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Elmworth, Alberta

Slanted Grain PumpSlanted Grain Pump

The grain handling facility that Skyway designed for Allen Sawchuk consists of:

  • Slanted 10” Lambton Grain Pump
  • 4 Sukup 50,00 bu. flat bottom bins
  • 7 Meridian 6,000 bu. Hopper bins
  • 2 Lambton Grain Legs

The Farm and Facility are managed by Allen’s brother Tony. Tony is the backbone of the day to day operations on the Sawchuk farm. The Sawchuk facility is located near Elmworth, Alberta, about 42 km West of Grande Prairie.

The Slanted Grain Pump was a key piece of equipment that made this operation function with minimum manpower. There are 2 reasons for this.

  1. the Grain Pump installed on a slant it cleans out better
  2. the slanted pump is superior to the vertical pump in this situation because of the control convenience

The first reason is that with the Grain Pump installed on a slant it cleans out better. In all Grain Pumps the drag chain paddles have a notch or gap on one side to facilitate travel around the sprocket. In a Grain Pump that is installed vertically with the top run and bottom run running down the center of the bin line this notch or gap in the paddle will be at the bottom of the tube while it travels down the top run, although we do install a rubber flap every 200’ to clean up or catch grain that gets through this gap, there could be a few kernels left to rattle around in the tube. In the case of the Sawchuk system design we have the grain pump installed on a slant with the top run running above the bins down the center for filling and the bottom run running alongside the exterior or side of the bins collecting the grain from U-Trough flat bottom bin unload augers. With the Grain Pump on a slant the notch in the paddles is now on the side of the tube as it travels down the top run so there is no chance for missing a kernel or two – it is essentially a round bottom drag conveyor.

Slanted Grain PumpSlanted Grain Pump

The second reason the slanted pump is superior to the vertical pump in this situation is the control convenience. The vertical pump goes through the bottom of the flat bottom bin through inlet wells with slide gates in the aeration floor allowing the grain to drop into the grain pump. The controls for the floor inlet wells are then on the exterior of the bin and in most cases these controls are manually operated, which means that the operator will have to walk down to the control to stop grain from flowing into the Grain Pump when moving grain from the storage to the truck loading driveway. We do offer electrically operated floor wells but in most cases the electric operated controls are too costly. Because you should not stop the grain pump full the operator with manual floor inlet controls will need to shut the flow off when the truck is almost full and allow the grain pump to empty its last contents into the truck or circle around back into the bin that it started from before shutting off the motors that drive the grain pump chain. With the slanted loop you will be filling the Grain Pump with the individual U-Trough auger unloads to the side of the flat bottom bins into the Grain Pump on the exterior of the bin, since you can stop and start this U-Trough Auger full you can situate your start and stop buttons for the U-Troughs near the truck driveway and then the operator can just push stop on the U-Trough when the truck is almost full and let the last contents empty into the truck – the operator does not have to walk out to the bins side to manually shut gates so he essentially has a system that would mimic having a vertical grain pump with electrically operated floor inlet wells.

Elmworth is located at 55°N Latitude about the same as Moscow, so the growing season is short that far north. Farmers can’t begin seeding until mid-May and in order to get the grain off the field before the snow flies, much of the grain is harvested before it is completely dry. The short season dictates that in most years 50% of the grain needs to be dried to be preserved and only 1 in 15 years is the Dryer not required at all. So the grain handling facility needed to be able to process huge amounts of grain within a very short time frame in order to keep up with the trucks transporting grain from the Combines. In addition to being able to handle and dry grain quickly, the facility had to be operable with a minimal amount of manpower. The Sawchuks generally have one person assigned to be at the storage during the day while harvesting to keep watch on the dryer and help unload trucks but do leave the drying operation unattended overnight as the dryer controls the handling equipment in front of it and behind it – the dryer starts and stops the conveyors and bucket elevators bringing and taking away grain from it plus the wet surge storage and dry surge storage in front and behind are large enough to allow the dryer to run all night without a man to watch over.

Slanted Grain Pump Grain DryerSlanted Grain Pump Grain Dryer

Grain arrives from the field and is unloaded into the grain pump and dumped into one of the 4 wet bins. If the grain requires drying, it travels out the bottom of the wet hopper bin through a heavy duty 12” auger to the 4000 BPH Lambton Wet leg which loads the dryer. At he discharge of the dryer is another 4000 BPH Lambton Leg that fills the two 6000 bushel dry surge hopper tanks. These two dry surge tanks are situated above the bottom run of the Grain Pump allowing for quick transfer of the dry grain through the Grain Pump up and around to one of four 50,000 bushel flat bottom long term storage bins. Further, the drive corners on the Grain Pump were originally sized so that we could add four additional 50,000 bushel flat bottom long term storage tanks to the west end of the system. This future expansion is planned for the summer of 2015. Once this expansion is completed Allen and Tony will have 430,000 bushels of total storage under the one Grain Pump and they will have the ability to dry every bushel if they need to.

The Dryer has a total holding capacity of 700 bushels and will remove 5% or moisture at a rate of about 700 bushel per hour. The handling equipment in front of and behind the dryer is sized for 4000 bushel per hour because the fastest rate at which the dryer can be filled or emptied is 3800 bushel per hour (that is the maximum speed of the top loading and unload augers inside the drying machine). A lot of customers will request handling in front of our behind their dryers to be the same as the rate per hour that the machine will dry grain removing 5% moisture – this is not a good idea. You have to keep in mind that you may be removing less than 5% moisture in some cases so your bushel per hour rate will be more plus in some cases you might be removing 10% moisture and you would be then running your dryer in batch mode – in that case and would want to fill and empty the dryer at the maximum speed. For example, with Sawchuk’s dryer, if they are removing 10% it may take as long as 2 hours to remove 10% in batch mode, when the drying is finished they will go through a 20 minute cooling cycle and then unload the dryer at full speed in about 11 minutes, if we had only sized the equipment in front of and behind the dryer to be 700 BPH then it would take an hour to unload (the dryer is loaded at the same time as it is unloaded) – in 11 minutes they are ready to start another batch which means they have increased their bushel per hour rate removing while 10% tremendously because of the 4000 bushel per hour handling equipment in front of and behind the dryer (with the 4000 BPH handling equipment in this example it would take 151 minutes and with 700 BPH handling equipment it would take 200 minutes total before starting another batch).