Four years ago, Calgary, AB-based OPIsystems Inc. launched OPI-integris to introduce the U.S. market to a novel grain management approach that has been widely adopted throughout the world for more than 25 years. The company’s mantra is “be proactive, not reactive” with respect to grain conditioning.
Utilizing a myriad of grain temperature and moisture monitoring components, OPI-integris claims to deliver the highest return on grain investments with its Advanced Grain Management solution, called IntegrisPro.
The three-part system consists of:
- Sensing inputs of temperature cables, moisture cables, and insect detectors, as well as headspace, plenum, outside relative humidity and temperature sensors, with data constantly read, then related back to the controller.
- Integration with automated fan, heater and other conditioning equipment controls.
- Customer Care Program, which provides ongoing software updates and help desk access with options for extended warranty and annual site maintenance.
Since its U.S. debut, the system has been successful in on-farm moisture control applications, and in smaller commercial operations with in-bin drying systems. But can the three prongs work together to provide return on investment for large commercial grain handlers and grain elevators?
“It can be applied to any type of bulk storage, but there is a caveat,” explains OPI-integris CEO Dave Crompton. “There are different levels of control that can be achieved based on your storage parameter. In commercial storage, the tanks are very large with grain depths that can exceed 100 feet. In that case, it’s impossible to push enough air through the grain mass to significantly change moisture content, so all you can do is control the temperature so as to maintain moisture content and grain quality.”
In grain handling terms, aeration is the practice of controlling the temperature of stored commodity. Ideally conditioned grain is achieved when the grain mass reaches its commodity-specific target temperature with the least amount of variance within the bin. Wide temperature variance can result in moisture migration, leading to condensation and development of localized high-moisture zones and potential grain spoilage.
Effective aeration requires a host of equipment and devices, such as aeration ducts, fans, roof vents, temperature cables and fan controllers. Many options are available in the marketplace, so selecting the right equipment can be a challenge without guidance. Crompton says OPI-integris’ Customer Care Program and its unique software allow it to help customers select appropriately sized aeration equipment.
“IntegrisPro helps to get the best benefits from the aeration equipment, and with Integris ProModel, we can help to identify the type and size of equipment required to achieve the target objective,” says Crompton.
IntegrisPro works using Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) to capture data and output fan and roof ventilation controls using wired and/or wireless communication back to an IntegrisPro software-configured PC. Integris ProModel’s ability to read, understand and use the data is crucial to its ability to effectively manage the aeration controls.
“Components are important, but if you don’t have the right knowledge or control algorithms and integration of a modeling program to help achieve the target objective, the components likely will not be able to do their job,” explains Crompton. “With Integris ProModel, we can analyze your specific conditions and make complex calculations to decide when and how long to run all the conditioning equipment, so as to achieve the targets in the most cost- and time-effective manner.”