Agrifac targets precision
Visitors to Cereals have the opportunity to see Agrifac’s automatic application rate and boom height controls at work in the Sprays & Sprayers arena.
StrictSprayPlus, which provides individual nozzle operation, also delivers rate control unrelated to pressure, while also maintaining the droplet size regardless of changes in forward speed or pressure.
It does this using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM), which turns the flow to the nozzle on/off up to 100 times/sec to maintain the correct rate. This varies the dose between 0-100%. The pressure is unaltered, so the droplet size remains the same.
It also delivers turn compensation, maintaining the correct dose rate when spraying around corners and preventing over- or under-dosing, caused by the outside of the boom moving faster than the inside. Agrifac says the system detects the speed differences between the tip and inside and then calculates the exact rate required to match, for each nozzle across the boom.
On the level
Agrifac has developed new ‘wide view’ sensors for its new StrictHeightPlus auto-boom height control, which works in conjunction with the BalancePlus and variable geometry on its J Boom.
This system, which is now Agrifac’s only auto-height option, also operates through the firm’s own EcoTronic terminal, eliminating the need for another box in the cab.
Three sensors are fitted into four separate clusters, mounted across the boom that, it adds, scan a wider area than other systems. This is said to provide a better overview of the crop as well as help to distinguish between irregularities, misses and tramlines, which can affect performance.
Further electronic control under development include spot spraying, precision variable rate maps and applications as well as a direct injection system.
Crop sensors on the new AiCPlus system are mounted on the boom and detect plants as well as patches of weeds and diseases. This allows the system to treat individual plants with single nozzle control as well as vary the dose to each, using PWM control.
The same system can be employed to vary rates according to a new treatment map, which Agrifac claims, is the first system to create application plans to one nozzle precision.
Mixing on the move
With AiCPlus varying dose rates on the move and to one-nozzle precision, Agrifac says it is difficult, or even impossible, to predict the chemical concentration required before application.
To overcome this, it has developed its SmartDosePlus direct injection system. Just clean water is held in the spray tank with the concentrated chemical stored separately. According to required rates detected by the sensors or stored on the map, the system’s software then meters the precise quantity of active required for the specific area and mixes it ahead of the boom.
Another big advantage of carrying just clean water in the tank, it adds, is it significantly cuts cleaning time and the amount of washings. This not only speeds up turnarounds between products, but can also help reduce the risk of cross contamination when working in sensitive crops.
Carbon fibre on the way
Agrifac is also working on a new ‘hybrid’ boom – which sees carbon fibre outer sections fitted to the existing steel one. While there are few details about this prototype, it uses a lattice-work construction, with the nozzles mounted at the top of a triangle.