If you’ve seen a different coloured sprayer moving through the Prairies, it’s not a custom paint job. Agrifac, a Dutch company with more than 30 years of experience in the design and manufacture of self-propelled sprayers, is taking direct aim at the self-propelled sprayer market with two versions of high-capacity, high-clearance sprayers with features and benefits designed with Canadian producers in mind.
We were able to see these machines in action at the DLG-Feldtage event (the German Agriculture Society’s agricultural field days) held this June near Hassfurt, Germany. During the show, sprayer manufacturers held live demonstrations of their units moving through a test track that included uneven ground, obstacles and tight turns — all designed to show how a sprayer works in real-life conditions.
Agrifac was showing its Condor self-propelled sprayer, which is available in tank sizes of 900, 1,050 and 1,300 gallons (3,400, 4,000 and 5,000 litres). The company also offers the Condor Endurance, with a tank capacity of a whopping 2,100 gallons (8,000 litres).
“Our company focuses on spraying technology and innovation in a package that is easy to use and understand,” explains Martine Smeijers, International marketer at Agrifac. “We refer to this by using the phrase ‘Brilliant Simple’ to describe our machinery.”
Specs include boom widths of up to 54 metres (about 180 feet), an optional HighTechAirPlus system that can control droplet size on the fly using a special air injection system that can increase capacity up to 50 per cent, adjustable track widths from 59 to 181 inches (150 to 460 cm), and working speeds of up to 22 m.p.h. (35 km/h).
High-clearance versions are also available, like the ClearancePlus with a ground clearance of 51-79 inches that can be combined with a steplessly adjustable track width of 75-105 or 90-120 inches.
Both Condor models are equipped with the StabilioPlus chassis. According to the company, the pendulum chassis combined with the air suspension gives boom stability as well as driving comfort. Even when working at speed up to 22 m.p.h., the machine is capable of maintaining a stable boom and a comfortable ride.
For boom balance, Agrifac incorporates a unique balancing system called BalancePlus. Rolling over a moon-shaped construction, the boom remains in balance with no complicated balance system. The sprayer can be equipped with sensors that adjust the variable geometry, so hilly terrains are easily manageable, even equipped with the widest booms.
Newly released this summer is the MountainMasterPlus option that can independently adjust wheel height to level the cab independent of the boom on slopes up to 20 per cent. According to Doeko Blaauw, director of research and development for Agrifac, this provides increased stability, a better ride, and equal weight distribution.
Blaauw also covered several of the touch-screen options available in the cab. The EcoTronicPlus system provides precise control of the sprayer — from tank filling, to agitation, to nozzle and boom control, to cleaning. “All the necessary information for operating the sprayer is available to the operator. The screen shows the exact operation in a clear manner,” Blaauw says.
Agrifac uses what it calls the GreenFlowPlus spraying system. A compact pump is built into the system for the shortest circuit and a minimal amount of rest liquid required. “The design of the spray system also makes it extremely easy to clean, quickly,” Blaauw says.
Control via smartphone
Making its most recent premiere is the company’s EcoTronicPlus App. Through the app, the operator can start and stop the pumps while standing behind the sprayer with the touch of the screen. Sections, even individual nozzles, can be controlled via the app, making climbing in and out of the cab a thing of the past.
The company has also introduced its online visual guide, also available via smartphone. “An operator can access valuable information about the sprayer, including short and concise instructional videos, via their smartphone,” Smeijers says.
Gearing up for increased business
The company is ramping up its production capacity in its hometown of Steenwijk, the Netherlands. Slated for completion next year, the new factory and office facilities are being designed to double the company’s workforce and significantly increase its build capacity.
The building isn’t just another factory: it is designed to be completely energy neutral and make maximum use of natural energy sources. The company is in the process of applying for BREEAM certification, with is an internationally recognized quality label that assesses building on nine sustainability categories including management, health, energy, transport, water, materials, waste, land use and ecology and pollution.
“We have designed our products with features and options that fit the North American market,” Smeijers says. “We want a product that is technologically advanced and meets a producer’s needs.”
For more information, visit agrifac.ca. Agrifac is currently running a demonstration tour through several states of Canada and will exhibit at the Ag in Motion show in July.