When planning a grain-handling project, the process is all about the questions. How can grain breakage be minimized? How can spillage be avoided? How can product be switched without excessive facility cleaning? How can the desired throughput be achieved without costing an arm and a leg?
Asking the right questions is key to securing the ideal handling system. That’s why Dome Technology’s team utilizes scope questionnaires covering everything from mechanical systems and property issues to reclaim. These questionnaires are part of front-end engineering that helps identify the ideal handling system, one that will get more bang for the buck now and in the long run. Companies can use these questions to get the planning process started:
WHAT ARE OUR THROUGHPUT GOALS?
In discussions with engineers, companies should identify the desired type of throughput, whether the product will be stored long term or processed quickly, what type of transportation will move grain to customers, and more. If a dome is selected, those topics will be addressed during the preliminary phase to ensure the facility is optimal for the customer.
Different reclaim systems will be discussed early on, and multiple options are available. Desired throughput rate will inform the handling system and its size, but the type of equipment selected might largely be determined by cost. Grain is most commonly reclaimed via clean-sweep screw or auger that pulls material into a hopper. But some types of reclaim can’t move 100,000 bushels an hour out of a dome — that’s best achieved by a front-end loader or a Vibrafloor. However, the cost difference between those two options is substantial — the former might cost $150,000 to $250,000 versus $1 million for the latter. Since grain is a tight-margin industry, the more product a company pushes through, the more money they make, and many seek the least expensive system that can move the most volume.
With throughput shaping the entire process, engineers can identify the costs of various types of systems, and based on the speed and volume of reclaim, customers can choose the best system to meet their needs.