Ethan Eck, inventor of a retrofit knife system that opens and rinses chemical containers, now has a manufacturer for the product. Hagie Manufacturing has announced it will market the technology, called Chem-Blade ES, as an option for wherever sprayers are loading.
The announcement was made at the National Farm Machinery Show.
Chem-Blade ES is a standalone unit that opens, purges, and rinses chemical jugs and also opens and empties dry product bags all in the confines of a stainless steel tank. The sealed housing protects the operator from chemical or fume exposure. Blades at the bottom of the housing cut a door in the jug and empty the contents into the tank. Electronic controls activate the fail-safe system. A jug is emptied in a half second and the whole cycle takes under a minute compared to five minutes or more it might take to do the same steps by hand, says Eck’s business partner Ralph Lagergren, a name you might recognize from his days of developing and then selling the Bi-Rotor combine technology to John Deere.
“The ES saves 30-60 minutes a day loading so more acres are sprayed, and with a sprayer worth $20/minute in the field that really helps the bottom line,” Lagergren says. “Plus, because the system is fully sealed and enclosed, the operator is isolated and protected from chemical fumes and splash.”
A step ahead.
Hagie Manufacturing has always been forward-thinking when it comes to adopting new technology. The company, arguably the first to market a self-propelled sprayer, is known for its futuristic cab, front-mounted boom and product pair-ups that turned its sprayers into dual nitrogen application toolbars.
The latest invention fits that company model, as it will be the first to offer a fully enclosed loading and rinsing system so that the operator never comes into contact with chemical fumes or liquid-concentrates.
“The lid to the unit doesn’t open until the chemical container has been completely drained and rinsed,” says Newt Lingenfelter, Hagie Mfg. “It is much like a dishwasher. You load it up, close the door, push start, and when cycle is over, the jug is clean.”
The original Chem-Blade, which Farm Industry News first covered in 2014, was constructed of a poly tank and an open design. The new Chem-Blade ES is constructed of stainless steel and is fully enclosed and automated.
“The new enclosed unit does a lot for the operator and the industry, but the original retrofit Chem-Blade unit fitting in polytanks will continue to fill a second tier of the market with many of the same advantages of the new version but without automation or being enclosed,” Eck says. “We anticipate strong growth for the full Chem-Blade product line with Hagie Manufacturing licensing the product.
Available as option.
Hagie is making Chem-Blade ES available as an option to mount on tender trailers and in shops, with limited release in 2016. Full release comes in 2017. It retails for $7,200, which Lingenfelter says amounts to a two-week ROI considering the time savings and making the overall spraying process more effective.
“The tending system for a sprayer is much like a grain cart or semi-truck system and drying system for a combine,” Lingenfelter says. “The more right -sized you are, the more efficient you are for tending that product and the more it can get done in a day. Everyone out there who runs a sprayer can make their operation more efficient and safer by using this product.”
For more information, contact hagie.com.
At the time we did this story, Eck Fabrication, the maker of Chem-Blade, had licensed the Chem-Blade original and the Chem-Blade ES (enclosed system) to Hagie and then a week later John Deere bought Hagie. Eck Fabrication's Ralph Lagergren, would like to clarify that Eck Fabrication is continuing to manufacture and market the products through its existing distributors for the next year before it goes in house.
“We expect great things for Hagie and our product through that partnership," Lagergren says. "But one thing has happened that has confused a lot of people. Beta tests and functional tests are on-going and a lot of people have been calling us about the status of the Chem-Blade line. After functional tests then the Chem-Blade ES is expected out in full-force in 2017 with time savings and a safe environment.”