Developments in grain storage and handling equipment

by Teresa Acklin
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World Grain provides a round-up of the latest equipment and projects for efficient storing, handling and processing of grains.


   Behlen Manufacturing Co., Columbus, Nebraska, U.S., is a single-source supplier of all necessary components required to build a total grain storage system.

   The company services customers worldwide. Its equipment includes steel bins of up to 12,300 tonnes and hopper bins of up to 925 tonnes, elevator legs and grain conveyors to meet required capacities. Behlen also supplies Berico commercial dryers for grain, oilseeds or rice and a wide choice of flat storage buildings.

   Behlen's ability to design and supply from a single source assures a smooth operating system, without bottlenecks, from receiving through loadout.


   Brock Manufacturing, Milford, Indiana, U.S., offers customers the best possible features and innovative solutions for grain storage needs with its complete line of commercial storage silos.

   The company offers more than 200 commercial grain storage models in diameters from 5.5 to 27.4 meters. Maximum storage capacities range from 211 tonnes of wheat for the smallest silo to nearly 14,000 for the largest.

   Brock also offers a line of commercial grain holding hopper-bottomed silos in diameters from 4.6 to 9.1 meters with capacities from 85 to nearly 1,000 tonnes of wheat.

   “Purchasing a commercial grain storage silo is a long-term investment decision — not a price-per-kilogram of steel choice,” according to John Haugh, vice president of sales for Chore-Time/Brock International, which is responsible for international sales, service and distribution of Chore-Time and Brock equipment.

   “Storage purchases should be based on what's best for the grain being stored,” Mr. Haugh said. “That's why Brock is concerned that a silo's features offer a true benefit to the end user and also help to minimize storage risk.”

   Mr. Haugh added that Brock was committed to offering customers foundation drawings, assistance in planning new grain storage facilities and help in expanding or updating existing facilities. Brock also offers a five-year warranty covering its commercial grain storage silos and hopper-bottomed silos.


   Quality assurance in a flour mill starts with raw material purchasing and the blending of wheat in the silo and screen room to ensure flour quality and consistency.

   For this reason, Buhler Ltd., Uzwil, Switzerland, has developed various feeding means, all of which can be controlled by computer and thus are suited for advanced plant automation. Two available products are the silo flow balancer and the automated diamond slide, both for silo discharge capacities of up to 200 tonnes per hour.

   One advantage of the MZDA diamond slide is its small height requirement of only 10 centimeters. Another is the remote control of the actual discharge opening and volume through a potentiometer. The discharge accuracy corresponds to metering by volume.

   The automatic MZAS silo flow balancer controls the product flow through the actual grain quantity striking the specially designed deflection plate. The deflection force is directly proportional to the weight of the material flowing through, and therefore the accuracy achieved (approximately 1% on the nominal capacity) is much greater than with a diamond slide. Possible chokes are cleared automatically by fully opening the slide, and the minimum height required for installations is approximately 375 millimeters.

   For discharge capacities of up to 80 tph, the even-more accurate MWBG differential proportioning scale, “Transflowtron,” has been developed. It works on the principle of loss in weight feeding. Even very small quantities can be fed accurately, and the stock control is correct even over long time periods. The high precision of these scales enables the computer master control unit to keep an absolutely reliable storage in inventory account.

   A further element in grain storage and handling that must receive high priority is grain cleaning. To optimize quality and economy, the introduction of multi-task grain cleaning machines, such as the MTKB combi-cleaner, is not just a trend — it is the way to efficiency.

   Ongoing research and development toward improved technologies and new designs allows Buhler to give grain processors professional support.


   Christianson Systems, Blomkest, Minnesota, U.S., designs and manufactures mobile and stationary pneumatic conveying systems for grain handling, specializing in pneumatic ship-unloaders.

   Christianson recently completed two installations that reflect design flexibility to address varying site and application requirements. For the Port of Ulsan, South Korea, three 150 tph mobile shipunloading towers were commissioned for dust-free discharging of a wide range of feed grains and derivatives from vessels to 30,000 dwt.

   Unlike traditional tower unloaders, these incorporate a unique 18-meter telescopic boom that adjusts its overall length during horizontal and vertical operation and provides independent slewing and luffing movement. This makes it possible and very easy to avoid various ship's gear that would limit the working range of fixed-length booms and eliminates the need for a moving operating platform.

   All primary power and pneumatic components are mounted on a fixed platform for easy access. The system uses the Christianson positive displacement air pump, minimizing energy consumption, which is less than 1 kilowatt per tonne per hour.

   Other features include a 25-tonne hopper for non-stop discharging of the vessel while loading trucks, four sets of twin wheels configured for a manual steering and towing system and a bolt-together design to minimize delivery and installation time and expense. The units are self-contained with a diesel engine power source, making the towers totally independent.

   The second installation is working on the Pasig River, the Philippines. The Barge-Vac was designed to address the many challenges of economical, high-speed unloading of grains, feed and meal from various sizes and styles of inland river barges.

   The Barge-Vac can be installed on a shore or floating platform or a dead working barge. At the Pasig River installation, the machine discharges onto a Christianson slewing, luffing belt conveyor mounted along the river bank. The Barge-Vac also can be easily moved to accomplish barge lightering as necessary.

   The Barge-Vac, which may be electric or diesel powered, will consistently discharge at 125 to 150 tph. Features include two independent telescopic intake booms enabling unloading from multiple holds, dust-limiting filter receivers and silencers. Lightweight piping and boom movement are easily controlled by one worker using remote control.


   Grain Systems, Inc., Assumption, Illinois, U.S., better known as G.S.I., has become a major supplier to more than 70 countries. G.S.I. has full manufacturing capabilities for grain silos up to 32 meters in diameter; grain dryers, including the newly introduced commercial Tower Dryer; and aeration and handling equipment.

   “The international market is more than promising, it is amazing,” said David Vettel, vice president, G.S.I. International. “I've not seen anything like this internationally in all my years of doing business.”

   G.S.I. has been a major player in Korea, with three large sites for the National Livestock Cooperation Federation. These three sites each contain more than 40 silos.

   Other installations include an expansion project in Mexico requiring 12 silos, including hopper and flat bottom tanks to accommodate 100 tonnes per hour; a Colombian installation, including a computerized temperature detection system, six silos and four hopper bottom tanks with unloaders and 40 tph capability; and 10 27-meter silos, two 11-meter flat bottoms and three commercial hopper tanks in Argentina.

   G.S.I. has supplied five projects in Indonesia. One includes four silos complete with aeration, side draw system, unloading, temperature cable system, bucket elevator, conveying equipment and grain cleaner; a second includes four silos with a 25 tph dryer, feed tank and two 50 tph overhead conveyers; and, for a new feed mill, eight silos with aeration equipment and sweep augers, 16 flat bottom tanks, nine steel hopper tanks with cleaning equipment and accessories were installed. Another Indonesian project features two flat bottom silos with bucket elevators and conveyors, while the fifth includes 11-meter commercial hopper tanks with gravity cleaner, bucket elevators and conveyors.

   In Egypt, G.S.I. has installed 20 silos with double roofs, complete aeration, unloading equipment, four 5-meter feed tanks, 15 chain conveyors and 13 bucket elevators in two projects.

   For San Miguel's breweries in the Philippines, G.S.I. installed eight commercial hopper tanks for malt and ground corn, with plans for additional projects under way. Other projects in Asia include 60 rice silos in Japan, 22 commercial hopper silos in Taiwan and a new feed mill storage facility in Vietnam.


   InterSystems, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., designs and produces handling systems for the bulk material handling and processing industries. Its Kleen-Masse conveyors offer a new innovative design concept that combines the efficiency and flexibility of flat bottom conveyors with the self-cleaning capability of round bottom types.

   The Kleen-Masse system comes in capacities of 30 to 1,200 cubic meters per hour. It includes heavy duty chains and offers replaceable liners for both sides and bottoms. The galvanized stainless steel construction is painted for durability.

   InterSystems also offers En-Masse conveyors with capacities of up to 1,500 cubic meters per hour, with the same sturdy construction.

   The company's bucket elevators also have capcities of up to 1,500 cubic meters per hour. They feature pillow block bearings, quick-release hinged doors, detailed computer calculations and safety labeling.


   Petkus Wutha GmbH, Wutha-Farnroda, Germany, designs and manufactures equipment and complete facilities for storing and processing grains, oilseeds and legumes. The company's new generation of dryers uses modulant recirculation of warm processing air to achieve very low energy requirements and significant cost savings.

   Petkus Wutha's dryers also incorporate environmental design features in line with European Union dust and noise pollution standards; the column has an efficient self-cleaning system, with complete recirculation and collection of dust and by-products.

   Petkus Wutha dryers have universal application in the food and feed industries and oilseed or other seed grain installations. The company offers a large selection of models ranging up to 35 tonnes per hour capacity for maize.

   Petkus Wutha dryers are of modular construction to meet different requirements and have an extremely compact design. A wide choice of heating fuels, including solids and liquids, is available, and the dryers offer direct and indirect heat sources, with the heat exchanger inside the dryer casing.


   Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield, Iowa, U.S., announces its line of galvanized fans and heaters. The complete line of Sukup fans and heaters (axial and centrifugal) are now galvanized, rather than painted, to prevent rusting.

   Sukup fans give FantasticTM airflow. The special design of Sukup Fans, including airfoil blades, provides the most airflow of any fan as efficiently as possible. The high quality and efficiency of Sukup fans have made the company first in the centrifugal fan market.

   Sukup manufactures a complete line of grain drying and handling products to help you get the most from your bins. Sukup equipment works together to form an efficient in-bin drying system. Sukup equipment also allows you to expand your system as your needs increase. You don't need to replace existing Sukup equipment as your drying needs increase, just add to the system you already have. Sukup equipment is made to be flexible and work together.

   The complete Sukup Grain Handlers line includes centrifugal and axial fans and heaters; the Fastir Stirring Machine; FastDry In-Bin-Continuous Flow Dryer; Auto Dry Computerized Moisture Controller; and a selection of bin flooring, aeration equipment, bin unloading equipment, Airway Tubes, Spredway Grain Spreader and two models of grain cleaners.


   Vigan Engineering S.A., Nivelles, Belgium, presents a new, re-engineered line of its large-range bulk equipment for heavy grain and derivatives.

   The equipment ranges from the high-capacity NIV type, 600 tph pneumatic shipunloaders to the lower-capacity, 50 tph mobile type. The re-engineering is based on modules of well-proved standard Vigan elements, giving maximum individual design possibilities adapted to each local situation.

   Within this range, the client may choose the best-adapted and the most-adequate conveying system to suit his needs locally. The choices include the NIV type, with capacities of 200 to 600 tph; the tower type, with capacities from 150 to 350 tph; and the mobile type, with capacities from 50 to 190 tph. Barge and coastal mobile shipunloaders are adaptable to all river sites.

   A typical breakdown of the annual cost of heavy grain unloading from a 65,000-tonne ship using Vigan NIV equipment shows the following:

    ship tie-up cost: 77%

    annual capital cost: 12%

    operating cost: 10%

    maintenance cost: 1%.

   The ship tie-up cost is the most important parameter, while the innovative re-engineering applied by Vigan decreased the other parameters to a rock-bottom level.

   To decrease ship tie-up time, it is not the rated capacity that must be taken into consideration, but the actual efficiency, from the top of the hold to the end of the cleaning operation. The Vigan NIV works at high full capacity and does not stop for cleaning; even grain in the remotest corner of the hold is easily reached. The efficiency factor of Vigan's new line of pneumatic shipunloaders is higher than any mechanical or pneumatic system.

   The heavy duty new mobile type 60 has recorded impressive sales in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, where 25 mobile 60 unloaders were purchased by the National Grain Organization (Hoboob) in Syria. Vigan special barge and coastal shipunloaders are also proving successful in the Asian islands and the European waterway network.