The first Pommier aluminum spray booms that arrived in Manitoba from France a decade ago started an aluminum trend that’s spread throughout North America.
Today’s aftermarket 120-foot aluminum booms weigh about the same as the original equipment manufacturer 90-foot steel booms.
Dan Light, owner of Ultra-Light Aluminum Boom Products in Lisbon, Iowa, said aluminum booms are not only longer and lighter but also last longer.
His company specializes in extensions but also designs and fabricates complete booms, from the centre section to the tips.
“With aluminum, we’re able to go to boom lengths the sprayer manufacturers have not been able to achieve with steel,” Light said.
“There’s some engineering involved in this and also a little bit of guesswork to get it right and make it strong enough that we’re confident it won’t break. We typically work with the outer halves of a boom and leave the steel structure at the centre alone,” he said.
“Everything I add extending from the centre section out toward the tips is aluminum. That’s the part of the boom subject to the most abuse, more bounce, more hits on fence posts, hits on the ground and things like that. That’s where we need aluminum.”
Light’s quest for a more durable boom led him to develop a new three-way breakaway hinge that breaks forward, backward and up. The patent has just been granted for the hinge.
Using stainless steel feeder tubes instead of rubber hoses also lessens weight and adds to longevity.
Most of Ultra-Light’s development work has been with John Deere sprayers
Light has aluminum extensions for the 4700 and 4800 that attach at the 60 foot mark and bring total boom length to 90, 100 or 120 feet.
Extensions for the 4900 sprayer bring total boom length out to 132 or 140 feet.
On the 4600 sprayers, he has full aluminum boom kits including the centre section out to the tips in lengths of 80, 90 or 100 feet.
Ultra-Light does all the design and fabrication work on extension kits and full boom kits shorter than 100 feet. He works with Specialty Enterprises of Wisconsin on the 120 and 132 foot booms.
Light is now turning his attention to other major brands and has prototypes for Case, Spray Coup, Hagie and Wilmar.
Much of what he learns about these sprayers comes from custom re-building booms for producers who want a better boom but don’t want to buy a new sprayer.
“There are a lot of people out there who just want a better boom,” he said.
“Think about it. The sprayer itself hardly ever wears out, but the boom either wears out or gets wrecked. I think we can offer people a valuable upgrade on their sprayer at a realistic price.”
For more information, contact Light at 319-929-1271 or visit www.4lmfg.com.