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New grain dryer control system simplifies harvest management

An automated control system being featured by Kentra Grain Systems at the CropTec event helped Shropshire grower Rob Timmis to more effectively manage his 35-tonne/hr Kentra continuous flow dryer this year.

The Dryer Master management system adjusts the dryer as the moisture content of incoming grain fluctuates through the day.

“However, experienced you are with a dryer, it’s a difficult thing to manage, especially when there’s so much else going on at harvest,” says Rob Timmis. “There’s always a temptation to keep fiddling, so hitting the optimum is really quite hard.
“And there’s always the inclination to err on the side of caution because there’s nothing worse than having to put grain through again when it’s half or 1% over the contract terms.”

The Dryer Master controller uses sophisticated temperature-compensating sensors to accurately measure crop moisture content pre- and post-drying.

‘Intelligent’ algorithm software automatically responds to any changes to incoming moisture levels or deviation from the set point target to regulate the time taken for grain to flow through the dryer.
Barry Higginbottom of Kentra Grain Systems says: “The aim is to consistently hit an average grain moisture target to avoid lost income through over-drying, and the risk of merchant deductions or additional drying costs resulting from under-drying.”
The system ‘learns’ the performance characteristics of a dryer during manual operation, before it is given control.

“Having seen how consistently it can hit the target moisture I’m confident enough to leave it in control when running the dryer overnight,” says Rob Timmis. “Besides, I can always keep an eye on things by remote access on my iPad.”
The remote feature also gives him the freedom to attend to things away from the store during the day, such as a machine breakdown in the field.

It provides the same key information as the Dryer Master display, which is either built into the existing dryer control cabinet or is available as a self-contained add-on for Kentra and other makes of dryer already in service.
Selected settings can be adjusted remotely, and the dryer can be stopped remotely too – with elevators and conveyors either shutting down shortly after or continuing to run if drying is to be resumed.

“We can keep the dryer working at maximum capacity by easing back the temperature when drier grain starts coming in,” adds Rob Timmis. “So apart from the added flexibility in the way I use my time, the Dryer Master enables me to consistently hit moisture targets, removes some element of anxiety at harvest and is getting better value out of our grain handling and storage system as a whole.”