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Drive-Through Sprayer Washer
Among the other duties on his family farm, Neil Welsh does most of the spraying. Since he’s a precision ag guy, he loves fine-tuning the technology on that piece of equipment. What he doesn’t love is washing the sprayer.
“I had a long time to think about this idea,” Welsh recalls.
His drive-through sprayer washer is 17 feet high and 20 feet wide (inside dimensions).
“A tractor or combine would fit easily. The greatest need, though, is for sprayers because of chemical exposure to the person doing the washing. Especially one with a front-end boom like ours that drives right into the spray all day. Now, the person washing stays in the cab.”
Stainless steel construction
Welsh used all 100% stainless steel components with the highest degree of corrosion resistance. The pipes are 2-inch schedule 40 stainless steel, they have ¼-inch nozzle holes, and the bracing is 1¾ inches×¼ inch.
The spray that comes from below shoots at an angle toward the inside wheel wells. Less is directed straight up because of the expensive wiring harnesses on a sprayer’s underbody.
Welsh traveled his project around this past summer to Iowa county and state fairs, but he’s ready to install it on a permanent concrete pad.
A small pit (similar to a grain pit) for the undercarriage wash spray can be inserted and centered in the cement. The sprayer requires a 2-inch water line and a drain.
“To winterize, we’ll unhook the hoses and electrical wiring, pull drain plugs at the bottom of the towers, and store the pump motor indoors,” he says.
It takes three knowledgable people about three hours to install.
Since his family farm is in the same county as Kinze Manufacturing, Welsh has competed for – and received – an Iowa County Kinze Award the last five years.
“The competition helps you think mechanically and intellectually. Kinze’s engineer judges challenge you to question what you’re doing, then they help you develop the process you need to do it,” says Welsh.
He says the judges liked the sprayer’s efficiency (because the structure is part of the plumbing, it uses a minimal amount of steel). They also appreciated the return on investment.
A $2,500 winner
Welsh is the next recipient of a $2,500 Firestone in-store credit offer for having his idea chosen as the Idea of the Month.
Home: Parents Bob and Nancy Welsh have a midsize farm near Williamsburg, Iowa, where they grow corn, soybeans, and alfalfa.
Student: The Iowa State University freshman has a double major in ag business and ag systems technology.
Blue ribbons: Welsh’s sprayer washer won first place in the 4-H science and mechanical engineering competition at the Iowa State Fair. It also received a first-place Iowa County Kinze Award from Kinze Manufacturing.
Goal: “I want to develop a career in ag technology,” says Welsh.