2014-03-26   facebook twitter rss

Kongskilde Handling System at the Heart of Grain Drying Facility

A versatile, efficient and durable grain handling system is at the heart of a new drying complex on a Cambridgeshire farm that has removed a significant harvest bottleneck.

Keyston Farm Partnership commissioned the new facility to replace a 40-year old drying system that could not keep pace with high output harvesting and involved much double-handling of wet grain.

Elevator No1 lifts the crop to a Kongskilde KF60 spinning disc aspirator that removes shrivelled grains, weed seeds and other light material before the grain is channelled to elevators feeding into the drier or store.

Elevator No1 lifts the crop to a Kongskilde KF60 spinning disc aspirator that removes shrivelled grains, weed seeds and other light material before the grain is channelled to elevators feeding into the drier or store.

“It took months to get cleared in a wet year and shifting 500 tonnes of grain and oilseed rape backwards and forwards in a 10-tonne trailer is no joke,” says Minto Lohoar. “But the new facility can easily keep up with the combine and we needed one less casual to cope, so there was a labour cost saving too.”

The new installation at the 710ha (1750 acre) Manor Farm at Keyston near Huntingdon was designed by GrainTek and features the company’s own Tornado mixed-flow drier.

This is fed by a flexible handling system using Kongskilde conveyors and elevators that provides fast crop intake, an aspirated cleaner to take out shrivelled grains and other light material, delivery of dry grain direct to store, and an out-loading facility.

Mr Lohoar points out that Manor Farm has plenty of storage capacity for all crops – 5000 tonnes on floor and in bins: “But putting wet grain through a 20-tonne/hr drier when we’re combining 45 to 50-tonne/hr was hopeless,” he says.

The new facility is housed in a square building slotted into a space between two stores. The drier and an enclosed bunker for collecting ‘lights’ from the aspirator takes up one half; an 8m x 12m intake bunker with capacity to stockpile up to 230 tonnes occupies the other half.

Whoever manages the facility enjoys the comfort of an enclosed and well-lit lobby where the touch-screen control system for the drier and handling equipment is housed and where crop samples are analysed and logged.

Incoming milling and feed wheat, spring barley, oilseed rape and spring beans are drawn into the facility by two below-ground Kongskilde KCA30 chain conveyors. They have a nominal capacity of 30-tonne/hr each and by drawing crop from the front of the bunker, two ‘tramlines’ are created that allows trailers to continue backing in without running into the pile.

The conveyors feed a 60-tonne/hr KCA60 cross conveyor, which has a 45deg incline section to position the outlet high enough to discharge into one of three Kongskilde KBE60 bucket elevators.

Malcolm Greves of Holt, Norfolk-based Kongskilde UK points out that inverter control of the electric drive motors provides adjustable speed and performance, so grain can be drawn in at up to 60-tonne/hr to fill the drier quickly from empty, then at a slower rate to match its throughput.

“Filling rate is automatically slowed when grain reaches the low-level sensor 1.5m from the top of the drier, and again when detected by the mid-level sensor,” he explains. “Everything is brought to a halt when the drier is full – and a gravity chute from the drier-filling conveyor provides a failsafe mechanism.”

The 230x410mm cross section chain conveyors have a compact bevel gear motor drive and are constructed from 2mm and 3mm material.

“Apart from having a bit more steel for durability, the KCA60 conveyors feature a nylon lining for added wear resistance and longer service life,” points out Malcolm Greves.

The KBE60 elevators are similarly well built, with 1.5mm galvanised steel used for the side panels and 3mm for the head and bottom. They have eight buckets per metre, with each bucket attached to the durable belt by self-locking nuts.

“We were offered two handling systems and went for the more expensive option,” says Minto Lohoar. “The Kongskilde system was the better quality product, in my view, and with an investment such as this, I wanted something that would last.”

All incoming crop is elevated so that it can pass through a Kongskilde KF60 aspirator, which contains a spinning disc to ensure efficient airflow extraction of light material such as shrivelled grains, weed seeds and leaf material.

“The spinning disc opens up the grain, so you get really effective and even airflow through the cascading crop,” explains Malcolm Greves. “The light material removed is then extracted from the airflow by a cyclone and at the Keyston unit it falls into a fully enclosed bunker within the building to minimise the amount of dust blowing about.”

Having passed through the aspirator, dry grain can be sent straight to store and wet grain to a third Kongskilde KBE60 bucket elevator feeding the GrainTek Tornado 5.5/20 mixed flow drier which, despite being sited indoors, is fully clad and insulated.

This results in maximum fuel efficiency by retaining as much heat as possible, points out Phil Crow of GrainTek.

“It only costs a few hundred pounds but the potential energy savings are tremendous – around 18kW/hr by insulating the roof alone,” he says. “The potential savings with the Keyston installation are around £2000 a year in electricity costs alone.”

With the drier just warm to the touch, Minto Lohoar reports that the heat insulation and enhanced ventilation provided by using perforated cladding for sections of the building creates a more pleasant working environment.

“The shed stays cool even on the hottest days,” he explains.

Next on the agenda is a revamp of the storage facilities – the old drier and bins have been removed to create a three-bay floor store fed by extending the Kongskilde conveyor system by 15m and adding a KCA60 incline section to take grain high into the apex of the old store.

A new Kongskilde KCC60 has been installed running from the back of the building to the front with four manual slides operated from the existing catwalks and with a three-way split to discharge grain across the floor.

Minto Lohoar declares himself delighted with the way the project turned out: “We can now start combining at 10 or 11am because we have the drying capacity to cope and there’s no more stockpiling and tedious double-handling of wet grain.”


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