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Add-On Electrostatic Sprayer Zaps Chemicals
A new electrostatic sprayer that zaps crop chemicals with an electrical charge increases, crop coverage as much as 250%, reduces drift by nearly 100% and cuts chemical use by 75%, according to tests conducted by a British company which developed the new add-on electric-powered nozzle.
Spraycare Application Systems, Lincolnshire, England, says the nozzle is the first commercially available electrostatic spray nozzle. "FMC developed an electrostatic spray system several years ago but it was too complicated, using blowers to keep charged chemicals from sticking to the nozzles," says Chris Pay, sales manager, noting that the new nozzle system uses high voltage and a drip-off design to solve the same problem. "It's simple to maintain and takes very little power."
The new spray head bolts in place of existing nozzles on any boomsprayer. Brass-plated electrodes that drop down on either side of the spray nozzle are fed by two wires that run to a control box in the tractor cab. As the spray comes out of the nozzle, it's zapped by a 4,000-volt charge. The charged spray is then attracted by the plants below, which act as a "ground". The chemical attaches itself to the tops and bottoms of leaves, a fact the company demonstrated at a recent farm show by having passersby hold their hands up to the sprayer with palms pointed away from the spray nozzle. Spray clouded around the "grounded" hand, coating both sides with spray.
"Because the charged particles provide even coating of the plant, better penetration is obtained with less chemical. And spray drift, which is usually a problem for small droplet sprayers has been nearly eliminated," says Pay.
Spraycare hopes to be in full production with the new electrostatic spray head by February 1985. Pay says several chemical companies in the U.S. are already testing the new sprayer. The Spraycare sprayer refit kit will sell for a $1,400 for 24 nozzles and the control unit, which runs off the tractor's 12-V battery.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Spraycare Application Systems Ltd., 8-12 Albany Road, Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, England LN10 6TS (ph 0526 53671).

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1984 - Volume #8, Issue #5