It Gets Cold In Kansas in the Winter (Agriculture)
Nutrena Feed, a division of Cargill Inc. in McPherson, Kansas, is a manufacturer of feed products for the cattle and agricultural markets. Their operation involves the blending of various grains from storage bins in the mill.
As described by Cargill maintenance head Mike McClain, the storage bins each have a door that is opened and closed by an air cylinder. During normal temperatures, there’s usually no problem. But on cold Kansas winter days, the air cylinders and lines freeze up, which prevents the chutes from opening.
That’s when Mike had to send someone out to climb, locate, and bang on the closed valve until it opened. At first, Nutrena tried light bulbs to heat the valves, but the bulbs were either located too far away to be effective or so close that the lines melted.
Next, they asked Dave Despard, a sales application engineer from Rubber Supply, to look at the problem. Dave utilized some unique networking to find a solution. Rubber Supply is a division of the Murdock Companies in Wichita, which also operates Twin Power, a Beach Filter distributor. Twin Power had recently installed a Beach F-T20C filter in a feed mill with the same problem. That installation eliminated the freezing problem on their pneumatic valves and lines.
The Nutrena Feed facility was a larger application (more valves and air flow) and also had a problem with oil in the lines from the compressor. So, a Beach F-600AW with standard Cylform® in the lower element and Silica gel in the upper element was recommended and installed. To remove oil from the system, a coalescing filter was placed on line ahead of the Beach Filter.
The freezing problem disappeared. Dave has been following the operations of the valves since the installation, and no problems have been reported. Best of all, Beach Filters has saved Cargill as much as $2,000 a month in downtime from December through March. As Mike McLain from Cargill noted, “The elimination of costly downtime was apparent almost immediately, and no one has had to climb up the grain bins in the dead of winter. “