Sunday, January 29, 2017

When You Need Eyes in the Back of Your Head

Prior to making any spray application on the golf course, the equipment is thoroughly inspected to be sure it is functioning correctly.  This includes checking the rate on the sprayer's controller, as well as a visual inspection of the nozzles' spray pattern.  In addition, as the spray tech is operating the sprayer, they are watching the nozzles--that is, the nozzles they can actually see.

While the nozzles on the left and right booms are easily checked from the operator's seat, the rear, middle boom is not (even if you had eyes in the back of your head).  So, while a sprayer may be performing well when initially tested at the maintenance facility, over the course of spraying out 300 gallons, things can go wrong.  This includes a hose leaking, a broken nozzle body, or a clogged nozzle.  Obviously any of these can cause an area to receive too much, or too little of the product being applied.
An unseen nozzle issue caused a misapplication on #6 fairway.

In order to improve the view of the center boom, we've tried some things in the past, such as installing mirrors, without much success.  This time we went in a different direction, and backed into  the solution:  For $33 on Amazon, we found a nice backup camera and monitor.
The camera was mounted to a bracket on the back of the sprayer.  

If you're wondering what the little yellow flags above the camera are for, it's another proactive step in keeping everyone safe in the workplace.  There was concern that someone might accidentally walk into the camera's mounting bracket when the machine is parked in the building--the flags act like mini safety cones.
The view from the driver's seat.

A close-up of the screen with the three rear nozzles visible.

While there may always be some fires to put out in any operation, we are hopeful that the addition of this camera will be another good step towards fire prevention.

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