Polyethylene Shade Balls


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Microdyne designed the tools and engineered a special manufacturing process to develop a unique plastic product filled with just the right amount of treated water, and hermetically sealed in the process. The need was demonstrated by sales partner XavierC LLC. and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

This product is an example of how Microdyne assisted the customer engineering staff at Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADPW), one of the largest water management agencies in the United States, to engineer a complete solution from concept to bulk manufacturing and post-production material handling. Several challenges had to be overcome. The spherical balls had to be super tough to withstand many years floating in high-intensity Southern California sun. The balls must float low in the water to prevent wind re-distribution, so we filled it with treated water requiring filling machines at the right process in the manufacturing line. Special attention was made on proprietary processes to close the filling hole permanently at competitive bidding prices.

Water-filled plastic spheres are used to reduce bromate development from bird droppings in water open air water storage facilities.  The balls are unstable and discourage birds from landing on the water. Commonly called Shade Balls, the dark UV infused HDPE, High-Density Polyethylene spheres promote high water quality and reduce evaporation.  The additional water inside the shade balls keeps them in the water in high winds, and provides an ambient temperature barrio like insulation, to help keep the water cooler and reduce evaporation.

Microdyne Plastics designed and engineered the process for to create a high quality, durable shade ball that will last for many years in the sun at an economical price.  The plastic UV additive along with the black color will keep the balls from deteriorating in the open while reflecting the sun’s rays.

Product Attributes

    • High-Density Polyethylene is tough, durable and recyclable
    • Hermetically sealed, leak proof
    • 4-inch diameter covers up to 97% of water surface

Conservation Estimates

Water evaporation reduction over 90% Metropolitan Water District of Los Angles

Birds and wildlife tend to not land on the shade balls, keeping waste from the water

Expected to save $250 million for LADWP, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

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