Croplands Micro Power Pack improves sprayer efficiency
Croplands USA distributor, Jack Maljaars chats with the team at Pernod Ricard about the Croplands Micro Power Pack they tested in its trial phase
Croplands’ USA distributor, Jack Maljaars, visited the Croplands HQ in December 2016. Whilst here Jack and some of the Croplands Australia team conducted a field trip to Pernod Ricard’s vineyard in Langhorne Creek, South Australia, to see Croplands new Micro Power Pack in operation with the Quantum Mist vineyard sprayer. This exciting new option is a small, but highly specified, fully enclosed oil supply system. As an engineer, Jack wanted to speak to the operators and learn about how well they work and what benefits they bring.
Three years ago Croplands finalised a new hydraulic oil supply system for their Quantum Mist™ vineyard sprayers, which would improve the efficiency and safety of the fully enclosed oil system and drive the fans and product pump. Most agricultural machines utilising an enclosed oil supply system rely on a very large quantity of hydraulic oil in a large reservoir. Croplands’ new Micro Power Pack design has revolutionised the oil supply system by using less than 20 litres of oil to drive a circuit requiring up to 140 litres per minute of oil supply at considerable oil pressure.
Croplands required a vineyard to rigorously field test this new design and Rod Mulvenny of Pernod Ricard accepted Croplands proposal. Rod has a long working relationship with Croplands through his position as the machinery and main
tenance technician at the Orlando Vineyards. Croplands R&D team were very fortunate to have Rod on board to help put the new Micro Power Pack through a tough field test.
Rod was willing to have a Micro Power Pack fitted to one of their existing Croplands Quantum Mist™ sprayers, replacing the older style oil reservoir. During the first spraying season of 2014/15, a couple of visits were made to perform minor adjustments, take oil samples and to perform an operational review – since then the system has not missed a beat.
The noteworthy features of the Micro Power Pack by Pernod Ricard sprayer operators were the reduction in noise, the closeness of the system to the tractor cab, the reduction in size and the improved view of the sprayer looking out the rear cab window.
From an efficiency and engineering standpoint, the benefits go a lot deeper. The lower noise is telling us there is a significant improvement in mechanical stress. Overall weight on the tractor is reduced by some 150 kg. As the Micro Power Pack’s oil reservoir is a small, finned, cast aluminium vessel it operates at much lower temperatures, has less opportunity for moisture condensation and eliminates the risk of rust (when compared to a normal steel reservoir).
With 20 litres of reservoir capacity, the oil circulates through the system approximately three times per minute via a large capacity Donaldson oil filter. Over the course of testing, this proved to be of benefit with the oil being almost continuously filtered and more efficiently cooled on its journey. Oil tests showed an oil quality improvement over the “old” system throughout the course of the spraying season.
Another significant benefit is the standard use of bio-degradable oil – a much safer option for the environment should there be any leak in the oil system. Included is an auto shut off should the system lose 2 - 3 litres of oil.
The average oil requirement to drive twelve Quantum Mist™ fans to spray three rows at full canopy is around 65 litres per minute at 2700 psi oil pressure. The Micro Power Pack has allowed an oil reservoir capacity reduction of 100 litres – down from 120 to 20 litres over the traditional system. This improvement is impressive and quite a saving when it comes time to replace the oil in the maintenance program.
Croplands have undertaken design protection and use the registered design logo.
Our thanks to Rod and the Pernod Ricard team for their help testing and allowing us to publish this story.
For more information contact Croplands on +61 8 8359 9300 or freecall 1800 999 162.