Bayer Crop Science produces a line of gel pesticides that should be applied in precise dosages. Achieving the desired control with a syringe applicator is impractical, so Bayer retained Porticos to develop a robust, easy-to-use handheld device that would accomplish the goal.
By the time Porticos became involved, Bayer had already begun experimenting with a manually-actuated “airless pump;” the kind that is used on liquid soap dispensers. Porticos engineers employed both experimentation and deep knowledge of mechanisms and fluid mechanics to show that the airless-pump approach was unworkable. We proposed a completely different dispensing mechanism to meet the design targets.
The product is a gel, so it is quite viscous. The dispenser must accommodate several different gels, each with different non-Newtonian viscosity. That gel can harden when in contact with air, so a means of cleaning the dispensing nozzle is critically important.
From an ergonomics standpoint, the gel cartridge must be quickly and cleanly installed in the handheld dispenser. The product is usually dispensed on the ground, behind fixtures, or around dark corners. Porticos recommended a rather long pistol-grip configuration to maximize reach and suggested an integrated LED light to encourage application in the desired location. We added RFID recognition so the dispenser would know which product was being dispensed.
We provided much-needed Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity: a Bluetooth tether so that each dispense-event could be recorded, time-stamped, and geo-tagged with the user’s smartphone.
Porticos managed to create an excellent balance of performance, battery life, and considerate features. The motor-driven dispenser eliminates hand fatigue. The shape and light make it easy to put the right amount of product in the right spot. The product actually speeds up the treatment of large buildings and reduces the amount of product consumed; a market-share win for Bayer and an economic win for their satisfied customers.