John Deere’s exclusive partner King Agro has opened a new facility at Picassent, near Valencia in Spain. This is dedicated to the production of the revolutionary carbon fibre spray boom introduced last year on the new R4050i self-propelled sprayer.
Representing an investment of over €8 million by the company, the new plant will work alongside an existing factory at Campana in Argentina to manufacture booms for John Deere sprayers built in North and South America and at Horst in the Netherlands. Up to 100 people will be employed at the 5500m² facility, as production ramps up over the next 18 months. The very latest technology will be utilised to produce up to a maximum of 1800 carbon fibre spray booms every year.
Manufacture of the booms starts with precision moulds, created using a five-axis, computer controlled CNC plotter. Carbon and Kevlar fabrics are cut to precise sizes and shapes using a CNC cutter before lamination in a controlled, dust-free environment. Curing of the carbon composite components takes place under high temperatures and pressures of up to 5 atmospheres. Machining, painting and final assembly finish off the booms, ready for installation on the sprayers.
Speaking at the opening of the new plant, King Agro president Guillermo Mariani said: “Our goal is to change the paradigm of steel in agricultural machinery. We believe that carbon fibre spray booms are just the beginning of a trend that will offer innumerable advantages linked to increased productivity, lower costs and reduced soil compaction.”
King Agro carbon fibre spray booms are six times stronger and more than five times lighter than traditional steel equivalents. Highly durable and resistant to the corrosion and fatigue that affect steel and especially aluminium spray booms, carbon fibre offers a long working life and lower operating costs.
The material’s light weight allows overall sprayer weight to be reduced, resulting not only in less soil compaction but also lower fuel consumption. In addition, the spray boom’s low inertia benefits ride performance, providing improved boom control for increased crop coverage and reduced spray drift.
A video tour of the new King Agro facility can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99n1iPk_oPY