One piece of equipment that is often overlooked is the strainer. Here we will dive into the importance of the strainer, or, as it is sometimes referred more simply, filters or screens. No matter what you call it, strainers are very important to reduce clogging, excessive erosion of spray tips and consistent fluid circulation of your sprayer equipment. As the name alludes, this part strains or filters debris to ensure even uninterrupted flow.
To better understand the variety of strainers used on sprayers, we’ll discuss the most popular types of sprayer strainers used and review what strainer numbers mean.
Types of Strainers
Shaped like the letter Y, the Y strainer is used in various agriculture and industrial liquid flow applications where the amount of debris that will be filtered is small. Often lightweight and made of polypropylene materials, the Y strainer is corrosion-resistant. Its cylindrical shape is very strong and meant to accommodate high pressures. These parts do have pressure ratings so make sure you choose the one that’s suitable for your sprayer system.
The T strainer
is also shaped like its namesake, the letter T, but this part has a larger holding capacity so depending on its application it will go longer between cleanings. With the T strainer there is the option of purchasing the part with a clear or white bowl, where the clear bowl offers the advantage of easy visibility to check for debris or chemical build-up. T strainers are good at trapping large particles and offer dozens of configurations, including self-cleaning strainers, designed for simple and quick cleaning and maintenance.
Built-in strainers, or tip strainers, prevent debris from entering the orifice or vane and can be used with a variety of standard and quick-connect flat spray, full cone, hollow cone and fine spray nozzles. These are used in conjunction with another type of strainer and filter out finer particles as a sort of last stop.
In general, most sprayer operations can benefit from adding line strainers or integral nozzle strainers. Though if you’re relying on tip strainers alone and these parts begin to plug frequently it may be necessary to add a single line strainer between the pump and the nozzle. From our experience, it’s much easier to clean a single strainer on the main line coming from the pump than to clean all of the individual tip strainers.
Strainer numbers represent the number of openings per square inch. The size can range from 10-200 mesh where high mesh numbers have smaller openings and result in a finer screen than low mesh numbers. So a 50 mesh means the strainer has 50 openings per inch. In general 100 mesh tip strainers are required for individual tips with a flow rate below 0.2 gallon per minute (gpm), 50 mesh between 0.2 and 1 gpm, and no strainer over 1 gpm. There are various strainer to sprayer tip combinations to provide the optimal psi, but for the sake of time we’ll save the topic of pressurization for later.
In considering the right size for your needs, keep in mind that the main strainer, often called inline or suction strainer, should be the same size or larger than the last strainer on the sprayer pump or boom. Though you don’t need to run strainers on each nozzle as long as you strain the water either into or directly out of all nurse tanks, have a main product strainer on the sprayer, and one strainer for each boom section of the sprayer. When in doubt, call the experts.
That’s not all. You also need to consider the type of product you’re spraying because fertilizers need a larger strainer than water based chemicals.
All in all, the strainer in your sprayer is one of the most important parts, but also one of the easiest to maintain. A clean and properly sealed strainer will allow proper flow to the pump and contribute to a longer pump life. If you’re looking for more on sprayer strainer maintenance, find out the 3 Reasons Why You Should Check Your Strainer in this post.
Contributed by Guest Blogger: Mark Techler, Factory Representative - Hypro & SHURflo Ag and Industrial Pumps and Accessories
Spray tips are the smallest and most overlooked components of a sprayer. Drift control spray tips use air induction to produce air filled droplets, which dramatically reduce drift compared to conventional tips. Here are the benefits:
- Reduce off target spray. Your neighbors don’t want your ag chemicals on their property.
- Improve efficacy. It is estimated that 30% of conventionally sprayed droplets drift off target, land on the ground, or evaporate (leaving the active ingredient inert). Reduce that drift to 2% and achieve better results.
- Improve coverage. Air filled droplets stick to their target while conventional droplets may bounce off. When the air bubbles break the surface tension of the droplet, the spray material becomes more dispersed on the target.
- Improve spray quality. The chemical label shows a droplet size category, which can vary from extremely fine to ultra coarse, at which the product must be applied for optimum results. Air induction tips produce more consistent droplet diameters than conventional tips.
- Save money. With improved efficacy and coverage you may require less chemical and less water to finish the job. With improved efficacy and coverage likely you will only need to spray once, saving money and time.
- Be environmentally responsible. Keep herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers confined to their targets and out of drinking water supplies and the aquifer.
Before you buy any spray tips, it is also important to know:
- Your spray technique: broadcast or banding
- Sprayer speed (in mph)
- Tip spacing (20 inches, etc.)
- Application rate (from chemical label)
- Spray tip flow rate (GPA or GPM)
- Spray pattern: flat fan or cone
- Spray quality (fine, medium, coarse, etc. from chemical label)
Armed with this information, use the Hypro SprayIT Calculator to select drift reduction tips. Hypro has designed this online calculator to make it easy to select the proper spray tip for your application. Given the information we just covered, all you need to do is select the type of application and input your specific application data and the calculator with do the rest.
Contributed by Guest Blogger: David Herrera, Operations Manager - Sprayer Depot
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Once a customer places their order, our shipping department begins picking and packing the order. We double-check each shipment to ensure accuracy. We keep a huge inventory to reduce delivery times and minimize the downtime our customers may experience when their equipment is down and they are waiting for the delivery of their parts or new equipment.
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Sprayer Depot has strong vendor relationships, so if what you need is not in stock, we are able to drop-ship most orders. Our inventory is not limited to sprayer parts. We also carry the full line of Kings Sprayers, as well as Unigreen, FMC, Kubota and Gator Sprayers.
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We stock some of the most popular Kings Sprayers as part of our Quick Ship Program. These sprayers are in-stock and ship within 24 hours.
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Our knowledgeable Customer Service Technicians work closely with our manufacturing department to help turn ideas into reality. We use 3-dimensional drawing programs to design custom frames and our expert builders make each sprayer with the highest level of design and craftsmanship in the industry. We can customize an existing sprayer, or design a new one, to meet your specific needs. The options are endless.
Are you training a new spray technician? Or simply need a refresher guide to identify your sprayer parts? Our Customer Service Technicians often help customers with these exact needs. So, we've created this useful guide to help you get more familiar with your sprayer and its parts.
View clearly labeled parts, complete with part numbers
Easy-to-see sprayer image provides accurate identification of parts and sprayer accessories
Excellent teaching tool and resource guide
Keep this useful guide on hand as a resource for spray technicians, to use as repair and replacement part information, and as a general teaching tool.
Proper Sprayer Maintenance Requires Keeping the Right Sprayer Parts in Inventory
To keep your spray equipment running smoothly and to avoid downtime while ordering & waiting for parts, keep these common sprayer parts on hand:
The spray tip is a critical part of any sprayer. Spray tips perform three functions:
Spray tips are generally best suited for certain purposes and less desirable for others. Basically, increasing the spray tip angle decreases droplet size. Since smaller droplets drift longer distances, it's important to pick the right spray tip for the job.
AgitatorAn agitator in the tank is needed to mix the spray material uniformly and keep chemicals in suspension.
A plugged nozzle is one of the most frustrating problems that applicators experience with sprayers. Properly selected and positioned strainers and screens will help prevent nozzle plugging and reduce nozzle wear.
Strainer numbers (e.g. 20-mesh, 50-mesh, or 100-mesh) indicate the number of openings per inch. Strainers with high numbers have smaller openings than strainers with low numbers.
Coarse basket strainers (also commonly referred to as basket filters) set in the tank-filler opening prevent debris from entering the tank as it is being filled. A 16- or 20-mesh tank basket filter will also restrain lumps of wettable powder until they are broken up, helping to give uniform mixing in the tank.
The line strainer is the most critical strainer of the sprayer. It usually has a screen size of 16 to 80 mesh, and it can be positioned between the tank and the pump, between the pump and the pressure regulator, or close to the boom, depending upon the type of pump used. Roller and other positive displacement pumps should have a line strainer (40- or 50-mesh) located ahead of the pump to remove material that would damage the pump. In contrast, the inlet of a centrifugal pump must not be restricted. A line strainer (usually 50-mesh) should be located on the pressure side of the pump to protect the spray and agitation nozzles. Be sure to clean this screen regularly.