23 February 1996

Vortex hopper a real beaut

VORTEX, as opposed to venturi, is the working principle behind an Australian induction hopper, writes James de Havilland.

Developed initially to apply inoculant to lupin seed, the Granni Pot pre-mixer has evolved into a unit capable of dealing with agrochemicals in all forms. These include granules, powders, liquids and wettable jellies.

Mixing by water vortex, set up by jets around the edge of the hopper, means the unit has no moving parts. The system creates a centrifugal force, which effectively keeps any undissolved material in suspension at the upper edge of the hopper.

As the material dissolves, it flows down to the Granni Pots base where it can either pass out and into the sprayer tank or be retained as part of a pre-mixed batch. Mixing "energy" is regulated by adjusting water flow via taps to the jets.

Kevin Fuchsbichler, inventor of the Granni Pot, claims the unit is safer than existing venturi systems because splashing and blow back are eliminated. Foaming is also said to be controlled because air is not introduced during the mixing process.

"In Australia an increasing number of agrochemicals are being supplied in granular form," Mr Fuchsbichler says. "Granules have a number of advantages in terms of packaging and reduced transport costs, but some can be tricky to dissolve with existing pre-mix and spray tank agitation systems. The Granni Pot dissolves materials faster and more effectively than conventional systems, and only fully dissolved chemical is released into the sprayer tank."

The Granni Pot is available in both static and sprayer-mounted forms in Australia. Mr Fuchsbichler has recently demonstrated the unit in the UK and says both chemical companies and sprayer manufacturers are showing interest.

Australian inventor Kevin Fuchsbichler explains the vortexing principle behind his Granni Pot induction hopper.