Corn, rice, soya and sunflower are just a few examples of crops that occupy a large part of the agricultural area in Italy and Europe in the summer season. In the specific case of corn, the area devoted to this crop exceeds 900,000 hectares, with production volumes approaching 10 million tonnes per year.
In order to ensure that this crop is correctly stored – avoiding spoilage and preventing mould, toxins and fermentation – it is necessary that corn is dried using hot air and artificial ventilation. This is because the moisture retained by the grain at harvest time is excessive and attempting to reduce its level through ‘natural’ drying runs the risk of being counterproductive.
With this in mind, Mecmar has come up with solutions to counter this danger: mobile and tower systems for drying corn with hot air. Curious to find out how they work? Continue reading the article to find out more.
Drying corn with hot air: a process that guarantees quality products
At the heart of how Mecmar dryers work is the combination of two factors: ventilation and heat. In the specific case of corn drying with hot air, this flow can remove up to 5% moisture in just one hour of treatment. The hot air blowing through the plant separates the kernels from excess water, evenly, avoiding injuries and breakages that could compromise their yield when you decide to sell them.
In addition, inside the Mecmar installations for drying corn by means of hot air, it is also possible to carry out a cleaning action of the corn before proceeding with the actual drying process. In this way, you will free the grain from foreign bodies (dust, dirt…) for truly effective mycotoxin decontamination.
Drying cereals with heated air at high or low temperature?
Drying with forced air heated at a low temperature (typically between 40 and 60°C) allows a gentler and slower process, which is ideal for maintaining high germinability of the grains and essential for delicate grains such as rice. On the other hand, the drying process can be rather long.
High-temperature air drying is carried out for grains typically intended for animal or human consumption. The speed and efficiency of the process are crucial when processing large quantities of grain and, in this case, it is important to sterilise the seed, preventing future germination.
Mecmar dryers are designed to operate at different temperatures. The installation of a grain and air temperature control system ensures that the process parameters are always under control. In the event of a drift in one of the process temperatures, the spot reacts by returning to a safe condition.
Why should cereals be dried at a low temperature? This might make it seem as if this process is ‘slowed down’ for no reason, but this is actually not the case. In fact, inside the plant, the corn encounters an exact and controlled amount of heat: the right balance to ensure that excess moisture escapes from the grain and the grain is stored safely. The corn then reaches a moisture level of around 13-14%: the correct range that allows you to enhance the value of your harvest.
Going into more detail, how do Mecmar dryers work and what configurations are available?
- Tractor-driven dryer. The dryer is driven by a tractor and the electrical system is powered by a generator inside the heat generator. Once the corn in the machine reaches the desired moisture level, the burner stops automatically, leaving room for the cooling phase and, subsequently, the discharge phase.
- Dryer with an electric motor located on the outside of the dryer. In this case, the electric motor functions as a feeder (as an alternative to the tractor in the previous case). The system is equipped with a timer that allows the electric motor to be switched off once the cooling phase is complete.
- Dryer with dual drive function. According to this option, the dryer can work powered by electricity (just like the point seen above) and, failing that, by a PTO tractor. The feeding mode of the machine can be changed simply by adjusting the control panel with which the machine is equipped. On request, the latter can also be equipped with a touch screen panel.
Dryers for excellent food safety: Mecmar’s mission
Are you still looking for a solution that allows you to better preserve your cereals while preventing toxin risks and value reduction? Mecmar has thought of you. In these articles, our team tells you about the importance of having facilities for drying and storing cereals capable of maintaining their quality:
- Cereal grain drying and storage: how minimize losses
- Optimal grain storage? Find out how with Mecmar dryers
- Increase your profits with grain dryer efficiency: discover how
For long-term storage of your grain contact the Mecmar team. For more than 60 years we have been designing and manufacturing dryers that last for years and require little maintenance to keep them running at peak performance. Do you have further questions about the operation of our hot air corn dryers? We are at your disposal to answer questions and queries.