ULV Fogging Machines - A Simple Technical Guide
What is a ULV fogger machine?
To understand the term 'ULV fogger machine', let’s break it into two parts, first is ULV. ULV is an acronym for Ultra Low Volume. The second part is fogger machine which means a machine which aids in producing and propagating fog. Fogger machines use a fluid (usually mixture of liquids). This fluid is often called as fog juice.
Now when you look at both the terms, you notice that they are interdependent. Ultra low volume means the ‘ultra low volume' of fog juice that is used in a fogger machine. To acknowledge a fogger machine as ULV fogger machine, it requires to tick some boxes. This includes the operation of the fogger machine, volume application rates and droplet size (diameter).
How does a fogger machine work?
Before we deep dive into ULV fogger machines, it is important to understand the basic working of a fogger machine. The fog juice inside the fogger machine is pressurized which in turn vaporizes or atomizes the contents of the fog juice. Once the contents exit the fogger machine, they form a fog which spreads in the surroundings. There is a provision of a valve which helps to keep a check on the fog density. The thickness of fog depends upon the application.
The essential parts of ULV fogger machines include an engine which usually is electrical (but can be based on fuels too), solution storage tank, blower, nozzle, regulating or flow control valve, hose, power switch and the body and handle of the fogger machine. The portable ULV fogger machines are always lighter as they have to be carried around using a handle. As there are different types of ULV fogger machines depending upon their applications, some parts are added while a few can be excluded. For example, a few ULV fogger machines use a pump.
Solution storage tank is used to store the fog juice. It can be made up of plastic or metal. There is a provision for emptying and filling the liquid. Engine provides the power required for the blower. The air pressure of ULV fogger machine can be adjusted by the engine. Flow control or regulation valve is used to keep a check and influence the thickness of the fog and the air flow rate. The rule is lesser the air flow rate, smaller the particles.
Blower plays the most vital role in the ULV fogger machines. It is responsible for the vaporization and fogging to occur. Nozzle throws out the fog formed into the environment. More the number of nozzles, greater is the efficiency. Hose is present in few models of ULV fogger machine. It is responsible and the main reason behind high effectiveness in the hard-to-reach areas. A power switch button is provided to on or off the ULV fogger machine.
Criteria for ULV fogger machines :
For different applications such as spraying pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and disinfectants, criteria is :
1) VAR :
According to DropData, ULV (Ultra Low Volume) for spraying pesticides and herbicides depends on VAR (Volume Application Rate). The VAR values vary depending upon the application.
- Field Crops : < 5 L/ha
- Trees and Bushes : < 50 L/ha
- Forests : 0.25 – 2 L/ha
2) Droplet Size :
- Flying Insects: 10-30 µm
- Leaf Nematodes: 20-40 µm
- Fungi Diseases: 30-50 µm
Uses and Applications of ULV Fogger Machines :
The uses and applications of ULV fogger machines range from disco concerts to disinfection of areas. ULV fogger machines are rarely used in entertainment industries. Though, they play an important role in disinfection and pest control. This is the reason that ULV has played a major role in agriculture and animal husbandry.
1. Disinfection and Surface decontamination :
The situation of COVID-19 pandemic brought disinfectant fogging into limelight. ULV fogger machines were the forerunners in establishing the limelight. For disinfection and surface decontamination, these ULV fogger machines use liquid antimicrobial solution.
Disinfectant fogging easily disinfects areas because the fog easily reaches out the surfaces. It even disinfects the hard-to-reach areas which usually are left behind in conventional disinfectant techniques. Moreover, disinfectant fogging is considered to be effective in eradicating few pathogens like the COVID-19. Disinfectant fogging is usually preferred in large indoor premises or outdoors. Warehouses, storehouses, hospitals, stadiums, laboratories are some places were disinfectant fogging is usually employed.
2. Agriculture :
ULV fogger machines have turned out to be a boon in agricultural sector. They are primarily used in pest control and disinfection of granaries. Spraying pesticides and herbicides using ULV fogger machines in agriculture has solved many problems of the farmers. Notorious pests like locusts and tse-tse flies are also dealt using ULV fogger machines.
The hard-to-reach areas in barns and granaries are easily accessed by spraying disinfectants and repellents using ULV fogger machines. This is the reason why ULV fogger machines became very popular in agriculture sector. Talking about spraying pesticides and herbicides using ULV fogger machines, the major advantages are as follows :
- Covers a lot of area.
- Requires less time.
- Higher accuracy.
- Higher efficiency and effectiveness.
- Low rate of human infections or injuries.
- Less chemicals are required.
- Lower noise levels.
The most well-researched and documented usage of ULV fogger machines is for the protection of avocado crops. Earlier, before employing ULV fogger machines, these avocado crops used to fall prey to the diseases even after spraying pesticides (using handgun sprayer). Once, ULV fogger machines were employed, the rate of diseases drastically fell down.
3. Animal husbandry :
Another sector where ULV fogger machines have improved and aided the yields is animal husbandry. Spraying disinfectants, repellents, and fungicides using ULV fogger machines in barns, animal sheds has been quite effective. ULV fogging machines has been a blessing for the poultry industry. It solved poultry industry’s key problem. Poultry farming has always had problems with pests, fungi and insects. ULV fogger machines has been effective in thwarting the growth, and eradication of these organisms. Thus, ULV fogger machines has played an essential role in this sector.
ULV fogger machines play a vital role in many sectors for disinfection, spraying chemicals and surface decontamination. Considering its effectiveness and efficiency it proved its capabilities in sanitation, agriculture and animal husbandry sectors. ULV fogger machine’s success stories in reducing the diseases of avocado crop in agriculture sector and eradicating pathogens in the poultry industry has been recognised. Currently, it is widely used and growing in popularity.