Valley's Kevin Fischman Receives Patent for End Gun Control
To Kevin Fischman, a Senior Irrigation Product Application Specialist for Valley® Irrigation, innovation is “pushing boundaries to do what’s best for the grower, the environment and the company.”
Sometimes that means developing a new system for end gun control and compensation. Other times, well… innovation looks like 1,000 red SOLO cups attached to posts in a field (more on that later).
The Leader in Precision Irrigation®
On July 28, 2020, Valley received patent no. 10,721,881 for a System and Method for End Gun Control and Compensation. The patent protects the idea of utilizing field mapping, weather conditions, and control software to dynamically adjust end gun parameters to compensate for changes in terrain, wind speed and wind direction to provide a more accurate water application depth under the area of the field covered by the end gun.
End guns typically cover 12-20 acres and are generally turned on in the corners of fields. In addition to taking advantage of all areas in the field, more accurate water application can lead to significant yield improvements in those acres. “If you study data,” says John Kastl, Senior Director of Innovation and Mechanical Value Stream Leader, “growers don’t generally get uniform water application under end guns. That’s because they’re throwing water 80-100 feet and are subject to environmental factors such as wind gusts and changes of direction. Over time, this will lead to inconsistent application with each pass.”
“This will help growers by taking into account the real-time data so end guns water in the correct spot and don’t spray the other person’s field or the road,” Fischman says. “Right now, technology allows end guns to be shut down, but with this invention they will be able to compensate for terrain and weather conditions and adjust the settings dynamically.”
Research & Development
Kevin Fischman has worked with Valley® for nine years. He started in the Research & Development (R&D) Department. After there he went to Mechanical Engineering, where he helped with water application projects. His projects didn’t always fit under that umbrella, so a new department was created. Now he helps Engineering, as well as R&D and programming, with a wide variety of things.
The end gun innovation is just one of three patents Fischman has received for his work at Valley, with others still on the way. In his day to day, Fischman works with development of the Field Layout Tool and the in-field component of Valley Blueprint design software, which lets users easily design center pivots and linears, create sprinkler charts, generate plans, and present quotes to farmers in minutes. He also contributes his expertise to any other projects that he can help with.
In one such recent project, he and colleagues carefully arranged approximately 1,000 red SOLO cups in a field. Then they ran a center pivot over the area to test corner machine and VRI application depth. It’s a low-tech but innovative way to continue field testing in a time when COVID-19 limits travel, and exemplifies Fischman’s dedication to both aspects of research and development.
“Growers can be confident that Valley will continue to be the industry leader, developing and improving solutions that help them produce better and larger yields,” Fischman says.
“Patents received are evidence of the Valley commitment to advancing the science of precision irrigation,” Kastl concludes. “Continuous improvement and delivering results are two of our core company values, and achievements like this demonstrate each: identifying a need and innovating a new, better solution to help growers. And from a personal standpoint, it’s a really exciting demonstration of our commitment to conserving resources.”
Valley Irrigation is the worldwide leader in precision irrigation. The Valley brand of center pivot, linear and corner equipment provides solutions for conserving water and meeting the growing demand for food.