AGCO Sprayer Boom
AGCO Corporation sprayer booms are used in the agricultural industry for chemical application and have been traditionally constructed from steel. Sprayer booms with larger spans are increasingly of interest as they decrease the number of passes required to cover the same area but the concern over the additional weight, causing additional soil compaction and decreases in crop yields, arises and has prompted interest in the development of a new sprayer boom design.
The goal of this project has been to develop a mass manufacturable, lightweight sprayer boom to minimize soil compaction and fuel consumption and increase corrosion resistance through the utilization of the high specific strength and corrosion resistance properties offered by composite materials.
A custom cross section for the stringers was developed to provide the stiffness and truss support required in a full length sprayer boom. Efficient manufacturing of the stringers was achieved through the use of the pultrusion process using an E-glass/polyurethane composite which were connected with aluminum trusses and mounted to a steel base, which functioned as the connection and pivot point, via adhesive bonding.
Clips were designed to strengthen the truss/stinger joints and provide torsional rigidity as well as be manufacturable via injection molding. Prototypes were produced using the vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) process to demonstrate their ease of assembly and performance.
Prototype booms have been fabricated and tested by AGCO Corporation with continual modification and improvements accompanied with a detailed methodology to bring the booms to the mass production scale.