Just ahead of the 2017 Farm Progress Show, GSI debuted the prototype for a new system designed to make grain bottom cleanout a simple task. The Flexwave technology was a big draw for the company’s exhibit — in Decatur, Ill., and even in Hanover, Germany, during Agritechnica. Yet the system was not in a commercial product.
That changed for the 2018 Farm Progress Show, when GSI announced the new Z-Series bins with Flexwave Technology. The challenge many farmers faced with the inflatable cleanout system was how the company would handle aeration. Through testing last fall and into this spring, the company solved the issue, and the solution is incorporated into the Z-Series bins.
This is a first-of-its-kind grain system that reduces labor for grain handling. The Z-Series bins use two large liners made of a durable fabric that alternately inflate and deflate, gently pushing the remaining grain into a central reclaim for removal. Jonathan Waits, GSI product manager for storage and accessories, explained that the system provides 99.9% cleanout, without the need to enter the bin. “The inflation-deflation process automatically turns off when the bin is emptied,” he added.
The active display at the show gave visitors the opportunity to see how the inflatable system works.
Each liner can unload more than 100 tons of grain at a time using less than 1 psi of air pressure. The key, Waits explained, is that the liners aren’t lifting the grain; instead, they’re “rolling” the grain toward the center, which takes much less pressure.
Longevity and capacity
He added that the liner material is durable and designed to last for 30 years, under normal conditions. And in case of an accidental puncture, repairs are as easy as applying a simple glue patch.
The 24-foot diameter Z-Series Bin has a storage capacity ranging from 5,000 to 25,000 bushels, depending on height. Waits added that the Z-Series design has a higher capacity and is a “more cost-effective alternative for similar-sized hopper tanks with cone bottoms. A flat-bottom storage tank that sits on the ground not only holds more grain, but eliminates the need to install legs.”
As for aeration, air is distributed through the central reclaim using flexible tubes that move with the liners. Watching the tubes during the demonstration, it was clear they don’t impede the liner’s activity, yet still can bring air into the grain pile.
For 2019, GSI expects to expand its Z-Series bins with Flexwave Technology with larger capacity sizes. Waits noted that it’ll be some time before Flexwave is available as an aftermarket retrofit to older bins, but research continues for that market, too.
Learn more about the system and the new bins at grainsystems.com.