By Harry Siemens -Three brothers originally from Mexico, Adolf, Frank, and Albert Zacharias while setting up grain bins in Western Canada for some years heard from farmers directly how they need more effective hopper, bottom bin aeration systems.
For the next three years, the Zach Brothers worked fulltime setting up bins, but spending time in the evenings, weekends, and holidays designing, and developing the NorBin Hopper bottom bins. With a full-floor air system and a NorBin retrofit full air system, designed to fit in the farmer’s existing hopper.
“It eliminates unaerated pockets in your stored grain, changing hopper bottom bin aeration forever,” said Frank in a recent interview in their shop in Winkler, MB. “We make our hoppers of 100 per cent galvanized steel, and come in four different sizes: 18, 21, 24, and 27 feet, and custom-designed to suit the farmers’ needs.”
When setting up grain bins and hoppers across the Prairies, farmers want hopper bins; they hate shovelling and often run into problems. However, Frank said many of the existing hopper bottoms remove the shovelling but often the grain spoils where they aerate in the middle of the bin, but not on the sides.
The choice is between flat bottom bins with a sound air system where farmers have to shovel to clean out the bins. The other alternative could be a galvanized hopper bottom, a partial air control system, and protruding bolts.
Frank said that once they realized those options, they felt how good it would be for the farmer if one product had all three features, galvanized hopper bottom, a full-circulation aeration system, and without protruding bolts.
No problem with the galvanized hopper bottom, but getting full aeration, is quite another.
“One hundred per cent of the grain should get ventilation. If ten, 20, or even 30 per cent doesn’t get ventilation, some grain will spoil,” said Frank.
After three years of design and development, the Zach Brothers believe that their NorBin product achieves what farmers want.
“Our tests prove it works and people like it,” said Frank.
Frank said one NordBin is up at the Blumengart Colony near Plum Coulee, MB, for trials and testing.
“We know it holds up, and their flow is good, and they like it.”
A farmer in Minnesota had two new competitor bins set up the year before. He called for two NorBin air systems after $36,000 worth of soybeans spoiled in his two new bins.
Marketing advisor Jim Michnik said the Zach Brothers build the new aeration system under the NorBin brand name.
When Zack Brothers designed the system, their tests showed some of the existing aeration systems at the center of the hoppers pushed the air in and up and not sideways towards the bin walls. That means a significant amount of grain remains unaerated.
Michnik said NorBin has computer-simulated airflow testing and physically tests the airflow in the bin.
“We have mapped out the bin in a circle with spatial separations and take an airflow test directly on top of the grain,” he said. “We physically know with a calibrated air tester, how many feet per minute we’re blowing through the top of the grain surface. The critical factor is the number of aeration perforations that we provide in the bin, and the distribution of those perforations are over the entire hopper.”
Adolph said no grain sits on a flat non-perforated sheet assuring all grain in the hopper gets airflow. Their aeration system has two floors, the bottom and the perforated floor.
While working on introducing larger sizes, the largest current NorBin system is 27 feet in diameter.
NorBin is working on developing other sizes, including a 30-foot, 33-foot, and 36-foot diameter hoppers. Customers can get more information at www.NorBin.ca.