Sprayers – different, but still the same

After visiting this year’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Show (TSW) in Nadarzyn, you might get the impression that we are a global powerhouse in the range of sprayers produced, and the most sought-after machine is a ” dual fan”. As for the variety of the offer, it is difficult to disagree with this belief, it is enough to calculate the number of models of sprayers produced in Poland.

We are far from the world record for the number of machines produced, because our manufacturers do not have this name for the presence on foreign markets. And staying true to our home backyard brings us to the local growers group. Although there are already glorious exceptions. A marked improvement in the quality of manufacture and even the aesthetics of the machines offered is to be noted with great satisfaction. There is nothing to be ashamed of, knowing that many machines produced in Poland already represent the highest level in the world.

Looking for a “spoon of tar” in the “barrel of honey” described above, I find that most producers still lack innovative ideas and will not be replaced by the desire to stand out from the competition. Increasingly modern horticulture expects machine manufacturers to actively respond to the increasingly diverse expectations of practice. Therefore, it is a pity that this extremely wide range of sprayers produced in the country is always the same machines, most often differing only in the name of the model and the color and shape of the tank or frame. It is acceptable to use the same pumps and control valves, because it is difficult to innovate in these important but almost perfect assemblies.

One of the producers once complained to me that he was planning to premiere a new idea at the next fair, but he didn’t make it in time. Meanwhile, his contestant “got stuck”, who saw the idea during rehearsals and pitched it at this event. Let’s not hold it against him, because the use of the knowledge of others is the engine of progress, as long as there is no infringement of patents and utility models. And as prof. Szczepan Pieniążek and the best way to spread new solutions is to watch your neighbor over the fence. In every field of human endeavour, including the production of sprayers, there are leaders and innovators, and a much larger group of followers. The problem is that in Poland, these followers are proportionally much more numerous than among foreign sprayer manufacturers. Can’t we afford even a small effort to improve something in the proposed machines? A good example is the twin fan sprayers which are almost identical.

Speaking of “twin fans,” I wonder if we’ve overdone it. Someone who has visited TSW for the first time might get the impression that the twin-fan sprayer is the most sought after in Poland. And it’s not, and it should never be. When almost 20 years ago at IO, together with Agrola, we first started working in Poland on two-fan sprayers, we always believed that such a sprayer should fill the gap in the technique for spraying trees with very formed crowns ( 4.5–5.0 m). At that time, these machines in Europe had a niche character and were treated as a technological curiosity. In the meantime, the reality has surpassed our wildest predictions, as it has almost become our national specialty. I estimate that more twin-fan sprayers are used in Poland than in the rest of the world combined! It’s hard not to feel personal satisfaction because of this, but in addition to satisfaction, I also have a lot of fear, because it’s not a sprayer for every orchard, although in a high-topped orchard , it is an indispensable machine.

Our research showed only slightly higher application liquid application for a twin-fan sprayer than for a standard sprayer, but losses were much lower. In full leaf phase, the amount of liquid “blown” through the crown of the tree was almost twice as high for a conventional fan (75%) as for a two-fan fan (40%). The lower losses may be explained by the greater uniformity of spray liquid distribution in the treetops and the ease of reaching the tops of heavily formed treetops, even in windy weather. These two conditions cannot be met by a single fan, because it is not possible to simultaneously create an airflow that reaches the treetops with a moderate airflow directed towards the lower and middle parts of the canopy. . These difficult to reconcile requirements are only met by machines with two fans thanks to the division of the air flow into two independent fans. In this way, the lower fan can have a much lower efficiency, since it is only responsible for the uniform application of the liquid in its immediate vicinity. The upper fan can also operate with lower efficiency, thanks to the short distance between the outlet slot and the treetop nozzles. As it is easy to see, the advantages are obvious, but who needs such a sprayer in a dwarf and semi-dwarf orchard?

Teacher. dr hab. Ryszard Holownicki

Institute of Horticulture – National Research Institute Skierniewice

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