Calibration How Tos: Air Blast Sprayer Calibration
As a member of the agricultural community, you know the important part that your equipment plays in your success.
You also know the value of the proper maintenance and care for all of that equipment.
Especially your airblast sprayer, part of those maintenance procedures is making sure that your sprayer is calibrated correctly so that it operates in a safe and cost effective manner.
Improper calibration or even no calibration at all can lead to applying too much or not enough material.
This can be costly in terms of crop damage or expensive over runs.
And that is what proper airblast calibration is all about.
Protecting the investment you've made in your equipment, the input you've purchased and the crops you grow.
However before calibration can take place, there are a few steps you need to take in order to make the calibration process run smoothly.
Let's take a look at those steps.
Step 1, triple rinses your sprayer tank and all the piping.
This is common practice in any sprayer or pesticide container.
It is important for the safety of those doing the calibration testing that there is no pesticide residue that they might be exposed to from the equipment.
Step 2, pressure wash the sprayers.
Pay special attention to cleaning both sides of the nozzles, around the pumps and filters.
Again this should be your regular practice when cleaning equipment used in applying pesticides, and it does help with the safety of those working on the sprayer.
The next couple of steps will help provide more control over the variable parts of the application process.
Managing these variables will help make sure your sprayer is more cost effective.
Step 3, clean the individual nozzles and record orifice and whirl disc sizes.
It is important to have accurate record of what sizes these items are.
Or at least what they are supposed to be.
It is rare that disc sizing errors by the manufacturer occur but it can happen.
Orifice and whirl disc sizes are one of the most important variables that can affect and change the sprayer output.
Step 4, flush out the line to the pressure gauge in addition to the nozzle orifice and whirl plate sizes, line pressure is another important variable in adjusting sprayer output.
Clogged lines or other imperfections can lead to incorrect pressure readings.
Accurate pressure readings are essential to proper calibration.
Step 5, clean your filters, this includes: tank filters, suction filters, final filters and every screen behind the nozzles.
This is all part of making sure that the entire system is clean and working properly.
Residue clogs in nozzles and valves will alter the systems output and prevent accurate calibration.
Step 6, make sure all valves, diaphragms and o-rings are in good condition and working properly.
Again remember the importance of the entire system being clean and working correctly.
Residue clogs or blockages, or worn out elements will alter the sprayer output which means your calibration or application measurements will be affected as well.
Step 7, check tire pressure on both the tractor and sprayer.
Low tire pressure on either vehicle can cause variations in your speed and affect material output.
Step 8, make sure the tractor tachometer is working properly.
The tachometer is the only way that you as the operator, knows that the tractor and sprayer are running at the same speed every time.
Step 9, fill the sprayer halfway with clean water.
When determining the speed of the tractor sprayer.
You'll want to find the average, a full sprayer tank will likely make the vehicles move more slowly while less water in the tank could increase the speed.
A half full tank should be the average weight at which the tractor sprayer will operate.
Step 10, it is important to have operators or mechanics that work with the tractor and sprayer combination on hand for the calibration.
Everyone who operates this equipment needs to understand its proper calibration in order to oversee it is cost effective and appropriate usage.
When workers know how to use and calibrate the sprayer correctly, you reduce the opportunity for costly mistakes in pesticide application.
Their presence may also be helpful in answering any questions the calibration team may have about the equipment history and usage.
Step 11, have the operators manual for your application equipment available.
If problems occur during the calibration process, the manual is helpful in supplying solutions or other technical information for adjusting the tractor or sprayers functions.
It's as simple as those 11 steps.
It is not a long list or a difficult one to accomplish.
Doing this work ahead of time will make the calibration process go more smoothly and can add to the accuracy of the final results.
After all, having your sprayer equipment working correctly is necessary for the growth and success of your crops and your business in general.
Let's work together to make it happen.