Industrial Farm Equipment Looks To CPI Ball Switches

Hagie Sprayer uses CPI Ball Switch

Like so many other manufacturing and production industries, automation has become a key part of the economical growth and harvest of agriculture across the United States. Essential to this growth are the large sprayers used to spread fertilizer and crop protection compounds across large swaths of plants covering thousands of acres of rolling farmland. In the past, the choices for a farmer were not great: either hire hundreds of workers to spray crops by hand, or hope it is a bad year for Japanese beetles. With margins on most produce being so low, profitable economies of scale can only be achieved by having maximum yield on acreage.  Without it, one bad year of beetles, can make another tract of farmland into Condo’s.

In 1947, Hagie Manufacturing took on the challenge of large scale farming and invented the world’s first self-propelled sprayer.  Today Hagie has partnered with John Deere to engage globally in the sales and manufacturing of self-propelled sprayers, detasslers, nitrogen toolbars, cutter and puller attachments.

Hagie Boom using CPI J4 Ball SwitchOne of the key features of Hagie sprayers is their long hydraulically controlled booms which can spread out on either side of the cab, yielding a wingspan of up to 132 feet!  Critical to operation of these booms is that they travel to a locked position so that liquids are sprayed evenly and accurately.  To provide closed loop feedback on the mechanical locking mechanism, a limit switch is typically used which is activated when the boom reaches its locked position. The problem however, is that these switches must be deployed in an area completely exposed to outdoor conditions on the boom including sprayed compounds like Urea Ammonium Nitrate (URN) which has excellent properties as a fertilizer when mixed with water. Unfortunately, it is also highly corrosive to steel over time and Hagie had difficulty finding a limit switch for this application that did not ultimately degrade, and require expensive field repairs.

A High Endurance Limit Switch for Farm Equipment and Vehicles

J4 Ball Switch for Farming Equipment

CPI’s High Endurance J4 Ball Switch, Thread Mount.

Hagie’s chosen solution for detecting the locked status of their boom turns out to be none other than our J4311 Ball Switch. Hagie worked closely with CPI engineers to develop a variation of our proven design that was hardened and sealed specifically for Hagie’s application.  The J4311 is a normally open switch with screw in mounting from a .625 – 18 UNF-2A mounting thread.

Our J4 ball switch is a much sought after solution to limit and safety switch feedback applications owing to its incredible resistance to environmental contaminants, shock, vibration, and its electromechanical endurance rating of up to 1 million cycles.  Originally designed for demanding military applications the J4 Series switches replace standard ball switches in mission critical applications, where harsh environments cause high failure rates.  Our J4 ball for Hagie was customized to use a fully corrugated loom covering the switch and the wiring as well as termination in a custom Deutsch connector. CPI can modify our J4 ball switches for appropriate lead lengths, terminations, and electrical and endurance parameters so that you are shipped a part that plugs directly into your application

CPI High Endurance Ball and Plunger Switches for Your Application

In the world of agricultural equipment and vehicles, wet and wooly deployment scenarios with corrosive compounds are a fact of life. But whatever your application, if the words “tough”, “corrosive” or “exposed” describes your environment, then our J4 series Ball and Plunger switches may be the solution for your closed loop safety switch or limit switch requirement.

Call our engineering team today or visit our website at http://cpi-nj.com