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Gravity Liquid Applicator

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by awhauling, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. awhauling

    awhauling Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    I made a gravity liquid sprayer with a 200 gallon tank. I haven't noticed anyone talking about these and wondered why. I have used it this season and have had no problems with it. I have under $300 in materials and 2 hours in putting it together, now issues yet. Why not use gravity to do the work for a lot less?
     
  2. awhauling

    awhauling Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Picture Below

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  3. szorno

    szorno Senior Member
    Messages: 308

    Couple reasons- first, it is not really gravity but pressure caused by the volume in the tank. Your tank is less than a foot higher than your drip bar. Consequently the flow will vary with how full the tank is and the grade you are driving up or down. (gravity does play a small part) The problem with that is that you can never be sure of your coverage. No way to measure it other than a swag. The only way to vary the coverage is by wheel speed of the truck. You may wind up having to go quite slow or faster than desirable to get your coverage.
    Second, there is no way to use a fan- you have to do streams. With anti-icing it is often advantageous to use a fan type spray to get even coverage and not rely on traffic to spread the liquid around. And it appears you have to get out of the truck to turn it off or on.
    This is a great, inexpensive way to prove to yourself that liquids work and break into this part of the business. It is a marginal way to do business long term, especially if you pay the prices we do for liquid rather than make it.
     
  4. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 5,987

    Let us know how cool it is in 2 weeks... I started with literally the exact same setup and as stated above, it gets old fast and expensive, expecially when your applying more than salt brine
     
  5. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,853

    Same reason I don't use gravity salt spreaders.
     
  6. awhauling

    awhauling Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    All the above you are correct, the streams do vary depending on how much is in the tank and I do have to adjust truck speed and grade is not an issue the Midwest is flat, the streams seem to be effective for the results im looking for with or without traffic, and yes I do have to get in and out of the truck to turn on and off, but I didn't want to spend the 250+ on a remote valve at this time for a trial. I wanted to keep it simple due to the fact that all the automatic valves, pumps, gas engines, etc. just make it more work on the back end to PM.

    As you mentioned I am just entering this part of the business but have plowed and salted for nearly 20 years, so this is all new to me. With that said I have netted on 900 gallons 163% on 3 snows including 5 hours of truck time with customers happy and paying the bill. This seems to be a good margin but again I am new to this so maybe I am giving it away?
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  7. awhauling

    awhauling Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Are you charging by the gallon or application?
     
  8. leigh

    leigh PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,987

    I think that's a great start!I've been thinking of trying liquids this way for years,always to busy and or lazy to take the time.If it works,at least to see results,more power to ya:nod:
     
  9. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,853

    Mr. Zorno knows whereof he speaks, he's been using liquids for at least the majority of those 20 years you've been in the biz. He taught me the basics and has helped me out a ton when we got started. You would be foolish to discount his years of experience and knowledge.

    Besides, he's a great guy.

    Hope all is well Scott!
     
  10. szorno

    szorno Senior Member
    Messages: 308

    Thanks Mark. We are pretty good, except for bored. Not much white money this year so far. :(
    Everyone has to start somewhere. The key is that eventually, to grow, you will need to know how much goes on the ground. Cost & quality will dictate when that need becomes significant. Then time will become an issue which translates into wheel speed. You will also likely have to go to a coverage pricing plan. Like xx gallons per acre (or per 1000 sq ft) gets the result consistently that you can bill for. I bill based on a combination of things. Coverage rate gives me gallons per job. Consistency is important. Adjust a little for temps being extra cold. Then the xx gallons costs me $yy. I know I have to pay for my truck and I know the costs of running that truck per hour. So I calculate that I add between $3 and $4 per gallon for my delivery, engineering the application, and covering my truck expenses. That makes my cost and quality for a given job pretty stable.
    Now I just have to get some more SNOW !
     
  11. navyman

    navyman Member
    Messages: 66

    So what will it take to add some AG liquid fert. and pest. pumps to your unit? they are all constructed to operate in corrosive environments, and you can get any pump from 1gpm to 50 gpm or more. No big deal! can prolly pick up on E-bay or CL for a fraction of the cost new. and you can pick up directional nozzles of varying gpm from most any farm supply. Go for it!
     
  12. Do It All Do It Right

    Do It All Do It Right Senior Member
    Messages: 231

    Directional nozzles are cool as are turret nozzles. All until they back up into a snow pile. A pvc pipe some caps and a 1/16 drill bit seem to be more cost effective with getting product to the ground.
     
  13. navyman

    navyman Member
    Messages: 66

     
  14. navyman

    navyman Member
    Messages: 66

    I have considered this, but using oil well brine instead which is abundant locally and cheap....but it stinks of sulfur!
     
  15. 86 CJ

    86 CJ Senior Member
    from MD
    Messages: 285



    Glad to see you have ventured into the liquids on a budget. I started the exact same way and every time I used it and made $$ I would then upgrade to what made my life easier when applying by myself and getting the right amount of product down without waiting(still working on that). Went to a gas motor, then electric valve, then nozzles etc.... Good luck, you are are the right track and most of all making $$ from it :drinkup: