Forecast from the cabin

Amazone technology pipeline


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HUGE HECTARES: The massive 12,000 litre Amazone UX11200 trailed sprayer features all the bells and whistles of its smaller counterparts.

HUGE HECTARES: The massive 12,000 litre Amazone UX11200 trailed sprayer features all the bells and whistles of its smaller counterparts.

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Amazone technology pipeline is flowing

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Growers can expect to see some announcements on the next wave of sprayer technologies off the back of the machinery world's premier agricultural technology event, Agritechnica, held in Hanover, Germany, in November.

While close-mouthed about specifics, Landpower Group product manager for Amazone, Blair McAlwee, said some new offerings were expected later this year.

"There are some exciting technologies coming out this year, probably at Agritechnica, as well as other products in the pipeline," he said.

"Amazone are making a significant investment in the research and development of these new technologies for spraying, which is really exciting for every farmer contractor and customer."

Mr McAlwee said in his home country of New Zealand he was seeing an increase in the uptake of precision technologies, and believed the same could be said about Australia.

Amazone have released ContourControl, SwingStop and SwingStop Pro in an effort to increase the precision of spray application at high speeds.

Amazone have released ContourControl, SwingStop and SwingStop Pro in an effort to increase the precision of spray application at high speeds.

"Individual nozzle switching gives us the ability to operate with more precision, it seems to be where the market is heading," he said.

Mr McAlwee said another trend which had crossed the ditch was the move to larger spray booms.

"People are moving to 50 metre booms, especially in Canterbury, this is driven by efficiency," he said.

Mr McAlwee said he thought some further development of products such as the real-time weather monitoring capability and integration with digital technologies was likely.

"Operators can monitor the environmental parameters as they spray the paddock, which is really exciting," he said.

"Operators, farmers and all the stakeholders can know what the conditions were when spraying occurred, if something happens they can go back and reference the weather information."

Claas Harvest Centre, product manager, Craig Hopkins, said new nozzle application technologies released last year had also influenced spray accuracy and performance.

"Used individually or combined, these nozzle systems offer unprecedented levels of application accuracy over the entire boom by compensating for any vertical or horizontal movements," he said.

Amazone SwingStop features two actively-operating hydraulic rams in the centre of the boom

Amazone SwingStop features two actively-operating hydraulic rams in the centre of the boom

Mr Hopkins said ContourControl utilised 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," he said.

"The two middle sensors regulate the height of the boom, which is guided in its height through the parallelogram, while the hydraulic accumulator on the boom provides extraordinarily short reaction times, quite literally in a fraction of a second."

Mr Hopkins said ContourControl also allowed 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," he said.

Mr Hopkins said 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," he said.

While most sprayers use passive buffer or damper systems to minimise yaw, Mr Hopkins said the SwingStop system used boom-mounted acceleration sensors to determine the horizontal position of the boom relative to the forward speed.

Two actively-operating hydraulic rams in the centre section of the boom then actively counteract any detected movements.

"This system is exceptionally quick and accurate," he said.

Mr Hopkins said the SwingStop Pro utilised the same data to adjust the output of each individual nozzle relative to the forward speed of the sprayer.

The pulse width frequency modulation nozzles are controlled by valves with a high frequency range of 50 Hertz.

"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 per cent, or turned off or on, in two milliseconds," he said.

The story Forecast from the cabin first appeared on Farm Online.

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