Chem-Blade ES Released to Dealers
More time saved means more acres sprayed. It’s the foundation Ethan Eck has built his business on.
“Today, a sprayer with a 120-foot boom can’t go any faster than 12 mph across a field and still maintain efficiency and accuracy,” says Eck, who is the founder of Eck Fabrication LLC in Kingman, Kansas. “The opportunity to make up the most time is with efficient loading.”
His invention, the Chem-Blade ES, offers dramatic time savings to spraying operations.
Akin to how a dishwasher operates, you just set the chemical container in the chamber, close the lid, and punch a button to start the process. The system opens the jug and empties the chemical in a half second. The container is then automatically rinsed clean and ready to be recycled.
Because the container is in the ES's enclosed chamber, it also protects you from backsplash and exposure to fumes.
“Using this semiautomated system also allows you to multitask while loading the sprayer,” says Eck.
Ralph Lagergren says the Chem-Blade ES can save you up to 60 minutes a day in loading time. "With a sprayer worth up to $20 per minute in the field, the ROI is fast,” says Lagergren, who is Eck’s business partner.
Breaking Down the Numbers
According to Iowa State Extension, the average rate for a custom application in Iowa is $7.35 per acre (extension.iastate.edu/agdm/crops/pdf/a3-10.pdf).
A sprayer traveling at 12 mph with a 120-foot boom can spray 174 acres per hour at 100% efficiency, explains Lagergren.
“You take 12 mph × 5,280 feet/mile × 120-foot boom divided by 43,560 feet/acre = 174 acres/hour,” he continues. “That 174 acres per hour is then divided by 60 minutes, which equals 2.9 acres per minute.
That 2.9 acres per minute is then multiplied by $7.35.
“Every minute that we can convert from nonspray time to spray time is worth $21.38, which is a great value proposition, and why it is so important that we get this to spray applicators,” concludes Lagergren.
“There is no faster loading system on the market than the Chem-Blade ES,” adds Eck.
The system also opens and loads bags in seconds.
The young entrepreneur's Chem-Blade ES was chosen as one of two winners in Successful Farming magazine’s 2014 Innovation Showcase contest. In 2016, Eck entered into an agreement with Hagie Manufacturing in which the Clarion, Iowa, company would exclusively manufacture and distribute the Chem-Blade ES.
"After we licensed the Chem-Blade ES to Hagie, John Deere bought the sprayer company and the merger of the two lines took precedence," says Lagergren. "At that point, through a mutual agreement with Deere, we thought it was best to bring Ethan's invention back in-house and produce it ourselves."
Nearly three years later, with the final design and testing completed, the product is being released to 80 dealers across North America.
“It's an honor to finally be bringing the Successful Farming Innovation Showcase award-winning product to market,” says Lagergren. “Chem-Blade ES is the crown of our growing product line.”
Eck Fabrication also offers the Chem-Blade Original, the Chem-Blade Caddy, and the Chem-Blade CLM. You can learn more about the Chem-Blade ES and the company’s other products by visiting eckfab.com.