Manure spreader avoids galvanization flaw

Manufacturer built machine out of individual components that are replaceable, thus avoiding damage caused by welders

WOODSTOCK, Ont. — Manure spreaders cost a lot and do a lot of hard work, but are often sold for scrap metal early because of corrosion from 3-2-1 NPK fertilizer and high ammonia levels.

While most agricultural implements today are powder coated, including most North American manure wagons, a few manufacturers galvanize their manure spreaders because they feel powder coating chips and scratches too easily, thus leading to premature corrosion.

Galvanization is a protective zinc coating applied to steel or iron, created by hot-dipping the metal parts in a bath of molten zinc. It’s touchy business.

The main problem with galvanizing is that if torches or welding are ever applied to repair a damaged part on the manure wagon, that part loses its zinc protection. It’s an open wound in the zinc, and corrosion starts almost immediately.

At first glance, the solution is to galvanize the complete unit after all the welding and sandblasting is finished. And that’s fine with smaller trailers and implements. But with a large implement, a totally immersed bath in the molten zinc may not be possible.

To circumvent that problem, the French company Pichon Industries constructs its wagons of individual galvanized components that bolt together. Should there ever be an accident or a broken part, the repair is made by loosening bolts and replacing damaged components. There are no torches or welders to break the protective zinc skin.

The Pichon Muck Master on display at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show can carry 18 cubic metres of manure and can spread manure in a swath up to 15 metres wide. To obtain a uniform spreading pattern, Pichon employs two vertical beaters with a total of 52 large (1,035 millimetre) reversible blades driven by a single gearbox. The location of the beater frame prevents from being pushed back inside the body, thus reducing power demand.

“This unique design is clearly a genuine innovation,” Pichon said.

“By combining this design with the oversized beaters, it enables users to spread all kinds of products with accurate spread pattern and high-volume outputs. Standard features on these spreaders are front protection with inside view, galvanized sprung drawbar and adjustable hydraulic jack.”

The trailer tongue with semi-elliptic leaf-spring suspension is one particularly unique feature of the Much Master. The half-leaf springs are affixed to the trailer chassis, with the leaf pack extending forward to the hitch.

The floor is made of 70 mm U-shaped slats that can be fitted with 16 mm Marine chains, with 20 mm Vaucanson chains or with Pichon’s own flat chains. The floor is driven by an oversized gearbox which is controlled in-cab. The spreaders are available with a single axle, bogie axles or tandem.

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