Title:
Device and method for the transferring of grain from a grain bin
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved device and method for transferring grain or other particulates from a grain bin. The invention comprises an inlet positioned in a sidewall of the grain bin, and an outlet in another sidewall of the grain bin opposite the inlet. A grain transfer tube is inserted through each of the inlet and the outlet, the tube having at least one opening therein for permitting grain in the grain bin to enter into the interior of the tube. A blower for communicating with the grain transfer tube is positioned at an end of the grain transfer tube positioned at the inlet, and provides an air stream the tube. A suction hose is coupled with the outlet, to create, in combination with the blower, a vacuum force for drawing the grain in the grain bin to enter into the interior of the tube, and then propelling the drawn grain along the tube through the outlet to a remote location.



Inventors:
Sonntag, Bob (Swift Current Saskatchewan, CA)
Application Number:
11/435547
Publication Date:
11/15/2007
Filing Date:
05/17/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H7/22
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DILLON JR, JOSEPH A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KATTEN MUCHIN ROSENMAN LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. A grain transfer system for a grain bin having an interior for holding a quantity of grain, the system comprising: an inlet in a sidewall of the grain bin; an outlet in another sidewall of the grain bin opposite the inlet; a grain transfer tube, the tube being inserted through each of the inlet and the outlet so as to be positioned substantially within the interior of the grain bin, the grain transfer tube having at least one opening therein for permitting grain in the grain bin to enter into an interior of the tube; at least one blower for communicating with the grain transfer tube, the at least one blower being positioned at an end of the grain transfer tube positioned at the inlet, and for providing a high powered air stream through the grain transfer tube to entrain and propel the grain within the tube to the outlet; and a suction hose, coupled with the outlet, for drawing grain in the grain bin into the tube for transferal through the outlet to a remote location.

2. The grain transfer system of claim 1, wherein the suction hose, in combination with the at least one blower, creates a vacuum force for drawing grain in the grain bin to enter into the interior of the tube, and for propelling the drawn grain along the tube through the outlet to the remote location.

3. The grain transfer system of claim 1, wherein the tube has a cover positioned on an upper surface thereof, for selectively sealing the at least one opening of the tube.

4. The grain transfer system of claim 3, wherein the cover has a handle portion thereon for facilitating opening and closing of the cover over the at least one opening of the tube.

5. The grain transfer system of claim 1, wherein any end of the grain transfer tube, inserted through each of the inlet and the outlet, can be sealed with a removable cap cover.

6. The grain transfer system of claim 1, wherein the grain transfer tube which is inserted through each of the inlet and the outlet is positioned substantially near a bottom portion of the interior of the grain bin.

7. The grain transfer system of claim 1, wherein a screen is attached over the at least one opening of the tube.

8. The grain transfer system of claim 4, wherein the cover is made of aluminum, or stainless steel.

9. The grain transfer system of claim 4, wherein a pair of spaced apart guideways are positioned on an upper surface of the tube in parallel relationship to one another, whereby, in opening or closing the cover, the cover may slide along the spaced apart guideways in assuming an open or closed position.

10. A grain transfer system for a grain bin having an interior for holding a quantity of grain, the system comprising: an inlet in a sidewall of the grain bin; an outlet in another sidewall of the grain bin opposite the inlet; a grain transfer tube, the tube being inserted through each of the inlet and the outlet so as to be positioned substantially near a bottom portion of the interior of the grain bin, the grain transfer tube having at least one opening therein for permitting grain in the grain bin to enter into an interior of the tube; at least one blower for communicating with the grain transfer tube, the at least one blower being positioned at an end of the grain transfer tube positioned at the inlet, and for providing a high powered air stream through the grain transfer tube to entrain and propel the grain within the tube to the outlet; and a suction hose coupled with the outlet, to create, in combination with the at least one blower, a vacuum force for drawing the grain in the grain bin to enter into the interior of the tube, and for propelling the drawn grain along the tube through the outlet to a remote location.

11. A method of transferring grain from a grain bin having an interior for holding a quantity of grain, the method comprising: positioning an inlet and an outlet in opposed sidewalls of the grain bin; inserting a grain transfer tube through each of the inlet and the outlet so as to be positioned substantially within the interior of the grain bin, the grain transfer tube having at least one opening therein for permitting grain in the grain bin to enter into an interior of the tube; placing at least one blower at an end of the grain transfer tube positioned at the inlet; utilizing the at least one blower to draw an air stream through the grain transfer tube; and attaching a suction hose to the outlet to draw, in combination with the at least one blower, grain in the grain bin into the tube for transferal through the outlet to a remote location.

12. The method of claim 11, further comprising the step of attaching a cover to an upper surface of the tube, for selectively sealing the at least one opening of the tube.

13. The method of claim 11, further comprising the step of selectively attaching a cap cover to any end of the grain transfer tube when not in use.

14. The method of claim 11, wherein the step of inserting the grain transfer tube through each of the inlet and the outlet further comprises positioning the grain transfer tube substantially near a bottom portion of the interior of the grain bin.

15. The method of claim 11, further comprising the step of positioning a pair of spaced apart guideways on an upper surface of the tube in parallel relationship to one another, whereby, in opening or closing the cover, the cover may slide along the spaced apart guideways in assuming an open or closed position.

16. A grain bin assembly for transferring grain from a grain bin having an interior for holding a quantity of grain comprising: an inlet in a sidewall of the grain bin; an outlet in another sidewall of the grain bin opposite the inlet; a grain transfer lube, the tube being inserted through each of the inlet and the outlet, the grain transfer tube having at least one opening therein for permitting grain in the grain bin to enter into an interior of the tube; at least one blower for communicating with the grain transfer tube, the at least one blower being positioned at an end of the grain transfer tube positioned at the inlet, and for providing an air stream through the grain transfer tube; and a suction hose coupled with the outlet, to create, in combination with the at least one blower, a vacuum force for drawing the grain in the grain bin to enter into the interior of the tube, and for propelling the drawn grain along the tube through the outlet to a remote location.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the transferring of grain or other particulates, and particularly to the transferring of grain or other particulates from a grain bin or other storage location.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Grain bins, which generally are in a cylindrical configuration and having a conically shaped roof can be in excess of 40 feet in diameter and in excess of 40 feet in height, storing for example, in excess of 30,000 bushels of grain or other particulate material. The bin floor, for example, may be formed by a poured concrete slab. The bin walls which are securely anchored to the bin floor are generally made of curved, corrugated stainless steel panels which are bolted or joined together to form a continuous curved wall for the bin. An access door at the bottom of the bin is generally provided to allow access for workers and equipment onto the bin floor, for example, when the bin is substantially empty. The roof of the bin will generally have an access hole at the top to allow access for workers and equipment.

Grain piled against a bin wall will exert outward pressure on the bin wall. It will be appreciated that this force can be significant, and in the case of large grain bins, this force is sufficient to deform bin walls if care is not taken during the grain loading and unloading processes to ensure that the grain is evenly distributed in the bin at all times during the loading and unloading processes. To minimize the risk of deformation, bins are preferably loaded and unloaded from the middle of the bin, to ensure that grain is at all times distributed throughout the bin during the loading and unloading processes, to thereby equalize to the extent possible the loading on the bin walls.

While loading the bin from a position approximately in the middle of the grain pile is readily achieved by loading the grain into the bin by means of a conveyor, the delivery end of which is positioned at the top center of the bin (for example, when the grain is loaded from a conveyor which discharges the grain through a top access door in the roof of the bin), which conveyor delivery end is equidistant the bin walls, so that when the grain falls to the bin floor a pile is formed which continually expands to the bin walls to substantially evenly distribute the grain in the bin and as the pile continues to grow, to substantially evenly load the bin walls. This allows the outward pressure on any portion of the wall of the bin to be offset and balanced by the outward pressure on that portion of the wall of the bin which is directly opposite that portion.

During the removal of grain from the bin, continuously unloading the bin from the center of the grain pile, while necessary to minimize the risk of deformation of the bin wall, is more difficult.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, one object of the present invention is to provide an improved device and method for transferring grain or other particulates from a grain bin.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved device and method for effectively providing for the transfer of grain or other particulates from a grain bin, while minimizing the loading on the bin walls, and thus reducing the risk of deformation of the bin wall during the loading and unloading processes.

According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a grain transfer system for a grain bin having an interior for holding a quantity of grain, the system comprising an inlet in a sidewall of the grain bin; an outlet in another sidewall of the grain bin opposite the inlet; a grain transfer tube, the tube being inserted through each of the inlet and the outlet so as to be positioned substantially within the interior of the grain bin, the grain transfer tube having at least one opening therein for permitting grain in the grain bin to enter into an interior of the tube; at least one blower for communicating with the grain transfer tube, the at least one blower being positioned at an end of the grain transfer tube positioned at the inlet, and for providing a high powered air stream through the grain transfer tube to entrain and propel the grain within the tube to the outlet; and a suction hose, coupled with the outlet, for drawing grain in the grain bin into the tube for transferal through the outlet to a remote location.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a grain transfer system for a grain bin having an interior for holding a quantity of grain, the system comprising an inlet in a sidewall of the grain bin; an outlet in another sidewall of the grain bin opposite the inlet; a grain transfer tube, the tube being inserted through each of the inlet and the outlet so as to be positioned substantially near a bottom portion of the interior of the grain bin, the grain transfer tube having at least one opening therein for permitting grain in the grain bin to enter into an interior of the tube; at least one blower for communicating with the grain transfer tube, the at least one blower being positioned at an end of the grain transfer tube positioned at the inlet, and for providing a high powered air stream through the grain transfer tube to entrain and propel the grain within the tube to the outlet; and a suction hose coupled with the outlet, to create, in combination with the at least one blower, a vacuum force for drawing the grain in the grain bin to enter into the interior of the tube, and for propelling the drawn grain along the tube through the outlet to a remote location.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of transferring grain from a grain bin having an interior for holding a quantity of grain, the method comprising positioning an inlet and an outlet in opposed sidewalls of the grain bin; inserting a grain transfer tube through each of the inlet and the outlet so as to be positioned substantially within the interior of the grain bin, the grain transfer tube having at least one opening therein for permitting grain in the grain bin to enter into an interior of the tube; placing at least one blower at an end of the grain transfer tube positioned at the inlet; utilizing the at least one blower to draw an air stream through the grain transfer tube; and attaching a suction hose to the outlet to draw, in combination with the at least one blower, grain in the grain bin into the tube for transferal through the outlet to a remote location.

According to a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided a grain bin assembly for transferring grain from a grain bin having an interior for holding a quantity of grain comprising an inlet in a sidewall of the grain bin; an outlet in another sidewall of the grain bin opposite the inlet; a grain transfer tube, the tube being inserted through each of the inlet and the outlet, the grain transfer tube having at least one opening therein for permitting grain in the grain bin to enter into an interior of the tube; at least one blower for communicating with the grain transfer tube, the at least one blower being positioned at an end of the grain transfer tube positioned at the inlet, and for providing an air stream through the grain transfer tube; and a suction hose coupled with the outlet, to create, in combination with the at least one blower, a vacuum force for drawing the grain in the grain bin to enter into the interior of the tube, and for propelling the drawn grain along the tube through the outlet to a remote location.

The advantage of the present invention is that it provides an improved device and method for transferring grain or other particulates from a grain bin.

A still further advantage of the present invention is that it provides an improved device and method for effectively providing for the transfer of grain or other particulates from a grain bin, while minimizing the loading on the bin walls, and thus reducing the risk of deformation of the bin wall during the loading and unloading processes.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A preferred embodiment of the present invention is described below with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a view of a typical grain bin being loaded with grain from an overhead conveyor system;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the bottom portion of a grain bin illustrating one embodiment of the present invention with a tube mounted to the bin floor, and extending across and outside of the bin;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the bottom portion of a grain bin illustrating the embodiment of FIG. 2, with a blower unit attached on one end of the tube, and a grain vac hose attached to the other end;

FIG. 4 is a magnified view of one end of the tube illustrated in FIG. 2, illustrating the orifice, the orifice cover (in the closed position), and one embodiment of a mechanism for moving the orifice cover between the open and closed position;

FIG. 5 is a magnified view of the end of the tube illustrated in FIG. 4, the orifice cover being in the open position;

FIG. 5A is a cross-sectional view of one embodiment of the orifice, screen and external orifice cover;

FIG. 5B is a side view of one embodiment of the external orifice cover in the closed position;

FIG. 5C is a side view of one embodiment of the external orifice cover in the open position;

FIG. 5D is a cross-sectional view of an alternative embodiment of the orifice, screen and internal orifice cover;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the bottom portion of a grain bin illustrating an alternative embodiment of the present invention with an inlet tube mounted to the bin floor, and extending outside of the bin and approximately halfway across the bin, and an outlet tube positioned within the floor of the bin, extending from outside of the bin to a hole in the bin floor positioned approximately in the center of the bin;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the embodiment of FIG. 6, with a blower unit attached on one end of the tube, and a grain vac hose attached to the other end;

FIG. 8 is a magnified view of one end of the tube illustrated in FIG. 6, illustrating the orifice, the internal orifice cover (in the closed position), and one embodiment of a mechanism for moving the internal orifice cover between the open and closed position; and

FIG. 9 is a magnified view of the end of the tube illustrated in FIG. 6, the internal orifice cover being in the open position;

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1, positioned upon a concrete pad 2, is a typical grain bin 4, it being understood that grain bins may be positioned upon other suitable pads or materials known to a person skilled in the art. The vertical walls 5 and conical roof 6 of the typical grain bin 4 are generally made of corrugated stainless steel or other suitable material, known to a person skilled in the alt. An access door 8 provides access for personnel and equipment into the interior of the grain bin 4 and an access port 10 at the top of the grain bin 4 permits grain to be transferred from a conveyor system 14 into the interior of the grain bin 4 for storage, which typically forms a pile 12 generally centered within the grain bin 4.

Referring to FIG. 2, a metal tube 16 extends across the concrete pad 2 (or other floor material for the bin, hereinafter referred to as the “concrete pad”), and is securely anchored thereto by means of anchors, straps, bolts or other devices known to a person skilled in the art, so that the tube 16 remains stationary during the grain loading and unloading processes. In the preferred embodiment, the tube is of generally circular cross-section and is made of aluminum, or stainless steel, it being understood that alternative materials and cross-sections may be utilized in alternative embodiments of the present invention. The tube 16 extends through orifices (not shown) in the grain bin walls 5 on opposite sides of the grain bin 4, a secure and weather-tight seal being provided at the orifice between the tube 16 and the grain bin wall 5, in a manner known to a person skilled in the art. Removable caps 17 on both ends of the tube 16 are provided to keep varmints, the weather and other materials from accessing the tube 16 and the interior of the grain bin 4.

Referring to FIG. 3, in the preferred embodiment, a large upwardly directed orifice 18 in the tube 16, which may be opened or closed as more fully described herein, permits, when opened, grain to flow or be drawn into the tube 16, the orifice being preferably of a generally ovoid or elliptical shape, it being understood that a wide range of orifice shapes may be utilized in alternative embodiments of the present invention. In operation, the removable caps 17 are removed from both ends of the tube 16, a grain vac hose 22 is connected to one end of the tube 16 in a manner known to a person skilled in the art, the external cover 20 is positioned in the open position as illustrated in FIG. 3 and in one embodiment, a blower or fan 24 is attached to the other end of the tube 16 in a manner known to a person skilled in the art. The blower or fan 24, when activated, provides air from outside of the bin 4 through one end of the tube 16, and past the orifice 18, and the grain vac (not shown) when activated, by means of the grain vac hose 22, provides suction from the other end of the tube 16, the blower or fan 24 combining with the grain vac (by means of the grain vac hose 22) to move a significant quantity of air past the orifice 18 and thereby draw grain through the orifice 18 into, and through the tube 16 in the direction of the grain vac hose 22, for subsequent transfer to the grain vac hose 22, and thereafter to the grain vac in a manner known to a person skilled in the art. In an alternative embodiment, rather than attaching a blower or fan 24 to the end of the tube 16 as previously described, after the removable caps 17 have been removed and a grain vac hose 22 attached on one end of the tube 16, the other end of the tube 16 is left open, permitting air from outside of the bin 4 to enter the tube 16 by way of the partial vacuum created by the operation of the grain vac (by means of the grain vac hose 22).

In the preferred embodiment, a moveable external cover 20 is provided which is curved to conform with the outer surface of the tube and extending part of the way around the circumference of the tube to fully cover the orifice when in the closed position, to thereby prevent grain or other particulates from entering the tube 16 while the external cover 20 is in the closed position. In the preferred embodiment, the external cover 20 is made of aluminum, or stainless steel, it being understood that alternative materials may be utilized in alternative embodiments of the present invention. As illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 5, the external cover 20, is shown in the open position (positioned adjacent to the orifice 18), and as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 4, the external cover 20, is shown in the closed position (the external cover 20 positioned directly above the orifice 18). In the preferred embodiment, the external cover 20 is supported by and may slide along an external horizontal guideway 26, which may be made of, for example, channel or flat bar welded or otherwise securely fastened to the outside of the tube 16, it being understood that alternative guideways may be utilized to support and permit the movement of the external cover 20 between an open and closed position. A handle 28, fastened to the external cover, and extending through the exterior wall of the bin may be utilized to move the external cover 20 between the open and closed position as needed, it being understood that alternative mechanisms may be utilized to move the external cover between the open and closed position.

As illustrated in FIGS. 5B and 5C, in one embodiment of the present invention, a coarse screen 30 is provided, and is securely attached to the tube 16 covering the orifice 18, to prevent large objects from entering into the tube 16, the coarseness of the screen being such that it would readily permit grain or other particulates to easily flow therethrough, while at the same time, preventing large objects from passing therethrough. As illustrated in FIGS. 5A, 5B and 5C, the screen is positioned to cover the entire orifice, and in such a manner as to permit the external cover 20 to easily slide over the screen between the closed position illustrated in FIG. 5A and the open position illustrated in FIG. 5B without interference between the screen and the external cover 20, as illustrated in FIG. 5A.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention as illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7, an outlet tube 34 extends beneath or within the pad 2 from an area outside of the bin wall 5, beneath the bin wall 5 to an area near the center of the bin where there is located an opening 36 in the concrete pad 5, the outlet tube 34 having an orifice 18 therein substantially corresponding with the opening 36 in the concrete pad 2, to permit grain or other particulates to flow into the outlet tube 34 as described herein. An inlet tube 32 extends from outside of the bin wall 5 on the opposite side of the bin, through the bin wall 5, and extends to an area proximate to the opening 36 in the concrete pad 2. During non-use, the outlet tube 34 and inlet tube 32 are both capped with removable caps 17 to keep varmints, the weather and other materials from accessing the tube 16 and the interior of the grain bin 4.

Referring to FIGS. 6, 7, 8, and 9, in this embodiment, in operation, the removable caps 17 are removed from the ends of the inlet tube 32 and outlet tube 34, a grain vac hose 22 is connected to the external end of the outlet tube 16 in a manner known to a person skilled in the art, the internal orifice cover 38 is positioned in the open position as illustrated in FIG. 7 and FIG. 9 and in one embodiment, a blower or fan 24 is attached to the external end of the inlet tube 16 in a manner known to a person skilled in the art. The blower or fan 24 provides air from outside of the bin 4 through the external end of the inlet tube 16 to an area proximate the opening 36 in the concrete pad and orifice 18, and a grain vac (not shown), by means of the grain vac hose 22, provides suction from the external end of the outlet tube 34, the blower or fan 24 providing airflow proximate the opening 36 in the concrete pad and orifice 18 which when combined with the suction provided by the grain vac (by means of the grain vac hose 22) provides for a significant quantity of air passing the orifice 18 and thereby drawing grain through the orifice 18 into, and through the outlet tube 34 in the direction of the grain vac hose 22, for subsequent transfer to the grain vac hose 22, and thereafter to the grain vac in a manner known to a person skilled in the art. In an alternative embodiment, rather than attaching a blower or fan 24 to the external end of the inlet tube 34 as previously described, after the removable caps 17 have been removed and a grain vac hose 22 attached on one end of the outlet tube 36, the inlet tube 16 is left open, permitting air from outside of the bin 4 to enter the inlet tube 34 by way of the slight vacuum created within the bin by the operation of the grain vac (by means of the grain vac hose 22). The embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIGS. 6, 7, 8, and 9 may readily be adapted for utilization in the retrofitting of grain bins which have, or previously had, installed therein grain augers beneath or within the concrete pad or floor of the bin, the retro-fit including the step of removing the auger and using the auger housing (still positioned in the concrete pad or floor) as the outlet tube, or alternatively, inserting an outlet tube of slightly smaller diameter within such housing.

As illustrated in FIG. 9, the internal cover 38 is shown in the open position (positioned adjacent to the orifice 18), and as illustrated in FIG. 8, the internal cover 38 is shown in the closed position (the internal cover 38 positioned directly below the orifice 18). In this embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 5D, the internal cover 38 is supported by and may slide along an internal guideway 40, which may be made of, for example, channel or flat bar welded or otherwise securely fastened to the inside wall of the outlet tube 34, it being understood that alternative guideways may be utilized to support and permit the movement of the internal cover 20 between an open and closed position. A handle 28 accessible to an operator outside of the bin wall 5, fastened to the internal cover, and extending within the outlet tube 34 through the exterior wall 5 of the bin may be utilized to move the internal cover 38 between the open and closed position as needed, it being understood that alternative mechanisms may be utilized to move the external cover between the open and closed position.

The present invention has been described herein with regard to preferred embodiments. However, it will be obvious to persons skilled in the art that a number of variations and modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the invention as described herein.