Spray education can be fun — Jason Deveau and Tom Wolf of sprayers101.com often ensure that, in their ever-unique way.
Deveau and Wolf caught up with RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney at the Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock, Ont., to chat about their demo at the show: recirculating booms.
Wolf explains how current spray boom design forces unnecessary environmental contamination, which is why the duo thought it was essential to bring their demo of engineering solutions to the farm show.
Deveau says that if you’ve ever looked at the bottom of a sprayer, it can be a bit overwhelming, to say the least, saying it looks like “a plate of black spaghetti.”
“We thought the way to explain the way the plumbing works it to go and lay out a conventional boom. And we did,” says Deveau. “We pinned the plumbing diagram right to the ground using pool noodles and laminated images of pumps and valves. So the audience comes out, and they can see how a conventional boom works. And by that, I mean our version. The liquid comes from the tank and has only one place to go. Whatever doesn’t recirculate back for agitation or just to maintain pressure, has to come to the nozzle at some point.”
They add that once you are done spraying and the tank may be empty, you still have lots of liquid in the lines that need to be dealt with, which on a 120 ft boom, can be up to 30 gallons of liquid.
“If you wanted to put water through that boom for storage or rinsing, that stuff is probably going to go not into your field, but rather, in someplace. Could be the yard, could be the edge of the field. And that’s one of the skeletons in the closet of our business,” says Wolf. “We are essentially forced into this practice by design on the machine.”
And that’s only the back end of the conversation, adds Deveau. Filling the sprayer can pose just as many difficulties. (Story continues below)
“Let’s say you’ve just filled the sprayer and the lines are full of water,” says Deveau. “You have to prime your boom. You have to charge it. And this happens in the same spot in the field over and over again. You park the sprayer, and you just start spraying. And from the centre of the booms back out to the outer boom, eventually you replace the water with product. But what that means is you are going to push about 30 gallons out before you even start spraying.” And with a rough estimate done by Wolf, this can be the equivalent of throwing $150 out of your pocket into the field.
When Haney asks the duo why this still is, and why this hasn’t been changed, Deveau answers by saying this is a classic example of “it’s the way we’ve always done it.”
The answer to this problem? They say it’s recirculating booms, which is a technology that has already been implemented in Europe.
“They have a two-direction boom with a return. Instead of feeding the boom from the centre and creating problems with having to push everything out in one direction. Not to mention that you are left with the whole boom-end problem that has to be cleaned out. They feed from one side of a section, it runs through the boom and then returns back to the tank. And here’s what that gives you. When it’s time to spray, you charge the boom, and you circulate it right back to the tank. Without spilling a drop,” Deveau explains. “Now your boom is charged, your pressure is equal throughout all the nozzles, and your product is suspended properly. There’s no pressure drop, and nothing has fallen out of suspension. And then you just start to spray.”
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