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High speed precision spraying now a reality
Published on 18 December 2017
LEADING European farm machinery manufacturer, AMAZONE, has unveiled three cutting-edge boom guidance and nozzle application technology technologies that deliver unprecedented application accuracy across the entire working width of the boom. Suitable for all AMAZONE sprayers equipped with Super-L2 booms from 27 to 40 metres, the ContourControl and SwingStop systems control vertical and horizontal boom movement, respectively.
SwingStop Pro takes the concept a step further by adjusting the output of each nozzle according to its speed. CLAAS Harvest Centre Product Manager, Craig Hopkins, says this innovative technology meets demand for precise application at high operating speeds.“Used individually or combined, these systems offer unprecedented levels of application accuracy over the entire boom by compensating for any vertical or horizontal movements of the sprayer boom,” he says.
ContourControl utilises six boom-mounted ultrasonic sensors and a fast-responding hydraulic system, to maintain boom height. “The two outer sensors control the independent angling of the left- and right-hand booms,” Craig says. “The two middle sensors regulate the height of the boom, which is guided in its height via the parallelogram. The hydraulic accumulator on the boom provides extraordinarily short reaction times, quite literally in a fraction of a second.”
ContourControl also allows the negative angling of the outer boom sections to maintain the determined application height in all conditions. “For example, either boom can dip below the horizontal plane which is useful if the sprayer passes over a ridge,” Craig says. SwingStop is an active yaw stabilisation system that maintains the horizontal boom position. “Ground undulations, turning, acceleration or fast operating speeds can put booms under enormous strain, causing the boom ends to swing backwards or forwards,” Craig says.
“This horizontal movement has an obvious effect on application rates. If the boom swings forwards in the direction of travel, the crop will be underdosed. Conversely, if the boom swings backwards, then overdosing occurs. This effect, which can be readily seen in heavy crops, is even more pronounced with wider booms.” While most sprayers use passive buffer or damper systems to minimise yaw, the SwingStop system utilises boom-mounted acceleration sensors to determine the horizontal position of the boom relative to the forward speed of the sprayer. Two actively-operating hydraulic rams in the centre section of the boom then actively counteract any detected movements to ensure the boom rides smoothly. “This system is exceptionally quick and accurate, which allows even faster operating speeds,” he says.
SwingStop Pro utilises the same data to adjust the output of each individual nozzle relative to the forward speed of the sprayer. The pulse width frequency modulation (PWFM) nozzles are controlled by valves with a high frequency range of 50 Hz. “This high switching speed means the valves can be opened or closed in two milliseconds, while the application rate can be adjusted from 30 to 100 percent, or turned off or on, in two milliseconds,” he says. "If the nozzle is moving quicker than the sprayer, the opening time and thus the application rate is increased for a short time. If the nozzle moves slower than the sprayer, it remains closed longer and the application rate is reduced. PWFM regulation means spray pressure and droplet size is always maintained.”
CLAAS Harvest Centre, which distributes CLAAS, AMAZONE and other leading farm machinery brands in New Zealand and Australia, will introduce ContourControl, SwingStop and SwingStop Pro technology in 2018.