At the core of the 2014 Apache sprayers lineup is a redesigned cab intended to heighten operator comfort in the field while integrating the latest technology. Manufacturer Equipment Technologies will introduce the new sprayers at Farm Progress Show later this month.
In response to grower feedback, the company focused on outfitting its new in-cab ET Pilot System with controls resembling those found in trucks and other familiar vehicles, says Corey Trojanowski, marketing coordinator. The model year began July 1, and sprayers with the new cab are already rolling off the assembly line.
Oftentimes, farmers get into the cab of a sprayer and "almost have to take a step back in terms of design and look and feel," he says. The ET Pilot System offers a 7" color touchscreen with preinstalled apps that provide readouts on engine diagnostics, transmission, fuel economy, slope and torque output.
The armrest now fits operators’ arms more like a glove, says Charlie May, marketing manager. Meanwhile, the functionality of the joystick will be familiar to growers who have previously operated an Apache sprayer. Options will included a heated leather seat and power mirrors on the side of the machine.
The upgraded cab is ISOBUS-ready, meaning operators can plug in their preferred field computers from AgLeader, Trimble, Raven Industries or any ISOBUS compatible field computer to work in conjunction with the ET Pilot System. The Viper 4 field computer from Raven, introduced early this year, is among the options that can be factory installed. Allowing growers to work with the technology most familiar to them presents sales opportunities for Apache dealers.
"If our equipment is not even getting a fair look because of a computer, that’s a shame," May says. He adds, "ISOBUS is one more step towards the Apache being the most flexible piece of equipment in terms of universal precision compatibility."
More standard features new to the 2014 Apache sprayer cab are:
- Operator foot throttle for hills, general maneuvering or going in reverse
- Audio-infotainment system featuring Polk audio FM/AM/WB/AUX, four Jensen HP speakers, USB jack, SiriusXM- and Bluetooth-ready
- Upgraded HVAC vent locations and automatic climate control
- More cab storage for documents, tablets and smartphones, as well as a portable cooler beneath the buddy seat
- Hypro Express End Caps for nozzle bodies that allow trapped air to escape
- Beacon light on cab roof for increased operator safety
- Michelin agriculture tires come standard
While less significant changes have not been made outside of the cab, operators will notice a few differences. Upgrades have been made to the fill station and pump controls, and the battery shutoff and blowback fan have been moved inside the cab.
Optional upgrades also include Raven’s Flow Max fill station flow meter, Hypro CleanLoad chemical eductor for optimal application mixing, Grote high-output LED lighting and an extended bumper-to-bumper warranty.
This also marks the first year the company has worked with a third-party company to provide an online configurator platform. By going to apachesprayer.ironbuilder.com, customers can build out a customized sprayer, save the design and send a lead to their dealer. From there, they can print a PDF and head to the dealership. Nearly all Equipment Technologies dealers in Canada already used the platform, which manufacturers such as Case IH and New Holland also work with, May says. This partnership expands the IronBuilder configurator to customers throughout the world.
The etsprayers.com site is now compatible with mobile devices.
Above all, the 2014 model year Apache sprayers highlight the Equipment Technologies value proposition, May says—ruggedly simple, dependable and profitable. While some might have referred to Apache machines as the high-end Chevy of the sprayer world in the past, he says the upgrades introduced this year reflect a basic desire to help growers spray more while feeling better at the end of the day.
"The changes that we’ve made this year make the Chevy statement laughable," May says.