Agribusiness & Food

Kotzur starts the harvest in full swing

Third generation Australian family business Kotzur has helped a central Queensland grower start the harvest early with a new storage complex, complete with a dedicated grain dryer, cleaning, and full automation.

Third generation Australian family business Kotzur has helped a central Queensland grower start the harvest early with a new storage complex, complete with a dedicated grain dryer, cleaning, and full automation.

Grain needs to meet certain criteria to sell for the highest possible price, and moisture content is a key factor.

Inclement weather around the harvest can make controlling for grain quality more complex. In addition, storing grain on a farm allows the grower to wait until the demand for grain increases.

This is why a major grower at Dooruna Downs, Queensland, reached out to Kotzur to build a new grain storage facility.

The facility has the capacity for 22,500 tonnes of total grain storage and a conveying capacity of up to 250 tonnes per hour, according to Fraser McIntyre, Kotzur’s rural salesperson for Queensland and northern New South Wales.

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“The grain storage is segregated across 14 gas sealed silos, and includes aeration, a dedicated grain drying system and grain cleaning system,” he told ABHR.

“It’s a fully automated system, controlled through a central programmable logic controller (PLC). It shows you the grain path and intake settings, so you can nominate which silos the load is to go to with a few clicks.”

Kotzur specialises in designing, manufacturing, and installing bulk solids storage and handling facilities for the agricultural, mining and manufacturing sectors. The company manufactured all of the conveying equipment for the project in Toowoomba, Queensland, and all of the silos at its facility in Walla Walla, NSW.

Easy-to-clean conveyors were specifically selected for the project to help reduce downtime and make it simpler to swap from one grain type to another.

The company worked closely with the end customer, who was on-site to help oversee the project. 

McIntyre said Kotzur prides itself on staying in close contact with its clients, so that all parties understand what is happening.

“It means that if any changes need to be made, we can be on top of that,” he said. “At times, you need to tweak little things, and jumping on that quickly can provide huge benefits for the client and our engineering team.”

While the company is used to working with regional businesses, this specific project was located more than 100 kilometres from the nearest small town, and at least three hours from the nearest major city.

McIntyre said the project required a lot of pre-procurement to ensure everything was delivered on time.

“COVID added some additional challenges when it came to the supply of materials, but we made sure we were ahead of the game,” he said.

“We found alternate suppliers for things like the structural steel so that we could ensure everything would be delivered on time. The order of the deliveries was also important, with items delivered to the site in the order they were needed.”

Providing support to regional organisations and communities is a core part of Kotzur’s mission. The family-owned business employs close to 200 people around Australia and performs as much as it can internally.

It also aims to source much of its materials from local providers to support Australian industry and to ensure its equipment is manufactured to the highest possible standard.

Because Kotzur equipment is built locally, the business adheres to relevant Australian standards. These include AS 3774-1996, which specifies loads on bulk solids containers; AS 2628-2010, which specifies sealing requirements for grain-storage silos; and AS/NZS 1170.2:2011 and AS 1170.4-2007, which specify procedures for determining structural designs to resist wind and seismic forces.

Designing silos that meet these standards provides additional levels of durability and safety, which are critical for the company’s customers.

McIntyre said one of the key things Kotzur learned from the project was how helpful it was to have a standard silo set-up.

“Having a standard facility configuration means we can incorporate room for growth down the line,” he said.

“Our plan going forwards is to provide routine inspection and servicing plans for the customer, which will likely change as it gets older and more grain flows through the system.

“We want to keep a personal touch on every project we do and will often call in after a while to see the site and to discuss any of the issues that might arise as the system ages.” 

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