Investment in grain drying improves efficiency for leading animal nutrition business

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East Coast Viners, the animal nutrition and grain business, has become the first company in Scotland to operate a fully automated Tornum grain dryer.

The family-run feed milling business which operates from Stonehaven, grows and dries its own grain, as well as sourcing some grain from local farms, producing a comprehensive range of compound and blended feeds.

The company has recently purchased a brand-new Tornum TK8-20 grain dryer, developed by Swedish company Tornum. The continual flow dryer is a first in Scotland and comes with a fully automated, Intelligent Dryer Control system, which helps reduce energy consumption and labour costs in grain handling, improves consistency for safe storage.

East Coast Viners have also invested in new elevators and conveyors from fellow Swedish manufacturing company Skandia Elevator, who work in tandem with the Tornum Group.

Operations Director, Ryan Daly, explained why they selected the new model: “We had been looking to upgrade our own dryer for some time and had been exploring various manufacturers, but Charles and James White at Tornum gave us confidence that their solution best fitted our needs, they understood our requirement for primarily utilising our renewable heat source and providing a bespoke solution to ensure its effectiveness.

“The grain will be dried using mainly biomass heat topped up slightly using modulating burners where temperatures aren’t high enough. This will save on costs and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, which falls into line with changes we are making elsewhere in the business, having invested in wind turbines, electric forklifts and soon to be exploring solar power,” he continued.

“Due to general wear and tear, our last dryer was producing a maximum 30/t of product per hour, but this new model can dry grain in excess of 100/t per hour at full heat and should dry an excess of 30,000/t of product annually and has the capacity to do more.

“One of the major selling points of this new dryer is that it is fully automated via Intelligent Dryer Control, which gives us the ability to programme exactly what we want it to do. Allowing us to set the moisture and drying levelsneeded for individual loads,” said Mr Daly. “Our previous dryer was manual, so this new automated system gives us a whole new level of control and usability.”

Charles White, Director, Tornum

Charles White of Tornum Ltd, the UK division of the Tornum Group explained the benefits the Intelligent Dryer Control system can offer to the drying operation.

“East Coast Viners came to us looking for a model which could utilise their biomass radiators, reduce over drying and subsequent input costs, all with the aim of lowering their carbon footprint.

“The automated system aims to reduce over drying of the grain and can record the moisture levels, spot any fluctuations, and aims to equalise them ready for the long term storage. The target moisture level is ideally 14% but if this is to drop to 13% or 12%, there will be additional costs of 30% and 50% respectively, due to weight loss and increased energy consumption. The Intelligent Dryer Control System will keep costs down and produce a more consistent and efficient end product.”

Another unique feature of the new dryer is that is comes with 10 front mounted Clean Air Control (CAC) fans which aim to remove as much dust and chaff from the dryer and stop it going into atmosphere. Dust collection isn’t a common feature in standard dryers, whereas the TK8-20 Tornum dryer complete with CAC fans can remove up to 95% of the grain dust and chaff generated and allows for good air flow to maximise the radiators.

East Coast Viners is the only feed mill in Scotland to grow, dry and feed their own grain, as well as working with many local farms who contribute greatly in providing high quality locally sourced grain

Grain dried in the Tornum dryer

The dryer will be used to mainly dry barley, malting barley, wheat and rape, but can also dry oats, peas and beans.

“We are always looking to improve consistency in our product, which involves striking a balance between not over drying or under drying our grain, as the former means you are losing weight and the latter will impact your ability to store it correctly and could risk it spoiling,” said Mr Daly.

“Although we grow and dry malting barley, our core drying operation is to assist us with our nutrition business and ensure customers are getting high quality, locally grown and cost-effective products.

“Purchasing the new dryer has been a big investment for the company but we believe it was a really good step in future proofing the business and giving us more scope to do what we are doing in a shorter period of time, more efficiently and has the potential to really increase our drying capacity.

“We have only had the dryer in action for a matter of days and look forward to seeing how it will allow us to grow the grain business and enable us to share these benefits with our customers,” he concluded.

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