Thursday 1st Oct, 2020

Optimum Grain Silos: blowing away the competition

Local engineering is helping Optimum Grain Silos and Augers build structures able to withstand a one-in-200-year storm event.

Local engineering is helping Optimum Grain Silos and Augers build structures able to withstand a one-in-200-year storm event.

Dorothea Mackellar’s 1904 poem My Country describes Australia as a land “of droughts and flooding rains”.

In this environment, and with extreme weather events becoming more common around the world and in Australia, the ability to withstand wild weather is becoming more important.

This is why agridealer Optimum Grain Silos provides its customers with the Cyclone silo. Manufactured from galvanised high-strength structural-grade steels, durability is at the forefront of their design.

Designed to safely store cereal grains such as wheat, oats or barley, the silos are able to withstand a one in 200-year storm event.

Related stories:

Joel Murphy, Director of Optimum Grain Silos and Augers, says this assurance is important for grain handlers and farmers that are investing into equipment that should last more than 30 years.

“Cyclone silos have a good reputation in the industry for being well designed and able to thrive in some of the worst of Australia’s conditions,” he says.

He adds that stringent Australian engineering and manufacturing helps provide peace of mind for customers looking to protect their long-term investments.

“Manufacturing in Australia means that anything we make has to live up to strict quality standards,” he says. “Because of this, when you buy Australian-made, you know you’re going to get quality.”

Optimum is a family-owned business, operating out of regional New South Wales. Originally founded in 1996, the company prides itself on its extensive experience in providing solutions for the grain industry.

Optimum constructs the foundations of the silos, which incorporate a 100-millimetre step inside the silo to prevent moisture entering grain. It is also able to include a spiral staircase designed to meet Australian standards and in-floor aeration, designed to meet the needs of the grower.

Cyclone silos use large wall sheets with fewer joins and bolts than other silos and have a wide corrugation profile, which reduces the risk of internal obstructions and hang-ups that can harbour insects. They comply with all relevant Australian Standards and are designed to be sealed to assist with fumigation processes.

Murphy says the products have proven popular with farmers looking to improve their storage for future harvests.

This was the case for Roly Dye, who installed two 1720-tonne grain silos for on-farm storage. The silos, measuring 14.5 metres in diameter, 11 metres in height and with a 30-degree angled roof, are on the larger side for on-farm storage, but help provide a system that can store the grain he planned to store.

Aeration was an important factor for Dye, as the biggest drawback to storing his grain was hygiene and insect control. The aeration included in the silos means the grain can be kept at a temperature where weevils couldn’t breed and helped to prevent moisture migration.

“I wanted to go with something that was more substantial that would last for a long time,” Dye says.

Optimum also manufacturers a range of heavy-duty unloading augers which incorporate heavy-duty sweep augers, designed and manufactured in Young, NSW. 

Available with a full electrical drive, power take-off/hydraulic drive or a full hydraulic drive, the augers are made from structural pipe with a wall thickness of 4.8 millimetres and 6.4 millimetres.

Many of the steel components are laser cut to ensure a precise fit when assembled, following the company’s in-house design which uses tabs and slots so that components fit in the correct position reliably.

They use a specialised walking advance system. This means the sweeps will advance into the grain without needing any assistance. Murphy says this offers safety benefits, as it is not necessary to enter the silo while the unloading auger or sweep are operating.

“In fact, we place a sign on the silo door that says the silo must not be entered whilst the unloading auger and sweep are operating,” he says.

Most of the drive arrangements are shaft mounted with a torque arm arrangement, helping to eliminate coupling and shaft alignment issues.

The hydraulic drives are supplied by hoses routed through a rectangular hollow section steel duct, enabling the hoses to be replaced should a problem occur. All intake and outlet areas also come with heavy sectional flight, fitted for long-term reliability.

“Our team prides itself on only working with the highest quality products that meet rigorous Australian Standards,” Murphy says.

“That’s why we work with Australian-made Cyclone Silos, made just down the road in Jindera, NSW.”