Change sprayer nozzles ‘at flick of a switch’

A new spraying system developed by Pentair Hypro makes it possible for operators to change from one nozzle to another at the flick of a switch.

It enables operators to easily change between pesticide and fertiliser nozzles or between nozzles of different sizes to cover a wide range of application rates.

In addition, it can enable switching between nozzles with different spray characteristics such as standard and low drift – particularly useful if spraying conditions deteriorate.

Pentair Hypro product manager Roger James says selecting the right nozzle as the target or conditions dictate is crucial to get the best performance from pesticide products.

“The parameters that determine the best nozzle will change during the spraying day and the Duo React allows the most common nozzle change-overs to be made with the flick of a switch, increasing the capability of a single sprayline, with none of the drawbacks of a twin line set-up,” he explains.

Most sprayer manufacturers offer a dual sprayline option and the same control set-up will be used to operate the new nozzle body, providing the same functionality.

Lincolnshire grower Neal Gilbey has a field evaluation Duo React system on a Sands Vision 4.0 self-propelled sprayer, which handles crop protection and liquid fertiliser application across 1,420ha of mainly contract-farmed land.

The sprayer was delivered to Mr Gilbey’s contract farming base between Corby and Stamford only last July, so there have been few opportunities to use the nozzle-switching facility so far. Nonetheless, he likes the concept in principle.

“We’ve used twin spray lines in the past, but they add complexity, weight and cost,” he points out.

“We decided to have a single line on the new sprayer – but with the new system we have the same versatility and convenience as a twin-line set-up.”

An equally compact electro-pneumatic version of the Duo React body can perform the role of a section control valve to avoid overlaps or to provide control down to the individual nozzle if required.

How it works

An air supply on the sprayer operates the two fast-reacting, pneumatic valves. Sprayer operators can switch between the turret and the single outlet at any time or use both at the same time. The turret can be rotated manually to select different nozzle combinations.

“It allows operators to set out for a day’s spraying with nozzles of different sizes and types to suit different crops, spray targets and application tasks, and to allow for the particular working situations and conditions that may be encountered,” says Mr James.

Providing a permanent home for a liquid fertiliser dribble bar is one of the most common reasons for having a second sprayline on a new sprayer; it saves having to remove the dribble bars to go spraying.

A dribble bar can be fitted to the body’s single outlet and spray nozzles to the four-way turret; the operator then simply switches between fertiliser and pesticide application from the cab as required.

Also, for those who prefer a dribble cap, the body offers a wider range of application rates than a single-outlet nozzle body.

Catering for conditions

Switching between a conventional flat fan and a low-drift air-induction nozzle is the most likely scenario for crop spraying applications.

Operators can use the conventional flat fan in ideal spraying conditions and then exploit Duo React to switch to a nozzle such as the Guardian Air or Amistar for reducing drift without leaving the cab.

Easy access to nozzles that spray vertically and at an angle will be helpful when switching between different chemicals or crops with different canopy architectures during the day.

See also: Nozzle choice crucial for faster crop spraying

A good example of this is when switching from cereal fungicides with an air induction nozzle to potato blight sprays, when the finer, angled flat-fan nozzle is needed for canopy penetration and coverage.

Being able to quickly select the most appropriate nozzle size, type or configuration will encourage operators to use the optimum application technique, says Mr James.

“The system will also simplify the rinsing procedure at the end of spraying, with twin lines requiring at least 40% more clean water and complicating automatic rinsing procedures.

“More importantly, perhaps, the operator using manual rinsing control must remember to flush both lines to prevent potential damage to the next crop sprayed,” he explains.