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Central Garden

Smarter Weeding and Feeding

Industrial Design, Mechanical Engineering, Design & Innovation Strategy, Design Research, Technology-Based Innovation

Central Garden & Pet wanted to change the way herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers are packaged, stored, and applied.

Bresslergroup reconfigured the two separate systems and devices for dramatically improved product experiences for all end users (Earth, included).

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Bresslergroup’s strategic and technical solutions for Central Garden & Pet elevated two products with decidedly different functions to new levels.

The company knew it wanted to change the way herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers are packaged, stored, and applied by making the process easier, safer, and less cumbersome. Taking cues from the client’s research and from frustrations reported by users, Bresslergroup designed solutions that added up to true paradigm shifts in the herbicide, pesticide, and fertilizer markets.

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Amdro PowerFlex Pest & Weed System

Before Central brought the Amdro PowerFlex Pest & Weed System to market, customers had two options for applying chemicals to weeds. One — liquid pre-mix that required the user to pre-measure and directly dilute the concentrate — was messy and dangerous, exposing people to chemicals. The other — bulky, ready-to-use formulas — took up a lot of space in manufacturers’ warehouses and shipments, on retailers’ shelves, and in consumers’ garages.

Bresslergroup identified a “mix-in-flow” concept as the solution that would make life easier for all of these end users. After testing an early prototype with typical users, a proof of concept was built to confirm its feasibility.

 

Users fill a clean, one-gallon tank with water and pop a cartridge of pesticide or herbicide concentrate into the attached battery-powered sprayer. The concentrate is mixed in at the last minute when the water travels through the sprayer. Self-sealing cartridges allow for just the right amount to be used. And to switch out a cartridge for a different type, users remove it, flush the applicator for 10 seconds with clean water from the tank, and twist in a new one. No one is exposed to harsh chemicals, and the concentrated chemicals are lighter and easier to ship and store.

The Amdro PowerFlex is also safer and better for the environment. Ninety-seven percent of the system is kept free of chemicals, and the ability to use a portion and save the rest for later decreases over-usage of chemicals around the home — and potential for chemicals leaching into ground water.

Pennington Smart Feed Sprayer System

Central Garden & Pet already offered a water-soluble hose-end fertilizer applicator, but the company wanted to develop one that was easier to use and solved the issues many consumers seemed to have with these devices. Other water-soluble fertilizers required mixing or measuring before loading liquid or loose granules into a hose-end sprayer. Our goal was to create a single solid tablet to load easily and dissolve at the correct rate to produce the required concentration of fertilizer to effectively and evenly feed a small lawn or large flowerbed.

One challenge was making sure the ergonomics of usage and ease of loading was right for a predominantly female audience. 

With a female user in mind, we designed a sprayer and canister that easily opens, closes, and screws on and off.

Pucks diluting too quickly was a frequent user complaint with competitive units, so maintaining a consistent concentration rate was important. Significant engineering analysis led to an internal flow vortex that dissolves the tablet evenly and completely within eight minutes, users’ desired envelope. The clear chamber gives people a view of the dissolving tablet to let users know exactly how quickly it is dispersing, and to give them a good show. The product is effective – Central ran an eight-week study and found it yields 40% more fruit and 90% bigger tomato plants when compared to the market leader.

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Both the Amdro PowerFlex System and Pennington Smart Feed Sprayer System became successful products for Central. The first order for the Amdro PowerFlex was for 25 million units—more than double what Central had hoped for. Both products are sold through The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart and Amazon.com.

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