Brian Finstrom discusses Pinpoint II Pulse Width Modulation

Capstan AG is our Pulse Width Modulation partner. Brian Finstrom from Capstan recently joined us on our stand at LAMMA 2020 and a subsequent customer day to demonstrate why you should be specifying Pinpoint ll Pulse Width Modulation on your Bateman. For those who were not able to attend either event we thought we would ask Brian a few questions on your behalf…

Who are Capstan AG?
“Capstan AG is a US based engineering company that develops control systems and control architecture in the application realm of the agricultural industry. We design hardware and software and combine them together to make systems that bring new technological thinking to the market.”

What is your role within the company?
“I am the Operations specialist, which is a bit of a nebulous title, but I have oversight into engineering, marketing and all the operations within the company.”

What was behind your decision to partner with Bateman?
“I had had several conversations with Jason Bateman as he was interested in our technology. But it all started when we met at a mutual customer’s site in Bulgaria who run a fleet of Bateman sprayers. Jason and I both agreed that as the technology had worked so well with this particular customer and in their challenging environment then there was a really strong chance we could make it work in the UK. We had absolute faith in each other’s products and capabilities and on that basis we decided to move forward and forge an alliance.”

Pinpoint II is Blended Pulse technology – what are the key features?
“There are several features and the strengths of these features are fixed to the individual operator and the conditions that they are operating in. But probably the most notable feature would be Individual Nozzle On/Off control and Turn Compensation with the ability of Pulse Width Modulation to control pressure independent of your speed.

The idea is to produce the most consistent droplet pattern possible over the entire field, which allows you to hone in on what’s best for that particular application. There’s a whole bunch of other features that come along with this system, for example Nozzle Diagnostics that tells you what the valves are doing at any given time with the additional function to tell certain valves to produce more or less flow depending on where they are situated to account for dust or for weed pressure. Or to have higher flow rates on the outside of a spray boom as you border a field for instance.

In simple terms we allow our system to go faster and slower than you could achieve previously and all at one pressure which gives you the ideal application or at least the best possible application for every field.”

What benefits does Pinpoint ll bring to operators?
It makes their work a whole lot easier. Before Pinpoint ll you were controlling maybe up to 10 sections on a sprayer and all of a sudden we made it so that you can control up to 72, which is a real game changer. Yes, you are adding another control system onto the machine but at the same time it’s taking away a lot of the things that the operator has to worry about… conventionally an operator has to keep an eye on their application rate and pressure because if they change too much the spray pattern can actually collapse and they end up with misapplications.

By removing the pressure component Pinpoint ll provides the operator with the confidence that they are putting the right volume of chemical down and the right droplet size or at least an ideal droplet size for what they are trying to achieve, which allows them to focus on something else.”

How easy is Pinpoint ll to use?
“The display, once set up, is simple to use. There is little interfacing with it aside from using it as a feedback tool while spraying. While you spray, you generally only use the CapView display to adjust pressure and occasionally to switch boom profiles. Otherwise, it is simply monitoring each valve for proper operation. Obviously I am clearly biased, so I would say speak to the Bateman operators’ using the system, their results will speak for themselves.”

Why should somebody put his or her trust in Pinpoint ll?
“We actually built the Pulse Width Modulation market in the USA over 20 years ago so we’ve been running Pulse Width Modulation on Self-Propelled Sprayers for longer than anybody else in the industry. We have learnt a few things along the way too, we not only know our systems inside/out but we also understand the challenges operators will face and how to overcome them.

So, you could say there’s a whole lot of in-the-field experience that comes with our technological specialism. And when you add this to the wealth of spraying expertise available at Bateman it makes for a pretty compelling combination.”

In the event of a system update how is this filtered through to operators?
It’s unusual to see more than a single update in a year and only then it has to be something that necessitates a change. It is a very robust platform to operate. Should a software update occur we would notify our partners and advise of the update and between us we decide whether it is relevant to their customers.

If the update is deemed relevant we would either send a software pack to our partner for them to distribute or we allow individual customers to receive an email link directly to the software update pack. It’s then simple processes of downloading to a USB, load into the machine, run it and then they’re good to go.

Does Pinpoint ll offer any benefits to the environment?
Yes, I would say it does. Being able to control the pressure allows you to dial in and minimise off-target drift. When you are in a drift sensitive area you can lower your pressure to reduce the drift and when you add into this that you are able to work at a wider speed range then all of a sudden you are getting the spray job done in optimal time because you can do your drift induction spraying at a higher speed. What we all want is zero off-target application.

And what of the future?
On the Self-Propelled Sprayer side we are developing Pinpoint lll, which is the next iteration of our Pulse Width Modulation technology. This new system will feature ISOBUS capability so you’ll be able to pull up our interface in an ISOBUS capable display. Additionally, you will be able to run it with an iPad.

Expect to see further integration with the machine – it will control more features, operate with a task-controller, feature higher resolution mapping, higher resolution multi-product capabilities for pressure control, pressure mapping, volume mapping, application mapping and eventually remote diagnostic support. We hope to field test Pinpoint lll in the Spring with a launch to market later in 2020.

Would you like to book a demo? Contact us today and arrange for the Bateman Demonstration Team to visit your farm.

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Brian Finstrom Interview
Capstan Pinpoint II Infographic

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