ACO Self

ACO - The future of drainage

ACO - The future
of drainage


Featured Product

Can be installed on the outside and/or inside of entrances to trap dirt, water and snow.


This project features different ACO products,  including the HexaLine Brickslot in the court yard...



  • 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 Polymer Products, 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


    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 Polymer Products, 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.


  • New Patented trench drain installation device

    New Patented trench drain installation device.


    Installation devices for modular trench drains have been around for many years. Like other trench drain manufacturers, ACO has had a variety of installation devices over the years.


    Many of these installation devices don’t  work very well – whether they be bits of plastic molded on the side of channels or steel devices that the trench sits on, many of these devices are add-on after thoughts after the channel has been designed.


    With the new generation of ACO Drain design, ACO has taken the opportunity to design the installation device in conjunction with the body of the channel.  Apart from giving perfect alignment of joints and height the patented clamp locks two channels tight together as well as making sure the channels can’t float as the concrete is poured around the channel.


    The steel clamp mechanism works by using proven technology of a wedge to lock the device around the two channels.  The installation device is bolted to two pieces of rebar or other rod support the channels leaving a gap under the channel for the concrete haunch.  The installation device is ‘lost’ within the concrete haunch.


    The new ACO Drain installation device is available that fits both K100 and S100K 4” internal width channels.  A slightly larger devise fits both the K200and S200K and the largest device fits K300 &S300K.


    For more information please contact your local ACO sales office.



  • Driving the Future of Drainage - Business in Focus Magazine - November 2015

    ACO introduced modular trench drainage solutions to America three decades ago. Since then, the company has grown to become a multi-site manufacturing and sales operation with an exhaustive line of drainage products for all aspects of building and construction. The team also provides related services, including continuing education, specification advice and installation support.


    The story began in 1946, when Josef-Severin Ahlmann launched ACO on the site of the Carlshütte Foundry in Budelsdorf, which is located near Rendsburg in Northern Germany. At first the company focused exclusively on concrete drainage channels, and then added polymer concrete drainage channels to the product line in the 1960s.

    In 1972, ACO set up a company in Switzerland, opened another one in France four years later, and then launched a company in the United States in 1978. By then, Mr. Ahlmann’s humble startup had become a global success story – and it continues to expand to this day. Currently, the ACO Group – of which ACO USA is a part – employs more than 4000 people in 40 countries and boasts production facilities in North America, Europe, China and Australia.

    Why is Drainage Important?

    Standing water can lead to serious structural damage, from cracked foundations and settling to degradation of building materials and freeze-thaw complications. Water that collects on roads, highways, and bridges is also a serious concern, since it can put motorists in danger. Therefore, controlling the flow of water is a critically important component to virtually every construction project.

    ACO Drainage Solutions

    ACO made a name for itself by bringing modular trench drains to the American marketplace, providing the reliable, reasonably priced pre-cast drainage solution that builders seek. These factory manufactured channels compose the ACO Drain product line and come in meter or half-meter lengths, making transporting to the job site and on-site handling a snap. Once onsite, channels are aligned into versatile configurations via male/female interconnecting ends to form a continuous sloped run. With up to 40 interconnecting channel sizes available in one system, modular sloped trenches can be as long as 125 feet. Neutral channels with no slope can be inserted within that run to create an even longer system.

    Modular trench drains are more affordable and save installation time and effort. “Cost comparisons have shown modular trench drains to have lower total installed costs when labor, excavation, pipework, grading etc., are taken into account,” explains Jaclyn Revis, Marketing Services Manager for ACO USA. “On average, pre-cast modular trench drains cost about 10 percent less to install and maintain than catch basin systems, and 20 percent less than cast-in-place trench drain systems.” At just four inches wide, the narrow width of modular channels helps keep costs down. “These narrower widths use smaller grates, significantly reducing overall project costs,” Mrs. Revis explains. “Wider systems are available if required by hydraulics or application.”

    Armed with a dedicated research and development department, ACO designs and produces a number of innovative, market leading drainage systems that meet the drainage needs of many industries and specific applications. ACO Sport – the company’s sport field and stadium drainage system – has been used at Olympic venues since 1972. This product line earned special recognition during the 2014 World Cup games in Brazil, when it kept the stadium in working condition during a brutal downpour. While the surrounding streets flooded, ACO’s trench drainage system kept the soccer field relatively dry, allowing the United States and Germany to play a match that would have otherwise been canceled.

    ACO Environment helps control pollution with liquid and solid separators and spill containment systems that are manufactured from corrosion-resistant materials. Specializing in custom drainage solutions, ACO Aquaduct provides products made from FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic), stainless steel and other materials. ACO Utility Duct supplies surface ducting systems that are designed to protect cables and pipes against external influences. ACO Wildlife supplies tunnels and fence systems that help wildlife cross dangerous roads safely.

    One of ACO’s newest product lines, ACO Stainless, includes stainless steel drainage solutions, primarily used for building drainage or commercial kitchen applications where the strength and cleanability of stainless steel is most important. ACO’s philosophy of HygieneFirst represents the team’s commitment to delivering products that provide ultimate hygienic performance. These products are designed to effectively and safely drain away and handle process water and reduce the risk of food contamination.

    ACO also offers solutions for residential applications in both exterior landscape applications as well as interior bathroom drainage solutions. ACO Self is a line of residential trench drain products designed for the landscaper, builder, or do-it-yourself enthusiast. The QuARTz ACO ShowerDrain products are designer bathroom products that include point and linear shower drains with a variety of grate designs, finishes, lengths and accessories. QuARTz products are often used in hospitals, hotels, resorts and residential homes.

    ACO StormBrixx is a unique and patented plastic geocellular stormwater management system. Designed for surface water infiltration and storage, its versatility allows it to be used in applications across all construction environments as a standalone solution or as part of an integrated sustainable urban drainage scheme. ACO Infrastructure includes a range of surface drainage products specifically engineered for highways, urban roads, bridges, docks and airports. This range includes Qmax, a high-capacity slot drainage system that allows an unbroken reinforced concrete slab to be cast around – and through – the inlets for a stronger surround.

    Developed to satisfy the demand for an economic, high-capacity drainage system for large catchment areas, Qmax is available in five different sizes. Ideal for racetracks, Qmax is used at some of North America’s top racing venues. For example, the Circuit of the Americas Formula 1 Racing Track in Austin, Texas installed 7000 meters of the product. Mexico’s brand new Formula 1 track – slated to open with the Mexico Formula 1 Grand Prix race on November 1st – has also installed over four miles of drainage systems, including Qmax.

    The product has earned national recognition for its creative approach and effective results. In 2012, the Most Innovative Products (MIP) Award Program named Qmax the Most Innovative Product in the Expert’s Choice – General Tools & Equipment category.

    Preparing for the Future

    ACO’s products have become so popular that the company has 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 simply 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. Production capacity will increase by 35%.

    Stocked with the latest, most advanced technology, the new Ohio facility will bring the company’s northeast operations up to speed with other ACO locations. The move will also help grow ACO’s presence in the United States by solidifying the company’s position as the market leader and allowing the team to deliver better quality and service.

    Moving forward, ACO will continue to focus on growth, both in sales and in profit. “To achieve these goals, we must continuously improve our product offering through innovations and new product development,” says Vaclav Tikalsky, President of ACO USA. “The company will also need to keep a close eye on its internal processes,” he adds.

    ACO will also maintain a strong focus on its people, the backbone of the business. “The company’s success is based on its employees and strong international network of the ACO Group,” Mr. Tikalsky states. “ACO wants to be a good employer, further developing the family culture where people will like their work and enjoy the new facilities which we have built in recent years.”

    Mr. Tikalsky credits customers for “asking for the right solutions” and emphasizes how important it is to pay attention to their needs. “ACO will continue to closely listen to their needs,” he says.

    The company’s focus on innovative designs, employees, and customer satisfaction has paid off. “The strategies we have in place have proven effective,” Mr. Tikalsky points out. “The company is growing and expanding. Of course, we do have to face some ups and downs like other companies, but overall, we are pleased with our direction.”

    The groundwork is laid for ACO to continue to be the single solution for all of its customers’ drainage needs. “Our customers can expect much more with [our] upcoming new range of products,” Mr. Tikalsky shares. “We are bringing awareness to the complete ‘system chain’ for both surface water management as well as building drainage. Our customers will be able to get the right products for situations when they need to ‘collect, clean, hold and release’ the water, from one single source.”

  • ACO Celebrates Grand Opening of New Facility in Mentor, OH

    ACO Polymer Products, Inc. is pleased to announce it has recently moved its Ohio operations facility from Chardon to Mentor. A grand opening celebration was held Wednesday, September 2 at the new facility in Mentor. Mrs. Johanna Ahlmann and Mr. Hans-Julius Ahlmann, President of ACO Severin Ahlmann GmbH & Co. KG, along with Iver Ahlmann, President of ACO Germany, commemorated the opening with a ribbon cutting. The celebration had over 100 guests in attendance, including ACO employees, contractors, vendors, City of Mentor officials, members of the local Chamber of Commerce and guests from the state legislature.


    “The main reason for the move was to help grow the ACO business in the United States,” said Vaclav Tikalsky, President of ACO USA, as he welcomed the guests at the event last week. “This move has given our northeast employees a new workplace with the conveniences and technology similar to other ACO locations.

    The ACO team has worked hard to make this place look nice and functional. It has allowed us to install the latest production technology which will increase our capacity by 35% and help ACO to strengthen its market leader position as well as provide customers with better service and quality.”


    ACO Polymer Products, Inc. was founded in 1978 and the facility in Chardon, Ohio was ACO’s first manufacturing factory in the USA. Due to ACO’s growth and demand in recent years, the Chardon site was no longer able to accommodate the increasing demand necessary to support ACO’s business in the northeast. ACO found an ideal location in Mentor, Ohio, 16 miles north of the Chardon site that met the needs of expanding the operations.


    “This move was a success because of the efforts of both plants here in the United States as well as people from Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany. This day would not have happened if it weren’t for all the employees here in Mentor,” said Brian Parent, Director of Operations for ACO USA.

  • Modern Pumping Today - April 2016

    ACO Polymer Products, Inc.

    Innovative technology improves residential water management

    Effective drainage plays a critical role in residential landscaping and property design, as it helps to protect homeowners' investment in their homes by diverting excess water from driveways, patios and the surrounding soil. Well-designed drainage systems can help homeowners to avoid costly consequences.

    Drainage is just one aspect of water management. Water management applies to the entire earth-bound natural water cycle, and in the context of residential applications, includes surface and subsurface collection (including drainage), cleaning, holding, and release of water.


    Residential water management technology tends to be lighter-duty than its commercial counterparts, with a greater ease of installation and lower costs. There exists a range of residential water management technology on the market that allow construction and contractors to easily improve water collection, storage, and release on residential properties, helping to protect customer' investment in their homes.





    The ACO Self line of water management solutions includes modular trench drains and point drains designed specifically for residential applications, with light-and-medium-duty materials, easy installation, and lower costs than commercial products.


    Other ACO Self products for residential landscape applications include:


    • DrainMat - ideal solution to protect entrances from water and debris.
    • PointDrain - help reduce flooding and ponding in areas where excess water may collect around the home, office or in landscaped areas.
    • GrassGrid - an eco-friendly interlocking permeable paving system that can be filled with grass or gravel.
    • Infiltration Line - collects water where there is no outlet pipe available or to infiltrate water on site.
  • 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 Polymer Products, 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.