Inline vs Online Drippers: Which is Right for My Business?

Joey MezistranoDrip Irrigation Industry

As a pipe manufacturer looking to get into the drip irrigation business you may be wondering what type of dripper will best suit your business. And with a bit of research you will find that a variety of drippers exist for servicing all kinds of specialized application conditions.

The most common differentiation in drippers is between online and inline drippers. In some applications inline and online types of drip irrigation can both be appropriate however, the significant differences between the two warrant consideration when considering what type of drip irrigation systems your customers are looking to provide.

Inline Drip Emitters

In inline dripper irrigation, the drippers are pre-inserted along the length of the pipe during the extrusion process at fixed intervals. So in order to operate efficiently, inline drippers are ideal for equally spaced plants in order to avoid a lot of connections with plain pipe for areas that may not require irrigation.

Since the dripper insertion process is done during the extrusion process, inline drippers can be installed quickly and easily, and will begin dripping reliably as soon as one end of the pipe is connected to a water supply. This makes them an ideal choice for large farms and crop fields, where the plants are equally spaced and the size of the drip irrigation system calls for a cost-efficient method of installation and maintenance.

Online Drip Emitter Overview

In online drip irrigation, the PE pipe is supplied without any drippers inserted, and typically requires manual insertion of the drippers to the outside wall of the pipe. The advantage of this method is that it can work with plants that are not equally spaced, since  drippers are manually inserted exactly at the point needed. Another advantage is that since the drippers are accessible from the outside of the pipe, many online drip emitter types offer manual adjustment of each dripper flow, the ability to clean or even easily replace a dripper if necessary. These features generally allow for more dripper control and a customized experience.

A downside to the online type however is that inserting the drippers is a laborious task, that effectively raises the cost and limits the size of the irrigation system installation. For this reason online drip emitters are mostly used in greenhouses, house gardens, or other small scale and gardening applications, where the added cost of manual labor can be justified.

Choosing the Correct Dripper for Your Business

Depending on the needs of your customers and target markets, you may need to manufacture and supply just one or even both inline and online drip irrigation pipe. A thing to consider when setting up or upgrading your pipe production line, is that you could offer both types with just one pipe production line. An inline drip irrigation production line can be easily converted over to manufacture online drip irrigation pipe. The manufacturing lines for both types are more or less similar, with the biggest difference being the dripper insertion machine at the beginning and the perforating machine and quality control machines at the end of the line.

DRTS offers a full range of inline and online drippers and turnkey manufacturing solutions. Request a consultation to discuss your needs with an expert, gain valuable insight, and discover how you can benefit from our 35 years of experience and specialization in drip irrigation pipe manufacturing.

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