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The importance of temperature monitoring for grain silos and addressing status changes in Saudi Arabia

Green OR yellow, red or blue. That is the message Agromatic helps the operator direct his focus on to know what is happening in the massive grain silos. And why the change happened.

 

Employing temperature monitoring systems (TMS) in grain silos is implemented more and more around the green/ blue planet we live in. Now, Saudi Arabia Grain Organization (SAGO) and milling companies are updating the systems they have and being proactive in using the Swiss brand Agromatic partnered with the expert process automation company ASM PA. This post will focus on concrete and steel silos that guaranteed high quality safety control and automatic monitoring of their storage’s. As well as the status changes while working with the system and the TMS future in KSA.

Concrete silos:

In concrete silos the TMS used is GKD89BD. For installation of temperature measuring cables the three fastening screws in the suspension box must be taken out. The measuring cables are being let through the hole of the suspension box with the bottom end first, until the suspension head is fixed. Now the three screws should be back in their holding position. Cleaning the suspension box after connecting and closing the lid firmly is a guarantee for maintenance free operation. The clamps connect the TMS to the AAK to scanbox then ADT to control room. See sensor components below:

 

Grain5

 

See also the insertion of GKD89BD done in Tabuk:

 

Grain10

 

After that the AAK cable is connected, sometimes the sensor is the first sensor so it has one AAK cable connected to the TMS. As shown:

 

Grain9

 

Else it will be between two sensors or between a prior sensor and to the scanbox, so it will have two AAK cables as shown:

 

Grain8

 

A common problem we faced is the damage of the earthing as shown below:

 

Grain7

 

One solution is to connect the shield to one of the three fastening screws. Then the AAK cable is terminated to the scanbox:

 

Grain6

 

The engineer has to consider the address is correct, as well as to configure when the jumper is “ON” cold start. Moreover, the termination key has to be “ON” for the first scanbox, that is the farthest scanbox from the control room.

Steel silos:

SAGO also has steel silos that need monitoring, for those we use the TMS: AMT2L. Here there is a need to fasten the sensor head on the silo ceiling. The silo roof has to be strong enough to hold all the sensors. Usually the steel silos wider diameters than concrete silos and therefore require more sensors per bin. A flange plate of diameter 90mm is required for each TMS.

Inserting the temperature measuring cables:

The flange is properly secured and grounded. Then AMT2L will be introduced with the ferrule forward through the threaded sleeve. To obtain a sufficient tightness, it is recommended to wrap the adapter with tape. After connecting the connection box, the lid is cleaned and carefully tightened. The cable gland (M20x1.5) shall be fitted with a suitable cable gland for AAK and close to bolting. A lot of the time the glands are damaged when the installation is not proper. Having more than enough glands will solve the problem.
 

It is worth paying attention to have the cable gland positioning to be on weather-opposite side to avoid water entering. Consecutively cables should have a drip loop. Otherwise, if the water enters to the sensor it will damage it.
 

Grain11
 

See also the insertion of AMT2L done in Hail:
 

Grain4
 

After the sensors are installed, it is time to connect the AAK cable between the sensors to the scanbox. See below:
 

Grain3
 

In both types of silos the ADT cable is terminated in the control room to a scanbox called ASF2. It can accept one or two ADT cables depending on the number of scanboxes and how much sensors are connected. Another thing that is taken care of from design stage is the installation of AAK and ADT cable. The later transmits data and has to be under 1000 m long from scanbox to the next termination. Both kind of silos have this limitation. The longest run is from a scanbox to the control room where it is connected there to the monitoring unit. This limit is to assure the data is less vulnerable to electronic disturbances. The TMS cannot work in temperatures above 60°C.
 

The ASF2 requires power and its switch must be on. Then a simple connect of a USB cable to the computer will put the focus on the software to see the whole system:
 

Grain2

Silo Manager 2010:

The system has a software called Silo Manager 2010 (SM2010). That is user friendly and summarizes the monitoring in 5 main colors in the main window: Bins status-colors. The colors mean the following:
 

  • Green is for temperature present and everything is OK.
  • Yellow is for temperatures that are above 3 degrees Celsius than the limit.
  • Red is for temperatures that are above the limit (usually the limit is between 35 and 50°C)
  • Pink is an indication of a broken sensor or that has a clamps-connection problem.
  • And Blue tells that sensors are in this color zone because there is a communication problem (normally shutdown results of this restart condition).

 

Grain

 

Pink and blue need attention. Malfunctions caused by upcoming problems can easily be identified. Pink status should be fixed physically by pressing the clamps that connect the sensor to the signal cable (AAK cable).While blue status is solved by clicking Get All Bins. If they don’t turn green the system should be studied and search and research of possible fault sources.
 

The system saves up to 30 days of continuous temperature recording, the printing command saves all sensors and even the crucial temperatures for documentation and proper comparison of the temperature degrees around the seasons.

TMS future in Saudi Arabia:

The government and private sector both care to analyze the important aspect of hot climate and causes of sensor faults that happen in their food banks. The European technology and local training of the state of the art system aim to help the operator react to temperature changes of the grain and linking it to the right cause as well as solving problems. It is significant that the silo supervisor reads the temperature tables and know what is happening inside. The current style of the Saudi vision as well as SAGO vision to elevate the grains’ sector to handle bigger role in the food safety system. In order to reach sustainable economic and social development. This can only be reached with catching up with the advances in electrical and control standards and inventions coming from Agricultural scientists.The choice of a TMS should be made based on various provisions and ensure long lasting results over the years aimed at removing continuing interventions and costs. Furthermore, they should facilitate effective monitoring considering all structural arrangements and to conserve the benefits achieved. The system has been working for +40 years in some plants in Switzerland.
 
One can assure high nutrition value of grains by taking care of the temperature of the storage and how it changes. The temperature will affect the aflatoxin analyzers, starch damage, and odor control and the rest of lab equipment.The lab operators will target high temperatures and signs of bacterial growth in the grain. Controlling the grain is done by raising the quality control of stored products or products in the food process. It is the aim of technological marketleaders and pioneers to improve this control engineering. The achieved position is commitment for us to stay in the frontline as far as development, planning and application of new technologies are concerned.
 
SAGO does its part in sending its potential leaders to Switzerland and when they go on top of silos there they will examine the TMS and compare it to what they have and improve grain handling. Buhler and OCRIM; the entrepreneur Swiss giants that built the Saudi silos; trainSAGO technicians to grow their theoretical and practical competencies. In May 2017, Tabuk will have maintenance check and will use a new gadget called Agromatic Porta digital to work on measuring each AAK cable connection alone and on location. This will eliminate the need of going up and down to the control room and find the exact source of problems; If any.

Conclusion:

A proper realistic implementation of Agromatic system design, in combination with the installation of appropriate equipment and testing before powering form the basis in the creation of an upgraded reliable and long lasting infrastructure or the expansion of an existing system. During the normal operation of the plant, the stability of the system can change with time due to environmental conditions or accidents (e.g. power failures). These result in physical damage to TMS but can be traced and caught from the SM2010. The main worry is always having dirt, insects or water leaks inside TMS. Resulting in losing the temperature recording. In order to ensure the integrity of the TMS system, it is thus crucial to regularly improve quality of hygine environment on top of silos. And when getting yellow, red, pink or blue indicators to perform diagnostic activities using the correct tools by the skilled electrical technicians.
 

Credits:
Agromatic Switzerland, SAGO

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P.O.Box 51736,Al-Khalidiah Dist.,
Al-Ghaya st. - Villa no.6, Jeddah 21553
info@asm.net
Fax :
+966 12 690 2209
JEDDAH
+966 12 690 2144
KHOBAR
+966 13 895 0910
RIYADH
+966 11 491 1104
DUBAI
+971 45 149 230
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