Winfield using its wind tunnel for spray analysis
Winfield Solutions has promoted the company’s leadership in application technology and product development to its co-op member owners, but the magnitude of sophisticated processes and research that the company is capable of doing, partially because of a relatively new spray analysis system, has not received much national attention.
The University of Nebraska had the grand opening/dedication of its new wind tunnels for analysis of product effect on sprayer droplets and drift potential in July, but Winfield Solutions was already up and running with its own equipment, which it refers to as the spray analysis system. It is basically the same as a wind tunnel in a little different configuration than the University of Nebraska equipment.
The University of Nebraska has two units. One that is referred to as the high-speed tunnel for analysis relative to aerial application, and the other unit that simulates ground application air effects. These units are for hire to application equipment and chemical manufacturers in addition to being used by university researchers.
Proper spray application of crop protection products is in the crosshairs of the Environmental Protection Agency, and manufacturers are expected to provide improvements to product application so that there is basically no drift or off-target movement during or after application. These wind tunnel and spray analysis systems are key in making improvements from what is already a relatively good situation, although Winfield Solutions suggests there can be step-change improvements.
“When producers spray their fields with crop protection products, a good portion of the droplets may miss their target due to evaporation, drift or bouncing off. The spray analysis system allows Winfield Solutions to conduct research to develop new drift reduction and deposition products and optimize spray efficiency and reduce drift potential,” noted Land O’Lakes in text posted on its Web site along with a video explaining system equipment and the Winfield Product Development Center in western Wisconsin. Winfield Solutions is a division of Land O’Lakes.
“The Spray Analysis System allows us to analyze the effects of spray tips, pressure, flow rate, active ingredients and other factors on spray particle characteristics,” said Joe Gednalske, director of product development, Winfield Solutions. “This state-of-the-art device, which represents one of just a few in the world, is a patent-pending design that utilizes a circular enclosed system with a spray mist extractor to remove spray particles downstream of the test section.
Gednalske continued, “Research has shown that the most reliable data for this type of analysis comes from laboratories using a wind tunnel, and our instrument allows for accurate spray particle analysis, which is crucial in product research and development.”
Leadership in research and development is a goal that Winfield Solutions appears to be achieving by investing in its spray analysis system.