Up until recently the Balbirnie Estate, located near Glenrothers in Scotland, used a small portable drier to take care of their grain drying needs, which was becoming more and more insufficient. As a replacement Balbirnie’s owner, Robert Balfor, and the estate manager, David Algen, decided to install a continuous mixed flow drier. Abdie Solutions were appointed to be the consultant on the install & K M Duncan were appointed to install the drier & handling equipment. The drier and handling equipment were manufactured and supplied by Perry of Oakley Ltd.
Due to the large amount of timber within the estate, Balbirnie wanted to use their own woodchip as a heat source for drying their grain.
The drier selected was a Perry model M612 drier, which is capable of achieving up to 50tph throughput when running at 125° and drying to 14% moisture content. Perry worked directly with the Biomass boiler supplier, to ensure that their interface & burner were fully compatible with the Perry drier & control panel. The PLC Drier panel fully controls the Biomass boiler and the normal functions of the grain drier. The panel provides data logging of all the drier performance and has the ability to be remote connected to by Perry staff at their factory in Devon using an internet connection so that the drier performance can be monitored and even adjusted if necessary. One feature that David Algen has made particular use of is the Automatic mode on the drier control so he has been able to leave the drier unattended when operating.
In order for the drier to be compatible with a Biomass heat source extra considerations had to be made. Firstly, due to the design of the burner the heat source is an air to air, indirect fired burner/drier, with a maximum temperature of 100°, so the drier is not running at its full capacity. Secondly, if the drier shuts down the heat source cannot be shut off immediately, as it can be in a standard drier, so the drier has two hot air bypass valves incorporated into the design so the addition heat can be vented from the drier if necessary. To lower the height of the drier Perry’s have incorporated an integral discharge conveyor into the drier. To minimise heat loss the furnace and hot air plenum of the drier was supplied insulated by Perry.
The installation included a range of grain handling equipment, which is a mix of 60tph and 100tph equipment, including; Chain & flight conveyors, screw conveyors, U trough screw conveyors, belt & bucket elevators, roller trough belt conveyors, a rotary screen cleaner & 2 aspirator cleaners, 1 located before & 1 located after the drier.
Balbirnie plan to have their timber chipped once a year into 30/G50 woodchip, after drying the timber for 12 to 18 months, and then storing the chip in an adjacent building. They predict a saving of £50,000 each year on fuel costs alone, and after testing & re-running this year’s crop harvest through the new system they have had no issues reported other than the standard teething issues found with any new install.
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