Saturday, June 23, 2018

Smart system automates existing grain store fans

May 31, 2018 by  
Filed under News & Business

Grain store specialist Evans and Pearce has developed a low-cost system to turn existing cooling fans into automated units capable of switching on and off only as required.

Called Grain Fan Assist, the system sees each fan fitted with a small control box that takes a feed from an ambient air temperature sensor and a spear-mounted grain temperature probe.

This controller monitors the difference in air and crop temperatures and then triggers the fan each time the air is cold enough to effectively cool the grain. As external temperatures rise, the fan switches off, so warmer air isn’t blown through the crop, undoing earlier good work.

Operators can set the desired kick-in point simply via blister buttons and a digital display on the front of the box. This is known as differential grain cooling – a technique that has been shown by the AHDB to reduce energy usage by up to 40%.

Grain Fan Assist can be fitted to new or existing fans. It requires little, if any, input from an electrical contractor. Growers send their fans to Evans and Pearce where qualified installers fit the control boxes – the approximate cost is £250 per fan, depending on specification.

Any number of cooling fans can be equipped with this simple set-up. In addition, if the store is fitted with additional extraction fans to draw clean air into the building, the system can be further enhanced with Extraction Fan Assist.

This wirelessly detects when any of the grain ventilation fans kick in to trigger the main extraction unit into life. When they shut down as ambient air temperatures rise, the big fans in the roof stop too, avoiding electricity being used unnecessarily.

All Grain Fan Assist control boxes are fitted with a wireless transceiver to enable them to communicate with the Extraction Fan Assist system should it be purchased at a later date.

A variant of this system is the Multi Fan Hub – a wall-mounted control panel that will trigger up to eight individual three-phase fans into life automatically as probes in the grain detect a temperature differential suitable for cooling.

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