Axial-fan grain dryers get the job done. They help pull moisture off your grain pretty efficiently, but at a cost. They tend to be loud.
Grain Systems Inc., knew their dryer - which saw some significant upgrades in 2016, could use another upgrade. Engineers wanted to have a quieter experience. Jarod Wendt, GSI grain conditioning engineering manager, talked with Farm Industry News about how the company went about solving the problem that resulted in the introduction of the all-heat Quiet Dryer.
"We looked at the fan design in our tower dryers," he said. Essentially engineers came up with a design that turned that tower dryer blower on its side.
The commercial strength blower has fewer blades, a less open design and heavier duty construction. The result is less noise and a softer, more pleasing sound. To give you an idea of how quiet the dryer is, GSI was running it on the show floor at the National Farm Machinery Show, and you could carry on a conversation next to the machine - raising your voice only a little.
Wendt noted that the idea was to reduce noise from the dryer but "not step back from being a leader in grain dryers." The grain dryer still has the GSI Starfire burner, and other tech that has become popular for these machines. The big change is the new blower.
"We're able to maintain capacity, and grain quality, while reducing the noise level," he said.
For this dryer style vane axial or centrifugal fans are used. The former can be pretty loud as GSI knows, and while centrifugal fans can be quieter, they require more power to move the same amount of air, Wendt said. He noted that this new blower design will rotate at 1,200 rpm and use the same power as a vane axial fan, far below the power requirements of a centrifugal fan.
Of course you can cut noise by adding noise suppression systems, usually covers and other approaches that sometimes farmers find objectionable. The GSI approach, of dealing with the problem at the source, offers advantages. It is a patent-pending design.
Wendt noted tests on the system were conducted in 2015 and 2016 on farms from the southern U.S. to Canada. The aim was to validate performance across a wide geography. For farmers in areas closer to town, running a little quieter during harvest couldn't be a bad thing.
The new system is available on 12-foot through 26-foot single-header, single-module versions of the dryer. Learn more at the company's Quiet Dryer page.
In talking with Wendt, who was involved with the design and engineering of the new product, it was clear he was excited about the result of the work he and his team had done. Listening to the blower run during the show, on a busy show floor, offers solid evidence that this is a quiet machine.
Wendt added that taking decibel measurements can be problematic for grain dryers because of other issues like other equipment at work during harvest. He added that vane axial fans usually run at about 92dB, and he said he had seen readings on the Quiet Dryer at about 72dB - a significant drop. However, he was also clear that this wasn't official, and the company wasn't releasing specific number for promotion. Interesting info, however, for FIN readers.