2018 – Automation showroom opened

Farm Automation Showroom

A beautifully designed space with interactive product displays was created in 2018. The automation showroom allows customers the opportunity to come in and see how the products work get more information from either a sales person or our interactive touch screen.

2017 – Padman Winch

Padman Winch

Another lesson learned while upgrading our automation was the need for a universal winch that could be used manually or connect to all of our automation units.


The Padman Winch has provided a flexible platform for all of our automation devices and the OH&S standards for manual operation have improved considerably.


The Padman Winch is installed on every unit making them automation ready when you are.

2017 – Pocket Timer

Pocket winch drawing

As we were building larger structures and lifting heavier doors, we were reaching the limitations of our actuators used on the EDT’s and the SamC system.


This lead us to develop the Pocket Timer. The aim was to produce a portable, compact unit that ditched the actuator for a winch.


The winch proved to be a great innovation and the Pocket Timer worked well. However, like the SamC, the Pocket Timer didn’t progress past the prototype stage but did significantly influence the future makeup of the Padman Winch and the PRO automation range.

2016 – SamC System

SamC Diagram

With the Electric Dual Timer and the SMS Chatterbox spearheading our Automation department, why not try and make them talk to each other?


We invested a lot of time and effort into developing the Sensor Activated Monitor Controller (SamC), which enabled the Master unit to communicate with the bay sensor at the bottom of the bay and trigger the changeover to irrigate the next bay.


While this product didn’t progress past the trial stage, a lot of the learnings resulted in the new wave of products we’ve developed since, namely the AutoWinch and the whole PRO system.

2011 – SMS Chatterbox

Early SMS Chatterbox Prototype

Having ventured into electronics with the Electronic Dual Timer and having it establish itself as one of the most portable and affordable automation devices, John was looking for new ways to help farmers with their irrigation.


With the advancement of mobile communications and the importance of water conservation, knowing where your water was became very important.


The SMS chatterbox is effectively a witches hat placed at the bottom of the bay that sends you a text message when it’s feet get wet.


A simple concept and a wonderful innovation that has saved lots of water and sleep!


This product is still popular today and has lead to the Chatterbox PRO, which is light years ahead in functionality!

1995 – Electronic Dual Timers

EDT Electronic Dual Time on bay outlet

While the Mechanical Timer was an improvement on the Padman Pneumatic automation system, they were a bit limited with their use as they could both only be set for one event; to release the door to begin irrigation.

John recognised the importance of setting ‘Dual Times’. The EDT was programmed to set both the time to open the outlet and the time to close it.

The original EDT’s used gas struts to improve the strength of the arms before integrating Linak actuators that were used for actually designed for lifting hospital beds!

The functionality sounds simple, but the Electronic Dual Timer has improved the lifestyle of hundreds of farmers in the past 25 years allowing them to perform irrigation changeovers in multiple bays with multiple units while they sleep.

With over 8000 units sold and many of these still operating, the EDT built a reputation as the most reliable automation on the market based on their simplicity and portability.

It is still a thrill to hear a farmer praise these work horses as they upgrade a battery or tune up their units after working hard for 20+ Aussie summers.

Advances in technology and demands for increased functionality have lead them to be superseded by our AutoWinch series.

1992 – Mechanical Timers

Mechanical Timer Automation

While pneumatic automation was effective, it didn’t suit every application and required additional materials and works so John set about developing a new automation unit operating on time.


The Padman Mechanical Timer was essentially a big, rugged egg timer that would countdown to your designated watering time and trigger the door release.

1989 – First Automation System – Pneumatic irrigation


With the first Padman watertight door, John set out to make a good thing great with automation.


Years before telemetry or the common usage of electronics in the field, John developed a pneumatic automation system that could open the Padman watertight door.


An airline was run the length of the field and when the water reached the opening, the increased air pressure in the line triggered the door release mechanism.