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Comprehensive Guide to Maintaining Your Grain Handling System


Your grain storage facilities do many things, and each of these tasks is carried out by a different component of the system. These jobs wouldn’t be possible without reliable equipment. Part of guaranteeing your grain handling system’s success is regular maintenance. Inspections and improvements can be the difference between a slow facility and an efficient one.

From cleaning grain bins to installing new equipment, there is always something you can do to take care of your facilities. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss how to manage your grain handling system every step of the way.

Why Is Grain Bin Maintenance Important?

Maintaining your grain handling system is essential to its longevity, quality and durability. Grain systems consist of many working parts, all of which come together to process your goods. If one element isn’t adequately maintained, it can affect other components, creating a domino effect of issues. By performing preventative grain bin maintenance, you avoid these problems and protect your bottom line.

Due to their steel structures, grain bins are durable, but they still experience problems like holes and weak foundations. Waiting too long to solve these complications could affect worker safety, grain quality and the integrity of the handling system. You may also encounter new concerns, like the need to store grain long-term or accommodate a more abundant harvest than usual. Prepare yourself ahead of time, so you know what to do when conditions in your facilities change.

8 Tips for Maintaining Your Grain Handling System

You can maintain or increase your profit with the right tools and plenty of knowledge at your disposal. Here are eight tips you can use for keeping your system in working order:

1. Clean Your Storage Bins

Always thoroughly clean your bins before loading them with new grain. Grain bin cleaning removes any old product that may be lingering inside, which can become feed for pests. Remember to do the same for any internal equipment, such as your augers and combines. These tools have crevices that can retain dust or grain and become hot spots for insects. Go through the area with a broom or vacuum, and remember to clean under the floors.

dust suppression hopper can reduce the amount of dust involved in loading and unloading grain, which means less for you to clean. Plus, there’s a lower risk of dust explosions or fires, making the work environment safer for all.

2. Patch Any Holes

Holes are entryways for mice and other critters to access your grain bins and set up shelter. In no time, they can multiply and ravage an entire grain stock, leaving you with ruined goods and no profit.

Maintain your grain bins by patching up these openings, so unwelcome visitors can’t enter. LCDM offers Patchworx, an instant repair patch that covers holes and seals up damaged spots in minutes. Apply it to the area in need of coverage, and it’ll harden in five minutes after UV-ray exposure. You aren’t limited to using it for grain bins, either — try it with your tools or elevator trunking.

3. Perform Pest Control

If you’ve experienced a history of infestations, it’s a good idea to fumigate and apply pesticides before loading your grains. Even if you haven’t had many pest problems, it’s best practice to perform pest control measures, so this doesn’t become a future issue. Fumigating is less effective if there are openings where the chemical can escape, though, which is why it’s essential to patch holes before this step.

Temperature control and aeration are significant aspects of pest management. Insects can’t live on grain with less than 10 percent moisture, but you want to avoid too much drying. Otherwise, the goods can shrink and break, which downgrades their quality.

4. Fix Damaged Equipment

A crucial part of grain handling maintenance is replacing any old or failing equipment. Without the proper tools, you’ll have a harder time carrying out daily operations. Make sure the fan is balanced and contains no debris or ice. Check the unloading system and inspect the devices used to process bulk materials, such as the slide gates. If there are seize-ups or leaks in these critical areas, you could lose a lot of product.

The same is true for flow valves, which control grain flow at discharge points. If these lack a tight seal, they can leak grain or facilitate contamination. LCDM’s flow valves prevent this leakage while providing maximum performance in a range of applications.

Additionally, electrical components like control boxes can become nesting spots. Small animals may then destroy the wiring by chewing on it. Check these areas for nests or damaged wires, and replace any broken equipment as necessary.

5. Maintain the Surrounding Environment

Be aware of the environment inside and outside your bins. Long grass around the storage container can attract rodents, which may enter through openings and feed on the grain. Create a clear perimeter around your bins to deter animals from hiding in this area.

The ground should have adequate grading that diverts water away from the bin, rather than letting it pool up. If this moisture accesses the product, it can cause mold growth or spoilage. You can hire a surveyor to check the grading around your facilities. They’ll recommend what actions to take if improvements are necessary.

6. Level the Grain

Keep your grain level instead of storing it in peaks. Peaks make it challenging to monitor the products accurately. You’ll end up running the fans more often to dry the grain, which costs more money. If you want to retain a tighter inventory of your goods, avoid storing them in peaks and include silo level sensors in your management strategy.

These sensors use various forms of technology to measure how much grain is in a particular bin, including:

  • Wireless technology
  • Radar
  • Lasers

With this precise inventory control, you don’t have to struggle with mechanical or manual methods.

7. Inspect the Grain

Though the handling system matters, grain quality is also key to taking care of your grain bins. Cracked kernels, fines and foreign objects facilitate problems like mold growth and stifled airflow. Ensure bin quality by removing these unwanted objects, loading only the best grain and using cushion boxes during processing. LCDM offers the patented DBAR adjustable cushion box, which decreases grain damage by more than 50 percent. Fewer broken grains means a higher profit margin and more market-ready goods.

8. Reinforce the Foundation

Your grain bin’s foundation keeps it sturdy, able to hold thousands of pounds without faltering. Protecting this base from structural damage is essential to managing the entire container. It also ensures that the grain has an even, impenetrable foundation to rest on without risk of contamination. Seal any cracks you find, and tighten the nuts and bolts. Look for signs of a shifted foundation, uneven settling or walls pulling away from the base.

Customize High-Quality Grain Handling Products With LCDM

Improve your grain bin maintenance techniques by upgrading your current equipment. LCDM can help you achieve customized, reliable grain handling solutions with our powerful Solidworks design software. When you have the best devices, you can trust your facilities will last a long time and bring in plenty of revenue — all while protecting your goods.

With our extensive knowledge of the material handling industry, LCDM provides efficient designs that fit your specifications every time. Contact us today to learn more about custom grain handling products that can solve your maintenance needs.

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