Portable Wind Machines
Wind machines are now such a fixed part of the landscape wherever there are orchards and vineyards it can be easy to forget that they have made dramatic improvements and offer much more versatility the past few years.
Fixed wind machines are the standard, but there is a growing need for portable wind machines.
Orchard-Rite’s contribution is the towable tilt wind machine, which is now designed so that an experienced person, on their own, can deliver and set up a portable wind machine in 20 minutes if they have the right tools.
David Harmening is in marketing and sales of Orchard Rite machinery. He says mobile machines have been used for years in vineyards and low vegetable crops, but are gaining in popularity in a few key sectors of the fruit economy including blueberries and strawberries.
Though the mobile units have shorter towers (6 m, or 20 feet in height), Harmening points out this easily covers the vast majority of inversions, which typically are less than 4.6 m high.
In blueberry fields they not only help with cold pockets, but help to dry crop so it can be harvested sooner. They are also useful in fighting against mold or diseases that thrive in wet conditions.
The units are also popular, he says, “In cases where the plantings are not fixed and move around from year to year.”
Improved auto-start controls allow users to set the machines to come on and shut down automatically based on temperature sensitivity of 0.2ºC.
Another highlight of Orchard Rite’s newest portable machines are their increased fuel efficiency (the diesel engines consume approximately half the fuel per hour of operation of the gasoline motors of a decade ago).
More amazing is how easily they can be put up.
The tower is so well counter balanced that one person can easily raise the 1,900 kg (4,200 lb.) tower and blade by hand. This kind of hyperbole can seem easily exaggerated, but seeing this demo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=efxcfxQ2yQQ) makes it believable.
As Harmening says, “To be able to create that wind wherever you want, whenever you want, is a great advantage for a grower.”