The bigger your boom, the more difficult it is to maintain the correct distance from nozzle to target, and also the more difficult it is to avoid serious boom damage.
It takes a pretty sophisticated boom height control system to keep the boom level and at the right height, all the while travelling 15 m.p.h.
However, Raven Industries says it has the solution.
Field systems specialist Greg Gessner said from the company’s office in Stockholm, Sask., that the new AutoBoom XRT uses multiple radar sensors providing ground and canopy measurements to maintain optimal spray height and provide boom protection.
The system automatically adjusts boom height using a combination of chassis monitoring and radar sensors to function as a “look ahead” that detects changes in terrain.
The new AutoBoom XRT should not be confused with AccuBoom, which is the Raven section control system, Gessner added.
Case has included Raven AutoBoomXRT as an option on its Patriot and Trident sprayers.
“Our new AutoBoom system is ISO only, so we can only put it on Case sprayers that are 2018 and newer. Being ISO makes us color blind as to which sprayers we can work with. If it’s ISO, then it works no problem. Or John Deere, Cat, whatever,” said Gessner, one of the original designers of the AutoBoom technology 17 years ago.
“The adaptation is pretty easy. We just ‘T’ into the Case wire harness. It’s really a very easy install. Then you go into the monitor and select your machine configuration, brand, model, boom width. All the values and calibrations automatically go to your combine configuration.”
He said the latest AutoBoomXRT is a totally different from previous renditions. Raven now bases boom control on the angle of the wing rather than height.
With Case sprayers, for example, switches on the booms read the wing angle. Raven ties into those angle readouts as one data factor in its boom height control calculation.
Another factor in the algorithm comes from chassis-mounted sensors that measure body roll of the sprayer.
“With information from the sensors and from the wing angle, we can raise the boom as fast as any boom can raise, and we can lower it as fast as any boom can lower,” he said.
“Whether it’s going up or down, as soon as the boom is in the target zone it stops moving — instantly. No bouncing around. It’s really cool.
“On the old AutoBoom we had to use orifices in the hydraulics to slow it on the down movement. There are no hydraulic orifices in the new AutoBoom. Boom bounce is controlled by pressure-based hydraulic valves. We absorb the bounce by controlling the pressure in the wing cylinders, which act like accumulators.
“The standard five radar sensors measure ground speed and distance from the field surface or top of the crop. In the spring when you have bare soil, you put it in ground mode. Later when the crop is up, you switch to crop canopy mode.”
“Look ahead” accounts for ground speed, soil surface, crop canopy, wing angle and body roll, he added.
On a 120-foot boom, Gessner said Raven supplies five radar sensors as standard equipment. The boom is wired for seven sensors, but no customers have requested the extra two sensors. He thinks customers will start ordering the full complement of seven sensors when booms reach 150 and 160 feet.
AutoBoom XRT was introduced this year. Gessner said the company has sold 14 units for installation on Case sprayers. Base price is $14,000 with five sensors. The variable electric dampers add $3,000.