Airblast sprayer inspection

The airblast sprayer inspection can be considered part of sprayer maintenance and part of sprayer calibration. This daily activity ensures you catch small problems before they become big ones. Much of this process can performed at the filling station, so it’s fairly convenient. Don’t think of it as stealing time from a busy spray day – it’s a critical part of your busy spray day! Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment (as indicated on the product label), including hearing protection.

This spray plane was left on the runway with the engine exposed for less than four hours. When the owners returned they found a precocious bird had built a nest. Perform regular sprayer inspections – you never know what you’ll find! Photo Credit – S. Richard, New Brunswick.

This spray plane was left on the runway with the engine exposed for less than four hours. When the owners returned they found a precocious bird had built a nest. Perform regular sprayer inspections – you never know what you’ll find! Photo Credit – S. Richard, New Brunswick.

Fill the thoroughly-cleaned sprayer half full of clean water and park it on level ground (e.g. the filling station). Before adding formulated product to the tank when it’s half full (which facilitates good mixing), pause to perform the following steps. Once complete (including the test spraying and agitation check), continue mixing and filling. If your sprayer manufacturer advises contrary or additional steps, be sure to perform them.

  • Ensure lines/hoses and fittings do not show signs of wear or cracking and do not leak or bulge while under pressure.
  • Ensure filters, screens, strainers and nozzles are clean and unbroken.
  • Ensure tire pressure (tractor and sprayer) is correct and all guards (e.g. air-intake grill and PTO shaft shield) are in place and intact.
  • Ensure universal joint(s), sprayer-tractor hitch and all connections are clean, lubricated and secure.
  • Ensure each nozzle shut-off valve or nozzle body flip position is working.

For PTO-driven sprayers, start the pump and set tractor engine speed to the desired rpm’s. For positive displacement pumps, adjust the pressure regulator to obtain the desired operating pressure. For centrifugal pumps, minor changes can be made to pressure using the regulator valve, but it may impact tank foaming and mixing. Perform the following steps:

  • Open the manifold valve to fill the lines and begin spraying clean water.
  • Ensure each nozzle sprays correctly.
  • Ensure the agitation system is functioning properly.
  • Ensure the tank is secure on the chassis and both crack and leak-free.
As a plastic suction filter ages, it can warp or become brittle. When this happens, the O-ring may no longer sit correctly and the unit may allow air to be drawn into the lines. They should be cleaned and inspected after every spray-day.

As a plastic suction filter ages, it can warp or become brittle. When this happens, the O-ring may no longer sit correctly and the unit may allow air to be drawn into the lines. They should be cleaned and inspected after every spray-day.

 

You never know what you’ll find during an inspection. I found a robin’s nest hidden on this vineyard sprayer’s pump.”

You never know what you’ll find during an inspection. I found a robin’s nest hidden on this vineyard sprayer’s pump.”

Sprayer inspections become repetitive, so it’s easy to accidently miss things. Have you ever driven home while preoccupied, only to discover you don’t remember how you got there? Download this checklist to keep you engaged and to help ensure accuracy. Consider printing and laminating it for repeated use with a dry-erase marker.

DOWNLOAD CHECKLIST

 

 

Anyone that operates heavy machinery should perform a fundamental safety inspection before using the equipment. It’s no different with airblast sprayer operators; be sure to do it every day before you spray.