Machine focus: High-end SAM sprayer

Despite all the talk of reduced pesticide use, sprayer manufacturers remain optimistic about the future needs of their product, including SAM Sprayers of Norfolk, England.

The company has been building self-propelled agricultural sprayers since 197 – a decision prompted by the ban on aerial spraying and the subsequent demand for machines with sufficient ground clearance to traverse growing crops with minimal damage.

At first

Sands Agricultural Machinery is still a family business, which has stuck rigidly to the manufacture of sprayers.

Sands agricultural machinery is marketed as Sam Sprayers and is available as new units in Ireland

Since it’s still around after 47 years and now competes with the major tractor manufacturers that have entered the business, often buying up independent companies, it must be doing something right.

George Thompson, the company’s after-sales manager, was on hand at the Farm Machinery and Trade Association (FTMTA) show to walk customers through the features of the latest model, known as the Infinity.

SAM sprayers start as a blank canvas

One of the first points to note is that beyond the chassis and the cabin, the company does not produce a standard model as such. Each machine should be considered as a base unit finished to customer specifications.

There are, said George, such a variety of options and additions to any sprayer that starting with a clean sheet is, realistically, the only way to go.

Ramp width is obviously the first item on the menu and up to 40m is available, all with a leveling system that relies on six sensors to adjust the height.

Diving ramps

To better tackle slopes and hilly terrain, the booms can tilt up to 12° thanks to a company-designed articulated joint, a feature that has since been duplicated by other manufacturers.

FTMTA spray booms
The rear frame is carefully designed and packaged.

Once the spray width is decided, it becomes a matter of nozzle selection, section control options, etc. George simply notes that if it is possible to fit a particular system to a sprayer, then Sam Sprayers will do it.

A popular choice is flow control by piezoelectric pulse valves rather than changing the pressure in the spray line. These can run at a rate of 100 times per second, or up to 12, in which case their advantage over standard items is greatly reduced.

Spray shape retention

The main advantage is that the application rate can be controlled without affecting the spray pattern or droplet size, as would be the case by varying the pressure.

This becomes especially important as the width of the ramp increases and the speed at which the ramp tips move relative to each other when cornering, which can occur when traveling along curved headlands.

Flow control in the various sections, or even from individual nozzles, will depend on the GPS system used, and here there is enormous choice, making any attempt at standardization an unfortunate task.

standard chassis

That said, regardless of the equipment of the base machine, many features are common to all models of the Infinity type.

induction hopper on self-propelled sprayer
Side filling station folds hydraulically

The Infinity range is the largest option in the two-model range; the second is the Horizon series, which has been the company’s mainstay for quite a while now.

So far the perceived customer demand has been for a 5500L tank on a self-propelled prayer, but for the new infinity series there is a choice of a 5000L or 6000L stainless steel, rather than glass-reinforced plastic (GRP), Char.

Longevity is the goal

The use of stainless steel is preferred wherever possible, including the piping inside the tank and the hydraulically folded 40 liter induction hopper.

A larger pump on the Infinity can fill the reservoir at a rate of 1,000 L/minute via a 3-inch inlet pipe.

There is a pre-fill function which cuts off the supply when the desired amount has been taken on board; it is claimed to be accurate to within 5L.

Residue reduction

Extraneous piping is kept to a minimum to reduce chemical residue and facilitate washing; a rubber hose is used where absolutely necessary.

Filling sprayer SAM FTMTA
Rubber hose is used only where needed

The boom has an automatic lowering function when folding, although the actual operation remains a manual task controlled from the cab.

The chassis is all new and is designed to accommodate larger wheels, but still offers a turning radius of just 7.6m and underbelly clearance of 1.2m.

Deutz power for SAM

The engines are a 242hp Stage V Deutz unit, driven by a hydrostatic transmission with four drive modes to suit field operations and road travel, including cruise control for both.

Using Deutz engines has long been a hallmark of Sam Sprayers and given that the company itself deals with its own used machines, many of which have long hours, it has the experience to make it work.

Also new is the overhead display through which many sprayer functions can be operated while monitoring machine status and operation.

The experience tells

When Agriland visited a user of an older model here in Ireland, one feature that impressed was ride comfort, and this is said to have been further improved in these latest models.

Agricultural vision sand sprayer
Seamus Lanergan from Tipperary already operates a 13 year old SAM Vision sprayer which remains in excellent condition

The Infinity comes across as a well-thought-out self-propelled sprayer, considering the company’s experience and focus on one type of machine.

The sprayers are now available from Furlong Equipment of Stradbally, Co. Laois, who have been importing used models for several years now and are therefore well placed to offer support for new machines.

Hardi cushions the ride

Hardi’s latest range of sprayers was also on display at Punchestown. The Mega tractor-mounted series is available in four sizes from 1200 to 2200 litres.

Hardi Sprayer
The Mega series of sprayers are the latest in the Hardi range

The booms are available in three, four or five sections and are available in widths from 15 to 28 m.

The main feature that sets these sprayers apart from previous models is a new suspension system that operates on the lower linkage.

Bold Cushion
The air cushions absorb the shocks of a sprayer carrying up to 2 t of water

Known as AirRide suspension, the shock-absorbing rubber pads are said to bring much more comfort to the operator, while allowing for faster speeds on the road – both are said to help increase efficiency.

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