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Sonar Units Control Sprayer Boom Height
For Bill Menkveld and his brother Bert, fulfilling their dream of a weed sprayer automatic boom height controller happened over a period of many years.
Their family company, Greentronics, was started in 1992 and Bert’s expertise with early projects led to a first height controller attempt in 1996. After setting the venture aside, they later renewed their efforts and produced a prototype in 2004. With further testing and experimentation, in 2007, they marketed the RiteHeight, a controller that works on either new or used self-propelled or trailed sprayers.
The small family business manufactures and ships the RiteHeight automatic boom controllers from their shop in Elmira, Ontario.
Bill Menkveld says the purpose of auto boom height control is to add more convenience for the user. If farmers rely solely on manual controls, they must slow down and constantly watch the sprayer boom tips, especially in rolling fields. The RiteHeight controller measures the distance between the boom and the target using sonar-based sensors and electrical connections to solenoid valves that raise and lower the boom as needed.
“It reduces stress when spraying so you don’t have to continually watch the boom tips so they don’t hit the ground or go too high,” says Menkveld. “Chemical ends up where it’s supposed to be and doesn’t drift away.”
The controller kit comes equipped with a display console and keypad, junction box, cables, and sonar-based sensors.
Up to 8 sensors can be mounted on a sprayer although most farmers choose to add 3. Menkveld says those with more challenging conditions often use 4 or 5 sensors. In North America, most sprayers can raise and lower the center boom independently of the outer booms and use a center sensor for reference. The outer booms automatically follow this setting. Desired target height is selected with changes easily possible while spraying.
“The sonar system is very fast in reading the distance to the ground or tops of the crop. The only limit is in the sprayer hydraulic system as it can only lift the boom at a given rate. I tell people to continue using common sense with ground speed as there are limits to everything.”
Menkveld explains that from the beginning they’ve tried to design a universal application system and 90 percent of the time their RiteHeight will work on a sprayer, providing it has electric-over-hydraulic boom control. Installed equipment can also be easily removed if upgrading to a different type of sprayer.
Farmers can self-install the systems or dealers will assist.
Costs depend on the number of sensors required. Complete controller kits begin at $5,000 and sell up to $7,500. Individual sensors can also be purchased separately for $750.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bill Menkveld, Greentronics, 75 Arthur St. N., Elmira, Ontario Canada N3B 2A1 (ph 519 669-4698; info@greentronics.com; www.greentronics.com).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #5