Cloud-Based Scheme Helps Keep Grain Silos Safe

July 24, 2014
A cloud-based solution helps large farms protect the contents of their grain storage bins from starting on fire,

Storage bins on large farms and grain-management facilities can hold grain worth as much as $250,000 to more than $4 million, depending on the container's size and contents. To help operations protect these large investments, the OEM TempuTech has long supplied bin temperature and hazard monitoring systems for users ranging from small farms with local bins to large elevator and dryer facilities.

The company's temperature monitoring technology sends farmers daily reports so they know whether it's necessary to reduce the grain temperature to avoid the hot spots caused by infestation and germination that can cause the product to catch on fire. The hazard monitoring systems pinpoint problems in grain conveyors such as belt misalignment and slippage, speed variation, and overheated bearings.

TempuTech recently teamed with GE Intelligent Platforms, which integrated the monitoring systems with GE's Equipment Insight Solution, an Industrial Ethernet-based package comprising special GE software and PACs. TempuTech deploys the GE system at grain facilities, where it captures temperature and hazard data and activates alarms in response to specific incidents and conditions, letting the company more efficiently dispatch the nearest technician to the farmer with the right parts and tools in-hand.

 As a pilot project, TempuTech installed Equipment Insight to securely capture data via a secure cloud-based environment from the hazard monitoring system at the Riceland Foods Dryer Facility in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Riceland is the world’s largest miller and marketer of rice.

 The installation lets personnel view, monitor, and control grain transfer operations across the facility from mobile devices or browsers. In addition to the local HMI hardwired screens, the virtual monitoring is provided via a dedicated, secure cloud-based environment, combining the redundancy and security of a physical connection with the convenience of the cloud.

The installation has helped Riceland reduce unplanned downtime and improve its decision-making effectiveness. In fact, the success of the project has TempuTech planning to install a temperature monitoring system at the Riceland facility that will remotely monitor the plant’s 5,000 temperature sensors.