Validation and Design Optimization of a Reclaimer Screw System

Grain, stock feed, and other materials have long been stored in silos. During filling, storage, or use, however, these materials might not be evenly distributed, creating side and vertical forces compromising the structural integrity of the silo itself. Using a reclaimer screw system at the bottom of a silo dramatically reduces the potential for these forces.

In order to validate its new reclaimer screw design, TerraSource contracted with Bcomtesting to install and monitor strain gages for the collection of torque and bending strain data. This data collected would be used not only to validate the current design, but also to optimize the current system, thus potentially yielding manufacturing savings and a reduction in final product costs. With data collection taking place in the field, where changes would be almost impossible to make, the reliability of the strain gages used was a critical factor. For this reason, Bcomtesting chose Micro-Measurements strain gages because of their high quality and reproducability.  

On the reclaimer screw shaft, Bcomtesting installed two Micro-Measurements full-bridges (wheatstone) in shear patterns to measure torque and two half-bridges to measure bending. Each duplicate strain gage bridge was offset by 90°. These redundant circuits were necessary to validate data while providing a safety net in the case of damage during the initial starting period.

Over a period of two days, Bcomtesting collected data representing extreme scenarios. It was determined that the screw system worked as intended, was overdesigned, and could potentially be optimized. The screw diameter size could be reduced and the drive motor could also be re-sized to be smaller and lighter, reducing the weight of the system as well as the size of the installation brackets.

Click here to read the full Case Study: Validation and Design Optimization of a Reclaimer Screw System Using Micro-Measurements’ Strain Gages

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Yuval Hernik

StrainBlog Editor in Chief