OPICO's Programming and Messaging System Improves Dryer Efficiency

OPICO has introduced a series of new programming options for its automatic batch dryers which will give operators greater control and flexibility, and allow more efficient drying and higher grain throughputs. In addition, for automatic, electric and PTO-driven dryers, a new SMS text messaging system – which can be retro-fitted -  alerts operators when drying is nearing completion or the dryer needs attention.

All new automated OPICO grain dryers now come fitted with a touchscreen control panel built to withstand heavy duty use, together with a new menu-driven control programme which gives the operator several new options to speed throughput.

OPICO’s Angus Steven explains: “In the past, the times allowed for the loading and discharging of grain were set by the factory. The new programming system gives the operator the flexibility to adjust the times, according to the particular farm set-up and/or the moisture content of the crop. For instance, where wet crops are slowing intakes, the ability to increase the loading time prevents the dryer from shutting down.”

Another new feature is a third sensor within the dryer: this triggers pre-heating as soon as the wet grain covers the plenum chamber but before loading finishes. “In trials with a 20t dryer on a typical two hour programme, it reduced overall drying time by around 10 minutes per batch,” says Mr Steven.

“Very wet crops will have considerable shrinkage in the first half hour of drying. The dryer can now be programmed to top up with more grain every 10 minutes for the first 30 minutes of the cycle. This slows down the drying cycle to some extent, but in a 20t batch dryer it will allow an extra one or two tonnes of grain to be dried, thereby increasing grain throughput. It’s an option that can be switched on or off by the operator.”

For OPICO’s automatic, electric and PTO-driven grain dryers, a new SMS text messaging system is now available. It sends a message from the dryer to several mobile phone numbers to forewarn when the drying cycle is nearing completion, or in the event of any electrical or burner faults. For this service, the dryer needs to be sited where there is good mobile signal coverage, and operates using a pay-as-you-go SIM card.

For automatic dryers, texts can be sent to three mobile numbers – these can be set by the operator using the touchscreen panel. A text message is sent when the dryer has finished the cooling phase.

For electric and PTO-driven dryers, a control unit is installed and up to five mobile phone numbers can receive messages. To allow more time for operators to return to the dryer, a text message is sent as soon as the burner switches off, ie at the start of the cooling phase. Retro-fitting of this service is also available.

These new modifications which improve dryer throughput efficiency are included without extra cost on all new automatic grain dryers. The SMS text messaging service is available on all new dryers and can be retro-fitted on electric and PTO-driven dryers.

For more information contact OPICO on 01778 421111