High-Flow Fertilizer Flow Sensing in Self-Propelled Spreaders
Measurement of fertilizer is an important and challenging thing to do in agricultural applications. Fertilizer is highly corrosive and is hydrophilic, meaning that it wants to absorb water. When it does — for example, in high humidity air — it will stick to things and rapidly begin to corrode many materials.
Some fertilizer is spread using self-propelled machines that are commonly referred to as floaters. These machines drive quickly over the ground while fans propel material through an airstream against a deflector, which spreads the granular fertilizer on top of the ground. The machines can operate over a very broad spectrum of rates and speeds, requiring a sensing solution that can handle a large range of signals in a very challenging working environment.
To solve this problem, Appareo developed a sensor that adheres to the back of the deflector, named Recon SpreadSense.
This approach allows the sensor to easily be retrofitted to machines, does not disrupt the normal flow and distribution of material, and provides a high quality flow signal. The sensor measures the transfer of energy from fertilizer striking the deflector and the resultant signal is read by Appareo-designed electronics and broadcast to a monitor in the cab of the machine. This allows the machine operator to effectively monitor the proper operation of the machine, ensuring fertilizer is properly applied to maximize crop yield.