Air-O-Fan owner Brent Davis never stops looking for ways to improve the spray performance of his orchard and vineyard sprayers.
Over the years, he's introduced technologies such as dual-axial fans for better airflow, new and improved spray nozzles for better water atomization, and engines with low-end torque. And he evaluates the equipment to make sure it does what it needs to do.
"We do a great deal of testing in orchard and vineyard crops looking to improve spray deposition throughout the canopy we are spraying," says Davis. "The concept behind our technology is high air volume and lower air speed, which is less abrasive to the crop but delivers better three-dimensional canopy coverage evenly throughout."
Air-O-Fan sprayers have evolved a lot over the years, but one mainstay has been the John Deere engine. Air-O-Fan first introduced John Deere engines to its product line in the late 1970s. "The relationship with John Deere and Air-O-Fan actually goes back before my time," says Davis. "I grew up as a kid wearing John Deere hats, loving the product, before I even knew that it was in our sprayer."
Today, Davis owns and manages the three-generation, family-owned corporation. "We have employees with 20 to 35 years with the company. It's a family atmosphere. When a customer buys an Air-O-Fan product, they become part of the family. That's incredibly important to me."
He also values his long-term relationship with his John Deere engine distributor. "We have a very good working relationship with Western Power Products. We appreciate their hard work and support. They go above and beyond, working very hard to produce a custom Air-O-Fan power unit, complete with engine mounts that fit our equipment. It comes skid-mounted with all the components, ready to slide into our machine. It’s a turnkey product."
Four sprayers are powered by John Deere diesel engines. The PowerTech™ PSS 6.8L Final Tier 4/Stage IV engine powers the two largest orchard sprayers, the D-2/45 and the "Big Moe" D-2/40. Air-O-Fan's smaller D-2/36 and D-40R sprayers are driven by 129-kW (173-hp) PVX 6.8L engines, and they will be replaced with Final Tier 4/Stage V engine models in 2019. Western Power engineers a custom power unit that fits the confines of the sprayer’s narrow 1.4-meter- (56-inch-) diameter cylinder housing.
In times of change, the John Deere name continues to hold clout among his agricultural customers, says Davis. "Just the name alone helps sell our products. When we're out with our customers, and they view our products, and see that we power it with John Deere engines, acceptance is pretty instantaneous."
I grew up as a kid wearing John Deere hats, loving the product, before I even knew that it was in our sprayer.