Grain bins and grain handling equipment are one of the main causes of on-farm accidents.
One of the places where farmers or employees can get injured is inside of the grain bin.
Thinking back to my time on the family farm, the first job I was able to do on my own was unloading bins into the grain truck. While we had augers and a bin-sweep, when the bin got to be 1/3 full it was time to jump in with the broom and shovel.
While nothing happened, looking back I can easily see how I could have gotten hurt in a number of ways whether it be the auger, getting stuck in the grain, or even the inhaling of grain dust and particles. GSI’s new Z-Series Grain Bins eliminate the need for you or anyone else to step inside the bin. As you can see in the picture, it’s not a hopper bin, so like most other flat-bottom bins it requires complete cleaning before switching between products.
If you don’t have to step inside, you might ask, “How is it going to get emptied?”
That’s where the new features come into play. Using inflating bags inside of the bin, the Z-Series is a self-emptying grain bin that can go from completely full to completely empty without you having to step inside. This system is called the Zero-Entry Unload System with Flexwave Technology.
To start the unloading process, you begin like any other bin, by opening the door and setting up your auger.
As the grain begins to unload and the auger pulls the product towards itself, often times the grain doesn’t unload level, and this creates the need for someone to get in and shovel, or for an auger extension (which still requires some shovelling).
With the press of a button, an air system begins inflating a large bag on one side of the bin. As the bag inflates with air, it pushes the grain from that side into the middle and towards the auger. The bag can inflate to a radius of 120 degrees, and this means that it can completely expand beyond its half of the bin and ensures that every grain from that side is pushed towards the auger. After one side is finished emptying, the process repeats on the opposite side of the bin.
The system can be monitored with cameras to allow operators to see the unloading. The bags inflate with a gentle air pressure so the grain isn’t being shoved or forced resulting in auger jams or seed damage.
For producers using aeration, the system is built ready for aeration and can be set up with large black tubes that feed the air into the grain and allow the air to flow just like classic aeration systems.