Taking the pulse of the field and delivering the goods

Raven’s new PWM system puts more product on and allows for slow-moving sprayers with bigger booms


Raven rolled out a new pulse width modulation (PWM) nozzle control system called the Hawkeye 2 that supports wider sprayers, higher rates and is easier for operators to manage compared to its predecessor.

“From a software and user interface standpoint we’ve really simplified things for the operator in the cab to be able to change settings, look at the diagnostics, and what’s going on out on the boom,” said Ryan Molitor of Raven.

The Hawkeye 2 supports up to 192 nozzles while the original Hawkeye system maxed out at 106 nozzles.

With major improvements in spray boom technologies in the past few years Raven had to enhance its nozzle control system to keep up.

“120 feet wide (booms) is quite common, 132 wide is another width that we’re seeing and we’re hearing about systems that go even wider than 132 feet in certain areas of the world,” Molitor said.

Raven reduced the electrical draw of each nozzle control valve by 60 percent, which makes it easier for the system to work with sprayers that can struggle with electrical load.

The frequency of the PWM of the Hawkeye 2 can now be adjusted beyond the 10 hertz that is typically used.

“If you’re doing really low speed applications you may want to adjust that up to 15 to 20 hertz. That’s probably the most common request, for really low speed applications with the boom really low to the crop, they may want to bump that up,” Molitor said.

“Ten hertz is still the best in our mind. That is why it’s default to that.”

There has also been a significant increase in the amount of product each nozzle control valve can handle, with close to a 20 percent increase over the original system, which Molitor said was commonly requested by customers.

“Growers need to get a lot done in a short amount of time. They don’t want to have to be limited by speed. So having the ability to go faster and get more out of the system, or in a liquid fertilizer application, those are the two main drivers of that,” Molitor said.

The nozzle control valve supports turret style, as well as a stacked style of nozzle bodies that can turn on a second nozzle body while the first nozzle control valve continues to pulse to hit higher rates.

The Raven Hawkeye 2 increases flow capactiy and allowes for lower frequencies for appplications that are slower and lower to the ground. | Raven photo

This increased capacity along with the variable rate capability will help growers maintain an even application while turning.

“On turn compensation, it’s a huge benefit when they’re turning in the field just to be able to vary the nozzles throughout the entire boom to make sure they’re not putting too much on inside and leaving a bunch of skips on the outside of the boom,” Molitor said.

As its predecessor did, the Hawkeye 2 supports individual nozzle shut-off for overlap compensation.

“Another (feature) we added is blockage detection. So if a tip gets blocked or plugged it will alert the operator and tell them which tip is plugged so they can stop and correct the issue without misapplying,” Molitor said.

The systems rate control module is ISOBUS ready, so if growers don’t have a Raven VIPER field computer they can use the existing display in the cab with a virtual terminal.

Depending on the width of the boom, the Hawkeye 2 costs about US$25,000 to $35,000.

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