easy to get caught with too much hose or not enough in stock,” Nistal explained. About 85 percent of the domestic market is supplied by domestic producers.
Swan offers hose systems for a range of consumer needs and price points. The Element line, besides the aforementioned features, also can lay claim to be lead-free and phthalate-free, so consumers can be confident the products are drinking-water quality. Element is Swan's biggest volume hose.
The Scotts MaxFlex hose is Swan's top of the line. Made of a patented, specialized ultra-high molecular weight polyvinyl chloride compound, it provides exceptional kink resistance, according to Swan.
Miracle-Gro UltraLite hose is based on the same custom PVC compound but it is lightweight, easy to coil and well-suited to watering around the house and in tight spaces, Swan said.
Flexrite Pro is a premium product with the thickest jacket in Swan's hose lineup and it too resists kinking.