High tech axle said to improve trailed sprayers stability
By Geoff Ashcroft
By using an electronically steered axle, Cleanacres Machinery claims to have dramatically increased sprayer stability on its latest trailed range.
"Tracker and steering drawbar models have been known to present stability problems when making headland turns," explains Cleanacres director Mark Curtoys. "With large capacity tanks and 60in wheeltrack settings, there is a high risk of overturning the sprayer when turning."
Called the ASA range, it replaces the firms previous steering drawbar range and offers tank capacities from 2700 to 4400 litres (593 to 967gals). Boom widths are up to 36m (118ft).
Using a potentiometer between tractor and drawbar, any steering manoeuvre is measured and relayed via microprocessor, to a second potentiometer on the sprayers axle. The angle of turn made at the front is simply duplicated at the rear – albeit in the opposite direction – to enable the sprayer to steer in the same wheelings as the tractor.
"There are mechanical systems on the market, but they lack the sensitivity and response times of the electronic system," says Mr Curtoys.
An in-cab control system enables the operator to vary the systems sensitivity so steering response can be matched to spraying speed. The system also has a hillside function to prevent the sprayer from crabbing on slopes.
Using a sourced steering axle, the sprayer has a 12m (40ft) turning radius, but by eventually developing its own axle, Clean-acres hopes to reduce this to between 6 and 8m (20 and 26ft).
Two, five-port rotary control valves replace the earlier three-way valves used on the suction and pressure lines to simplify sprayer operation.
An optional £1500 suspension system which uses coil springs and dampers can also be fitted to the ASA range. Prices start at £18,000 for a 2500-litre, 24m (78.7ft) model.
In-cab steering control box enables the operator to adjust steering sensitivity to match spraying speed.
Cleanacres opted for an electronically steered axle on its trailed ASA sprayer range instead of a lazier mechanical system.