CHALLENGE DUST, 580 TON PER HOUR FILL RATE
This ethanol plant faced three different types of challenges – dust, accuracy, and reliability. There were extreme amounts of dust - especially during fill rates - of up to 580 tons per hour, making it extremely difficult to track the filling and emptying processes. They had been using guided wave radar – a single-point measurement technology – in a very large bin of uneven topography. Using just a single measurement was not providing an adequate level of accuracy, as the level of the material varied significantly in different areas of the bin. Also, the sensing cables on the guided wave radar were breaking, making taking measurements impossible and causing operations to shut down until the cable could be recovered from the material contents and then replaced.
The MV model of the 3DLevelScanner was mounted on a 150’ tall, 75’ diameter, concrete silo containing whole corn. The silo offsets fill, with multiple discharge sites in a very dusty and noisy application. Using the advanced parameters of the 3D Level Manager software, the device was optimized to track during a rapid and extremely dusty filling cycle. With multiple discharge sites and empty rates of up to 150 tons per hour, the 3DLevelScanner was able to provide a far more accurate volume than the previously installed, single-point guided wave radar device. After the success of the first unit, the customer purchased three additional units for its other large silos.
The 3DLevelScanner was able to meet the challenge of a dusty environment and was optimized to track during the filling and emptying processes. The low-frequency, acoustic waves are able to penetrate the dust generated during fill, unlike radar which works at a higher frequency. Using the MV model which takes multiple measurements within a 70° beam angle the inventory accuracy was improved significantly, enabling the plant to optimize its filling and emptying schedules and railcar traffic. The non-contact device eliminated the risk of breaking cables, preventing work stoppages while providing plant personnel inventory measurement data when it was needed.
Bin: Concrete silo with flat top and bottom
Size: 15-‘ tall x 75’ diameter
Class: Class 2, Div 1 inside and outside the silo
HUGE CORN SILOS ARE TOO MUCH FOR A SINGLE-POINT MEASURE
Corn is delivered by trucks or rail to the plant where it is analyzed, unloaded, and pre-cleaned prior to conveying into large storage silos generally designed to supply the plant for seven to ten days. The large size of the silos makes it problematic for conventional single-point instrumentation to accurately measure the volume of stored material. Plus, corn storage silos may have multiple fills or discharge points creating uneven topography, which could deem a single measurement point unreliable. It is essential to know the silo contents in order to closely monitor inventory levels, replenish optimally, and ensure an ongoing production process. The BinMaster 3DLevelScanner system for large silos overcomes this problem. Accurately measuring the amount of grain in the silos in real-time is important, giving plant managers an understanding of how much grain was used in the manufacturing of ethanol, allowing them to better calculate the cost of goods sold and the profitability of the plant.
DRIED DISTILLER GRAINS
Wet distiller’s grains are often sent through a drying system to remove moisture and extend shelf life. The resulting DDGS (dried distillers grain with solubles) is commonly used as a high-protein ingredient in cattle, swine, poultry, and fish diets. DDGS is removed from the production process by conveyor to an adjacent dedicated DDGS storage silo or warehouse. The DDGS is stored in huge silos, warehouses, or open bins. The material (containing about 10% fat and corn oil) is sticky and can settle irregularly in the silo. The uneven topography presents a real problem for end users trying to assess inventory levels. BinMaster’s 3DLevelScanner system solves this problem by measuring multiple points and providing a very accurate volume reading and optional visual profile of the material in the silo, warehouse, or open bin