The third prong in OPI-integris’ Advanced Grain Management solution is its Customer Care Program. All electronic or computer-controlled operation systems come with the inherent risk of failure, not to mention an initial learning curve for users. That’s why IntegrisPro customers have access to OPI-integris’ Customer Care Program for a nominal annual fee to help educate customers and assure the system is achieving positive results with maximum facility uptime. Tech support and remote support is also available for troubleshooting and fixing system problems, as well as site maintenance.
“We describe our Customer Care Program as a partnership,” says Crompton. “We take a long-term approach that starts on the front end with the IntegrisPro support that lasts through the sales cycle and on the tail end through the extended Customer Care Program. We go beyond the components themselves and assist with the functionality of the operation over the long term.”
The ongoing software updates include new developments of grain variety-specific EMC curves and control strategy improvements as they are incorporated into the system, which helps deliver return on investment over the long term.
Return on investment
There are two significant ways that the Advanced Grain Management solution’s aeration controls can provide ROI for commercial operations: energy savings and shrink control.
“We can save upwards of 80% on fan fan run-time,” says Crompton. “People tend to ‘air’ on the safe side with manual fan operation, so they typically run the fans more than needed, thus wasting electricity. When you run the fans too much, you get hit with a double whammy. You’re wasting electricity, but you’re also creating shrink.”
Shrink describes the devaluation of grain by removing excess moisture, thus reducing its weight and market price. The goal during storage is to achieve the right balance of moisture content to get maximum market value without any conditioning problems. Managing shrink is particularly valuable for grain elevators and commercial operations that handle higher volumes of grain because even a slight improvement can have significant financial rewards on that large a scale.
“It’s realistic to get a total return on investment on this technology in two years or less because we can achieve a 1% improvement in moisture control in one year. So if you’ve got a million bushels of grain, 1% improvement on corn at $7/bushel will reap $70,000 — about the cost of the IntegrisPro investment.”
Crompton adds that once the cost is recovered, the technology will continue to accrue benefits for another 10 or 20 years.
Controlling the temperature of stored grain leads to higher quality, less shrink, increased storability, grain deterioration prevention, reduced storage loss, and ultimately, higher profits. Although automated fan controls are not a novel concept, the heightened level of data capturing and utilization of information to help users make important management decisions is what sets OPI-integris apart. Improving its Advanced Grain Management solution will continue to be the company’s main objective and commitment to its customers.