Years in Business: 24 years
Regions Served: Entire United States
Service Provided: Repairs 12-inch to 24-inch wide metal aeration pipes by restoring connecting bands, tubes and end caps to their original shape.
Weitl’s vice president Jesse Weitl explains the process starts by measuring the length of the aeration pipes that need servicing. Pipes longer than 12 foot are cut to fit the straightening machine.
Then, “We inspect the ends to see the extent of the damage and remove any un-repairable ends,” says Weitl. “Once the tube is prepped for our machine, we weld any holes and repair the tears, broken seams and weak spots.”
The process takes 5 to 45 minutes per tube, depending on how badly damaged it is. “It also depends on how many foot of aeration they need serviced or repaired,” says Weitl. “Some jobs take a mere 5 hours and others may take up to three weeks.”
Value Proposition: Repairing metal tubing as opposed to purchasing new pipes can reap huge savings. According to Weitl, tube repair can cost between half and one-third of the cost of new replacement pipes.
Aeration tube repair also helps extend the life of the equipment, allowing them to be used for up to 15 to 20 years, if maintained properly. Unlike plastic aeration tubes, metal pipes can be reused over and over.
“I’ve straightened out the same metal aeration pipe for 10 years and I’ve also fixed many tubes more than twice before they were taken out of service,” says Weitl.
Properly maintaining aeration tubes also results in better quality grain by preventing poor bin conditions that are conducive to spoilage.
“When you have damaged aeration pipe, you lose airflow,” says Weitl. “Even if the hole is patched with tarp, you won’t get accurate air distribution, which could lead to hot spots and grain deterioration.”
Maintenance Advice: Weitl says oftentimes damaged tube is the result of the cleanout process when using large equipment like payloaders or Bobcats. To maintain pipes for a longer period of time, Weitl advises operators be alert and aware of tubes’ placement at all times.
“Try to keep them marked the best you can, even in the off-season when they’re being stored outside.”
Weitl also stresses the importance of cleaning aeration tubes before storing them to prevent damage and extend their usefulness.
“My best advice for long-term maintenance is to make sure all the old grain is cleaned out because rotten leftover grain can rust through a pipe,” says Weitl. “Because of the galvanized coating, moisture and rain are not a threat, but rotten grain, mud and dirt can build up and break down that coating, so a clean concrete floor is the best place to keep them after they’ve been cleaned out to prevent rusting.”