Dutch sprayer manufacturer Agrifac just added a new feature to its unique line of SP sprayers, the FastFoldPlus boom. This new system significantly reduces the amount of time it takes to fold and unfold the boom. Although exact times vary depending on the overall width, the company says a three-fold, 48 metre (157.5 foot) boom can be deployed in about 22 seconds.
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But getting the boom to move at that speed and not cause damage to hinge points or its structure from hard hits on joints and high hydraulic forces required some engineering. To accomplish that the FastFoldPlus system relies on what the company describes as “slow-fast-slow” movement. Hydraulic valves limit the rate of oil flow at the beginning, which makes for a slow, more gentle start. Then, they increase it to speed things up. Finally, they slow the boom movement down again just before it locks into place in either the folded or deployed positions.
The system also incorporates several sensors that monitor the positions of each boom segment in order to keep them moving at the same rate. If one boom gets ahead of the other, hydraulic flow to it is slowed in order to keep booth sides moving in sync. That helps make the machine more stable, especially when extending or retracting the boom on hillsides.