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Grain dryer maintenance: three simple tips to manage it effectively




In the harvesting cereals phase there are many aspects to consider: in particular, it is necessary to have the right equipment and keep in mind some useful tips so that you can best preserve your cereals in the following months.

The maintenance of the grain dryer plays a very decisive role, to be carried out before, during and at the end of the use of the dryer. Maintenance is a decisive phase, because it ensures that the drying system works at its best even in future seasons.

Maintenance takes place before, after and during the drying season. However, the most important maintenance action is the one that takes place in the post-season, when the time comes to put the drying plant aside for next year. It must be clearly stated that any maintenance operation must be carried out with the machine switched off, stopped and with the power cable disconnected. Never touch moving parts!

But apart from that, how to best manage the maintenance of grain dryers? The Mecmar experts explain it to you in this article!


#1. Cleaning and lubrication: essential aspects for the performance of a dryer

When it comes to the maintenance of grain dryers, the first and fundamental aspect concerns the cleaning of the system. In fact, the accumulations of cereals remaining once the drying phase is completed could irreversibly damage the system.

In the first instance, it is important to keep the machine clean daily, without letting dirt accumulate inside the dryer. In fact, if the dirt remains in the dryer, the risk is to affect the fluidity of the mechanisms and to increase the energy required to dry. Furthermore, since the cereal is an organic product, over time it could transform itself generating oxides, which then attack the metal surfaces.

The use of water to wash the dryer is strongly discouraged, as the electrical and electronic components mounted on the dryer could be damaged.

Remember to clean:

  • Filters for diesel fuel
  • The cleaner net
  • The combustion chamber
  • The interior of the plenum chamber
  • The electrical panel and the burner

The second essential aspect is the lubrication of the mechanical components. In fact, during the maintenance phase, it is important to make sure that all the bearings of the dryer are adequately lubricated, while avoiding excessive oiling. In fact, excessive lubrication could damage the seals, causing premature failures to the system. Keep in mind that bearing lubrication mainly depends on the number of hours the dryer remains in operation.

Grain dryers have a robust mechanical structure, to work effectively even in harsh conditions. Good maintenance of the transmission components allows these characteristics to be maintained over a long time, as well as maintaining the value of the machine itself high, should it be resold to purchase a larger one. 

As for the maintenance of the bearings and the belt or chain transmission, the advice is to periodically keep the bearings greased and adjust all the belts and chain transmissions.

Before injecting lubricating grease into the grease nipples, the grease nipples must be carefully cleaned with a clean cloth. This prevents mud, dust or foreign bodies from mixing with the grease, reducing, if not canceling, the effect of lubrication or damaging the corresponding bearing.

When lubricating your machines, use quality oils and greases. In particular, the gearbox oil must be suitable for withstanding high temperatures. It is also a good idea to completely replace the oil every two years. Before any replacement, carefully clean the points to be lubricated with a rag, so that impurities do not enter the gear box.


#2. Make sure the electrical panel is in order and functioning properly


Before a new harvesting season reaches us, it is essential to check that the drying system is working perfectly and that all components are in order, especially after a long period of inactivity. Check that the cable lugs are secure at the connections and inspect the cables to make sure they are undamaged and not eaten by rodents. In this regard, we recommend protecting all electrical components before parking the car after the season: mice love copper and, if present, during the period of non-use they can seek shelter and sharpen their teeth with electric cables. causing critical issues in the future start-up phase of the system.

In the post-drying maintenance phase it is useful to proceed with a check on the operation of the entire electrical panel. It is essential to check that all electrical cables are tight and undamaged. Rely on specialized electricians to check the electrical system.


#3. Make sure the combustion chamber and burner are running smoothly

A correct maintenance action of the drying systems allows to minimize the presence of residues in the combustion chamber of the machinery. An incorrectly calibrated burner can give rise to accumulations of soot inside the combustion chamber.

The heating system should periodically be kept under control, as with gas or diesel burners good maintenance is essential for reliability, safety and efficiency.

The better the maintenance is, the better the combustion will be. The consequences of incorrect generator maintenance not only represent a danger, but also implies higher costs and inefficiency in drying. Furthermore, in direct fire dryers, lack of maintenance can also lead to contamination of the cereal.

Remember to periodically inspect the combustion chamber, clean it of any combustion products or dust deposits and carry out a correct calibration of the burner so that combustion is clean and optimal as regards fuel consumption.

Just before starting the dryer, check that the flame coming out of the burner is uniform. Otherwise, the success of the cereal drying process could fail.

It should be emphasized that, with gas or diesel burners, we recommend to rely on experts for assistance and maintenance of the equipment.

In conclusion

Carrying out grain dryers maintenance on a regular basis will ensure you have high drying performance for much longer periods of time. For this reason, in this short guide we have seen the three tips to keep in mind when it comes to the maintenance of a grain dryer.

First of all, the cleaning and lubrication of the system and the grains that are inserted inside it play a fundamental role, as does the verification that the electrical panel works perfectly, without the presence of insects or rodents. In addition, it is useful to perform a burner check to make sure that the system is able to dry the grain evenly.

Mecmar offers its many years of experience in the design of grain dryers – both mobile and tower – and roasters to direct each production company to the choice of the system that best suits its needs. Contact us: we will be happy to answer all your questions.

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