Zanoni Equipamentos - Where a Family Works Together
by Bill Lavender
Zanoni Equipamentos is a name that carries the trademark of quality liquid application equipment for aerial applications and a family name where father, mother, sons, daughters and in-laws work together to keep the Zanoni Equipamentos name at the top of the list of aerial application equipment manufacturers.
Sergio Zanoni at one time from the early 1990s to the late 1990s, worked for his cousin, Pedro Luiz Teruel, who was one of the largest, if not the largest at the time, Ipanema operators in Brazil. Teruel Aviação Agrícola, located in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul operated 17 Ipanemas at the height of the company’s operations (April 2016). Sergio was responsible for maintaining the company’s spray systems.
Out of a need for a more reliable spray system, using his educational background in mechanical engineering from the University of Parana, Sergio started manufacturing booms and pumps for Teruel Aviação Agrícola’s Ipanemas. Later, Sergio expanded his efforts and began providing hydraulic spray pumps and other equipment for Neiva. At that time, Neiva was the manufacturer for the Ipanema, which was later acquired by Embraer. Sergio is responsible for introducing stainless steel spray systems to Brazil upon his formation of Zanoni Equipamentos in 1997.
Today, Zanoni Equipamentos is based in Paranavai, Parana operating from a modern 1500-square meter manufacturing facility. The company’s current facilities were built in 2003 and have been expanded since then. Here, Sergio is responsible for all the project work for updating the present product line and developing new equipment for the changing world of ag-aviation. He is assisted by five other engineers.
Although Sergio is the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of the company, more importantly, his family works by his side. His wife, Graziela, is the company CFO (Chief Financial Officer). His son, Vitor Zanoni assists his mother with the company financials, as well as owning a manufacturing shop for specialized stainless steel residential and commercial products within the Zanoni facility. Lucas, who is Sergio and Graziela’s son, recently returned to the company from working in Sao Paulo and is responsible for expanding the company through his position as International Business Relations. Lucas’ and Vitor’s sister, Bruna, is married to Juliano Mastella. Bruna is responsible for Quality Control, while Juliano is manager of Sales. Leticia Zanoni, married to Vitor, handles the marketing for Zanoni Equipamentos. Two other key employees are Luciana Teixeira and Eduardo Cabral. Eduardo Cabral is Graziela’s brother and the company’s Final Inspector. Luciana is responsible for coordinating sales and leading the company’s office.
Zanoni Equipamentos builds all types of spray systems for ag aircraft. It does not build dry application spreaders, nor does it manufacture CP-like nozzles, mix tanks or hoppers. Zanoni specializes in quality equipment for the application of liquid products from ag-aircraft. It also partners with Alan Poulsen, who is a dealer for the Spectrum Electrostatic Spray System. Zanoni builds the nozzle and other components of the ES system. The electronics are outsourced to a Brazilian company. This system’s booms are manufactured from stainless steel, as well.
Each Zanoni component that is intended for use with liquids is tested at the factory to prevent leaks and ensure correct operation. The usual test pressure is 50-60 PSI, unless a certain component requires a higher test pressure. Spray pumps are completely built from stainless steel and come in three sizes, 2”, 2.5” and 3”. They are the same, basic pump except for the Air Tractor and Thrush versions that are somewhat heavier at 13 kilograms, while the others for Ipanema, Cessna and Pawnee weigh 8 kilograms. The spray pump comes standard with an electric fan brake manufactured by Zanoni.
The Zanoni electric spray pump fan brake has a large braking surface area for rapid stopping of the rotating blades and a longer life than conventional brakes. The electric brake has a selection of three different size blades offering a variety of GPM (gallons per minute) for different ag-aircraft. All pumps’ housings are from forged stainless steel which provides a more precise fit and is much stronger than standard pump housings. The 2” pumps are capable of delivering up to 110 GPM and the 3” spray pump has been field tested to deliver up to 170 GPM, but has the capacity to deliver even more GPM.
The pumps use a special shaft seal that has a tungsten face that better resists abrasive chemicals with very little wear over time and rarely leaks. The pump shafts are square shaped, which guarantees a longer service life. It is not unusual for Zanoni to deliver 10 spray pumps in one day during the spray season.
Zanoni Equipamentos also includes in its production line several models of pumps for the ground support of ag aircraft. These products are also stainless steel and with other technologies to ensure durability. Zanoni centrifugal ground support pumps were developed to be installed on electric motors and internal combustion engines, such as those from Honda and some Brazilian brands. This equipment is used by agricultural aviation companies in Brazil and also supplied to some of the largest agricultural machinery factories in the country. In 2020, Zanoni Equipamentos manufactured around 300 ground support pumps and has more than 500 already sold for 2021.
There are six welders in the welding shop making precision welds for all the spray equipment. The chief welder, Ednaldo Fonseca was Zanoni Equipamentos’ first non-family employee.
The latest edition to Zanoni’s product line is a hydraulic fire gate. As many as 2-3 units a week have been delivered. To date, over 100 fire gates have been delivered to Brazilian and South American operators. The Zanoni fire gate does not require any switching to go from spraying crops to working fires. It is a horizontal style gate that has a larger opening than a standard gate and is opened by fast and precise hydraulics. Later this year, the Zanoni fire gate will be able to interface with the Ag-Nav GPS unit providing GPS accuracy of application and volume applied.
Additionally, Zanoni Equipamentos also builds rotary atomizers. This equipment has stood out in the Brazilian market for fungicide crop spraying and is also being used in North America for mosquito control. The rotary atomizers come with three different screens and three different size blades, which can be replaced according to the desired droplet size and flow rate for each application. In addition to the positive reception from operators and agronomists regarding the uniformity of droplets offered by the equipment, these rotary atomizers have shown a long service life. They are manufactured from stainless steel, including the Variable Restrictor Unit (VRU) of the rotary atomizer (the small valve which connects the nozzle to the boom with a hose). The rotary atomizers also have longlife bearings.
In January 2021, Zanoni atomizers will be tested at the Pesticide Application Technology Laboratory at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the U.S. This research project will offer a large database to contribute to the quality of aerial application with this type of technology. The company is also developing a special rotary atomizer for helicopters and small ag-aircraft. The unit has a smaller body than a standard size rotary atomizer. It is lighter and has the capability to apply at lower rates needed by helicopters and small ag-aircraft.
Family oriented, quality driven, the Zanoni family has grown to have the respect of all their customers throughout South America for Zanoni Equipamentos products. This includes expanding the company’s reach by partnering with U.S. company, Turbines Conversions, as Zanoni Equipamentos’ exclusive North American dealer.
Whenever the industry needed an improvement with its spray systems, for over twenty years, Zanoni Equipamentos has been at the forefront with its modern spray systems and now its hydraulic fire gate. There is every reason to believe innovation from the Zanoni family will continue for many decades to come.