Author: Laia Dolcet

New javelins with temperature and humidity measurement

We recently discussed the convenience of installing wireless javelin probes in warehouses for four main reasons: they are cost-free to install, they are easy to use, they can be moved from one warehouse to another, and they are also scalable. In this way, you can verify the system in your facility before making a major investment. 

Responding to our customers’ requests and within our continuous improvement program, at Gescaser we have developed a new version of the javelin with more features. In addition to being wireless and measuring the temperature, the new version of the javelin incorporates a sensor capable of measuring the humidity of the cereal.

With these new javelins, the supervision tasks for the optimal conservation of cereal in warehouses are no longer based solely on temperature control, but rather can monitor both the temperature and the humidity of your stored cereal.

Thus, within optimal quality margins, the two values can be combined to determine the maximum storage period.

Generally speaking: the lower the moisture content, the higher the acceptable temperature..

Let’s see an example.

The period of 6 months can provide an example: grain quality will not be reduced after half a year if the grain moisture content is equal to 12.5% and the temperature is 25 °C [point C on graphic]. The second example for the same safe storage time of 6 months is: the grain moisture content equal to 17.5% and the temperature 5 °C [point D on graphic].



Safe storage
Drying and Cooling Grain in Bulk - Hand book, Part I by A. Ryniecki

As you can see, the new javelins provide you with very valuable information on the status of your grain. And, the more information you collect, the more facilities you will have to keep the grain in optimal conditions.

How Gescaser allows you to measure the filling level of the silo at no additional cost

Silos de cereal
Silos de cereal

In order to know the stock level of a storage plant, it is essential to quantify the filling level of each silo. Depending on the type of raw material (cereals such as oat, sunflower, rice, wheat, soybeans, etc.), quality and level of grain, you will be able to find out the capital available in the form of inventory. 

In many cases, the filling level of the stored grain is estimated by visual inspection. Some technicians measure the volume of grain by climbing to the top of the silos and inspecting their interior. However, this method poses serious health and safety concerns, as well as being imprecise.

For this reason, there are much more precise – and safer – options such as automatic grain monitoring.

In this article we cover how our CTC+ software can help you know the filling level, keeping your money safe.

How do we quantify the filling level at Gescaser?

Gescaser’s monitoring system, in addition to controlling the temperature and humidity of the grain, also offers – at no additional cost – a very precise estimation of the filling level. This allows you to maintain inventory control, account for costs or to schedule production, among many other needs.

To quantify the filling level, Gescaser’s CTC+ software applies an algorithm capable of determining which sensors are covered by grain and which sensors are not. Furthermore, since the CTC+ knows the exact location of each sensor, the software is capable of indicating the filingl level of each silo.

With this information in mind, if a grain silo has a capacity of 5,000 m3 and it is currently at 40% of its capacity, you know exactly how much stock you have and, with this, how much money is being stored inside.

So how do we reduce the filling level calculation error?

The calculation error of our algorithm is:

Algorithm_error

With 11 sensors in the probe, we get an error of ± 5% of the total storage capacity of the silo.

So as a result of adding more sensors to the probe, the distance between sensors is reduced and so is the calculation error. An improvement that gives you very precise fill level information, without the need of large investments. And it results indeed much cheaper to add additional sensors to a probe than purchasing external devices to measure the fill level.

If you still decide to acquire an external system to measure the filling level with maximum precision, there are the following methods:

Single point measurement (1D):

Laser technology is used to automatically measure the volume level in silos and other storage tanks without any contact. It obtains the information by measuring the transit time of a light pulse between its emittance by the transmitter and its reflection and arrival. 

In agriculture, this system works well on many types of grains, such as corn or wheat. Also, since it is very narrow, the laser beam can be used in tight spaces and difficult applications.

Still, this type of single point metering systems present different errors depending on the location of the metering system and the shape of the grain during filling or emptying.

Calculation_error

Measurement with radar sensor (2D and 3D):

In a nutshell, the measuring with a radar sensor consists in mapping the entire surface of the silo. The distance travelled by the radar wave is determined by the difference in frequencies between the emitted wave and the one that bounces off the material to be measured.

It is a very precise and safe technology, with an error between ±1% and ±5% depending on the number of devices installed. However, the cost is much higher when comparing it with the other systems. In addition, for silos with large diameters, more devices will need to be added, since the beam angle will not cover the entire surface of the material with a single device.

Comparative table of the 3 filling measurement systems

Comparative table of the 3 filling measurement systems

So, if high precision is not necessary, you can obtain the desired information only with the temperature control system without any additional cost. 

For this, you must assess whether the investment when purchasing an external device (especially when there are multiple measurement points) is compensated by the possible operational gains.

The challenges for GESCASER in 2022

Portada_Los retos de 2022 para Gescaser
Portada_Los retos de 2022 para Gescaser

With December already here, it is time for GESCASER to review the strategies carried out throughout the year. 2021 is ending and as the tradition indicates, it is time to make balance, assess the actions that have worked, detect those that can be improved and define the objectives for 2022. Has it been a good year? Have we achieved the business objectives? 

In this balance, we go a little further and we go beyond the company’s accounting and innovation projects, so that we also review some of the actions carried out this year focusing on the most important value for Gescaser: the people.

What actions has Gescaser contributed to society in 2021?

This 2021 has still been a year marked by the COVID crisis. Therefore, the main challenge during the pandemic has been to preserve the health and safety of its employees by providing them with protective equipment and materials (masks, hydroalcoholic gel, antigen tests, etc.) and facilitating flexible working.

Furthermore, this year, at Gescaser we have proposed to contribute to local action projects. A decision that was reached by consensus among all workers to promote internal communication. In this sense, the entire team has received a Christmas batch of proximity products made by people at risk of exclusion from the El Pla Special Training Center (CET), a non-profit organization located in Almacelles.

In turn, at Gescaser we have also collaborated with the ‘Banc dels Aliments, an apolitical, non-denominational and non-profit foundation that fights against food poverty and combats food loss and waste. This Catalan entity has organized the ‘Gran Recapte’ since 2009, a mass food collection campaign. Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has assisted 267 thousand people in a precarious situation and estimates that it will need about 10 million euros to supply food that guarantees demand during 2022.

What are Gescaser’s challenges for 2022?

As a technological company with installations around the planet, one of the most important challenges is reducing our carbon footprint to curb climate change. How? The coronavirus crisis has shown us that we can offer equal quality of remote service without needing for long journeys. At Gescaser, we will continue to promote virtual encounters and meetings as much as possible.

Likewise, another internal objective is to promote the rule of the three Rs (reduce, recycle and reuse) and promote sustainability during the production and development of new products.

Finally, in the technological field, the goal for 2022 is to launch a more intuitive temperature control application (CTC+ software) following the steps of the current CTClite application (the iOS version will be available during the first half of next year), designed for smaller installations. Therefore, another goal for 2022 is to continue investing in research to enhance these new tools which will complete the versions of the existing CTC+.

Why should you attach the probes to the silo’s floor?

Sonda atada al suelo del silo
Sonda atada al suelo del silo

It is clear that the higher temperatures inside the silo, the greater chances of developing fungi, insects and, of course, lower quality of the grain. 

For this reason, proper monitoring of the temperature inside the silo is key to good control of the cereal, since it allows us to react quickly to any unforeseen event that may affect its quality.

In this sense, in order to guarantee the quality of the grain, it is necessary to use a temperature monitoring system such as the one offered by Gescaser.

In addition, the placement of the temperature probes is crucial. If the installation of the probes is not carried out correctly, it will be difficult to control the condition of the stored grain.

Why is it important to attach the probes to the silo’s floor?

To correctly measure the temperature of the silo, you must ensure that probes do not move. Why? 

If a probe is not attached to the ground, during filling, it can move to the side and end up touching the wall of the silo, affecting the temperature reading.

Let’s look at an example. 

The following image corresponds to an aerial view of a silo with the location of each probe:

Vista aérea de un silo

Next, we are going to analyse three graphs over two months of data belonging to probes nº4, 5 and 6. 

The graph in Image 1 shows the data from probe nº6. As we can see, at the beginning of August the silo was full because measurements from all probe sensors are stable, regardless of the ambient temperature (in black).

On the left side of Image 1, there is a vertical probe with the arrangement of the sensors inside the silo: the upper sensor is grey and the lower sensor is red.

Following the graph, we can see that, some time later, the temperature of the upper sensor (grey) varies in the same way as the ambient temperature. The measurements of the green and yellow sensors also change accordingly: the silo begins to empty.

Sonda S2 -6
Image 1: Probe nº6 (S2-6)

Analysing Image 2 (probe nº4) we find a similar behaviour to the previous one.

Imagen 2: Sonda S2-4
Image 2: Probe nº4 (S2-4)

Remember that, as a rule of thumb, a silo empties evenly. Therefore, taking into account the first two graphs, we could deduce that probe 5 would show a similar trend. However, this is not the case.

Imagen 3: Sonda S2-5
Image 3: Probe nº5 (S2-5)

According to Image 3 (probe nº5), all sensors are in line with the ambient temperature.

So, why aren’t the three graphs showing the same?  

This is where the clamping of the probes comes in. In fact, probe nº5 is not capturing the real temperature of the grain, but rather the outside temperature of the silo. 

When filling the silo, if the probe is not attached to the ground, the force of the grain inflow moves the probe towards the wall of the silo and this directly affects the actual reading of the grain temperature.

How to attach a probe to the silo’s floor?

We have seen the importance of holding the probes so that the cereal does not displace them. However, how are these probes attached to the silo’s floor?

To prevent the probes from moving at the time of filling, Gescaser supplies special clamping kits that do not damage the grain sweeping nor extraction systems.

Kit de sujeción

In summary, these kits are essential to allow obtaining real data of grain temperature. For this reason, always remember to attach the probes to the ground before filling. 

For more details on clamping systems, please contact our team.

Food loss and waste reduction

Cereal quemado dentro de silo
Cereal quemado dentro de silo

Food loss and waste reduction

A third of world produced food ends up in the garbage. According to FAO data (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), around 14% of global food produced is lost between harvest and retail. In addition, around 11% of household food is wasted, 5% in food services and 2% in retail trade.

Really alarming data, right? 

It is clear that there is a problem and that our food systems must improve in order to be sustainable and resilient. 

Today, 29th September, the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction is celebrated, a symbolic date with a clear intention: to establish measures and to innovate to stop food waste. 



Aiming to reduce food loss, an environmental problem and a challenge for Gescaser

When food is lost or wasted, many of the resources used to produce it are also wasted, such as water, land, energy and labor. The loss of food has a negative effect on food security and it becomes a serious environmental problem (it is estimated that food waste is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions).

For this reason, at Gescaser we face the challenge of reducing food loss and waste as an opportunity to work more ethically, efficiently and sustainably.

With our temperature control systems, at Gescaser we innovate daily to help preserve the quality of cereals and nuts, essential foods within the food chain, and stop the consequent decrease in prices that directly affects the economy of farmers and producers.

The role of the food industry and cereal manufacturers 

In order to reduce food waste, the food industry plays a key role and can contribute substantially by implementing and disseminating effective techniques and technology such as drying and subsequent monitoring of stored cereal.

 

In this sense, it is essential to improve processing technologies and conservation of cereals in developing regions. According to FAO studies, losses during processing are much higher in underdeveloped countries (between 14% and 21%) than in other more developed regions (<2%).

9 years to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 

With 9 years to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SGG), it is important to accelerate measures aimed at reducing food loss and waste to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

What can we do?

 Increasing the efficiency of our food systems and reducing food loss and waste requires investment in innovation, technologies and infrastructure. Only then, we will avoid the economic losses estimated at billion dollars, in addition to social and environmental costs.

Let’s work to “reduce, reuse and recycle” and, together, achieve a more sustainable consumption.

What is the coverage area of a sensor?

Imagen de cereal dentro de un silo
Imagen de cereal dentro de un silo

In this article we’d like to contrast one of the great myths that exist around temperature sensors for stored cereal: their coverage area or radius of action.

In the world of manufacturers of temperature control system, one can frequently find brochures or reviews indicating that sensors cover or have a radius of action of about 2 or 3 meters approximately, with some indicating more and others a bit less.

But which of these statements is correct?

The answer is as simple as it is revealing: none.

Why?

The thermal conductivity of seeds and grains – their ability to transfer or spread heat – is very low, and their behaviour is very different from liquids or other materials such as metal. Therefore, it cannot be scientifically affirmed that there is a percentage of the silo covered by the sensors beyond the cereal or grain that is in direct contact with the sensor itself.

Any statement indicating that a percentage of the silo is covered by its sensors cannot be scientifically confirmed.

So how can the area of coverage in a silo be improved to help detecting a hotspot as soon as possible?

Without a doubt, introducing more sensors inside the silo.

Can one predict where a hotspot will occur? 

Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict where a hotspot will occur inside the silo or warehouse. It could occur near or far from a sensor. As a matter of fact, all sensors available commercially measure the temperature of the grain that is in direct contact with the sensor and cannot measure the grain temperature 3 meters away.

GESCASER sensors are not different from other sensors in this regard and, therefore, when monitoring the grain conditions, it is safe to assume that the temperature in the readings correspond to the temperature of the cereal that is in direct contact with the sensor.

When there is a hotspot somewhere in the silo, the heat is slowly transmitted to other cold areas. The time it takes from the hotspot until it is detected by the sensor depends on may factors (type of cereal, amount of cereal, impurities, degree of compaction, etc.) 

Indeed, the thermal conductivity of the grain is very low. To get a better understanding, the material with the best thermal conductivity is silver, with a coefficient of about 418 W/mK, while cereals such as corn, soybeans or sunflower seeds vary between 0.3 W/mK and 0.1W/mK depending on its humidity. With increased moisture levels, more conductivity (W/mK).

Comparative table of the thermal conductivity of some materials in W/mK
Comparative table of the thermal conductivity of some materials in W/mK

How many probes and sensors do I need?

At GESCASER, manufacturers of temperature control systems for silos with more than 40 years of experience, we provide recommendations with regards to the number of probes and sensors taking into account the type of silo or warehouse and its technical characteristics (diameter, height …).

Based on this information we determine the optimal number of probes and sensors (see graph).

Esquema de las sondas en función del diámetro del silo
Sondas de GESCASER
Our objective is to help finding the right balance between an absolute control of the silo temperature and the economic cost. It is no surprise that with more sensors, one can achieve greater control, but of course at an increased price.

At GESCASER we control the entire manufacturing process: from the receipt of raw materials, to the probe manufacturing, the shipment and the subsequent installation. Thus, probes and sensors can be totally customised to our customers’ needs. 

We hope this article helped resolving some doubts about the sensors and their radius of action. 

Don’t get confused!

Why are javelins the ideal system for grain warehouses?

Almacén con jabalinas
Almacén con jabalinas

After the harvest, a delicate process of grain storage begins. A stage that, if not managed properly, can reduce both quality and quantity of harvest grain. In order to avoid its deterioration, it is important to have an exhaustive control of the grain temperature and carefully monitor grain conditions. Javelins may just be the perfect tool.  

How can we help you?

We’re pleased to present this practical and versatile system, ideal for controlling cereal stored in both small and large warehouses: the javelins or wireless probes. 

What are these wireless javelins or probes?

Javelins or wireless probes are the most suitable device to measure the temperature of grains and cereals stored in warehouses. Its technology does not require initial installation and is totally compatible with Gescaser systems (it works with both the CTC+ and the new CTC lite system).

These javelins are made of fiberglass and have a stainless steel tip. In addition, thanks to their flexibility and small diameter, they are very easy to insert in the grain.

We offer wireless probes with different length and number of sensors, which can be adapted to the requirements and needs of every client.

Javelin or wireless probe

Javelin or wireless probe

 

How do they work?

The javelins can be inserted anywhere in the warehouse where the grain is located. They are very easy to handle and their installation cost is 0.

Infografía de cuatro jabalinas

 

Four great advantages of javelins

If we compare them with other sophisticated systems, typically for silos and large facilities, wireless probes clearly have four advantageous characteristics for warehouses.

1. No installation cost

As already mentioned, its main advantage over other systems is that this type of wireless probe does not require any kind of civil work when installing.

2. Ease of use and handling

Javelins are very simple tools to handle and do not require prior technical knowledge. This feature is a great advantage, and it allows taking temperature readings with ease. In addition, it makes them very versatile: as you empty the warehouse, you can re-insert the javelins where there is still grain to get new measurements.

3. Mobility

Another advantage of javelins is their ease of transport. Wireless probes can be used interchangeably in other warehouses, without depending on any physical installation. This becomes a key point for clients who do not have their own or fixed warehouse and rent it depending on the harvest season.

4. Scalability

Very often, when we consider the possibility of incorporating a new technology, we may have doubts about its convenience or effectiveness. Will it work for us? Will it add value to our company?

Aware of this, at Gescaser we offer you the option of purchasing only one javelin, in addition to the controller and the software, to verify its effectiveness. In this way, you can verify the system in your facility before making a major investment.

 

Temperature control options

For reading the temperatures, one has two control options: the CTC lite app and the CTC+ system.

With the CTC lite app

If a sporadic inspection of your grain condition is sufficient for you, you can control temperatures manually through the CTC lite app.

With the app (available on both IOS and Android) you can obtain records of the temperature of the javelins every time you go to the warehouse.

With the CTC+ system

If, on the other hand, you require a more exhaustive control of the conditions of your grain, you can install the CTC+ system, which allows you to consult the temperature records at any time and from anywhere. This option provides you with more control and less dependency.

In addition, the CTC + system allows you to position the wireless probes with the drag&drop option. In this sense, you can move the javelins around the software screen and place them where they are actually inserted.

Do you have any doubts? Would you like to try our javelins?

Contact our team for more details.

CTC lite, the new App for cereal control

CTC
CTC lite

After a year of dedicated work, it is now a reality. 

We have recently launched a new app to be able to monitor grain temperature without having to rely on cables or distances. 

This new CTC lite App is available for free through Google Play and Apple Store to download.

 

What exactly is the CTC lite?

The CTC lite is an enhanced version of the previous software CTC Android. It is a mobile App to monitor the temperature of the stored cereal from anywhere and at any time.

 

What are the key enhancements of CTC lite?

This new App has many advantages compared to its predecessor.

 

1. It can be used anywhere and from any device

In addition to being able to visualise temperature data without the need for wiring, CTC lite allows you to have multiple installations within the same app and, as a user, you can select and change from one installation to another in a very quick and intuitive way.

 

2. Data can be shared between multiple users

CTC lite allows several users within the same installation to have the app installed on their individual device. If one individual takes a temperature reading, all the other users with granted access will be able to visualise it by sharing the temperature information.

 

3. It can be used in areas without signal

You can use CTC lite offline when taking temperature readings on site. As soon as the device is connected to internet, all data will be uploaded and you will also be able to check historic data.

 

4. Data can be exported and analysed

All temperature readings are stored within the app for graph visualisation and to be able to analyse temperature trends. 

In addition, all data is available through https://ctclite.gescaser.com/ and can be exported in CSV format, which can then be treated using a spreadsheet software. 



Temperature alarm and heat map

How far do you see the red on a traffic light?

In order to help spotting and identifying high temperature values from your stored grain, the CTC lite app allows the user to specify a temperature of alarm so that any sensor exceeding the selected temperature is automatically highlighted in red. 

This helps visualising at glance the different temperature sensors of the installation and check that there are no high temperatures that could potentially be a source of problems. 

Similarly, a colour code including green, yellow, orange and red has been established to help easily identify hot spots.

Would you like to know more? 

Feel free to contact us for more information or DEMO request. 

A world of possibilities

Have we ever met? 

If so, you will know that at Gescaser we manufacture temperature and moisture probes. Our systems are designed to monitor the cereal conditions and its status during storage. 

Controlling the grain helps preventing its deterioration and, with it, serious economic losses. 

We have numerous examples that we could explain to you.

 

A new stage begins

After more than four decades and hundreds of international clients, the time has come to share everything we have learned. Advice and information about the different tools will be shared in this space to help you preserve your grain in the best conditions. 

Because… you know what? 

If you are a grain producer and need to store it, you may already know that anticipating is of outmost importance. Due to temperature and humidity conditions, the presence of insects can lead to quantitative losses and even depreciate its quality. 

So, to avoid this situation, anticipating is necessary. As the saying goes: Losers react, Winners anticipate.

 

Losers react. Winners anticipate

We do not intend to convince you; we just want to show you the different possibilities available to you. And this is because we know first-hand that having a grain monitoring system is necessary to prevent future issues. 

We have been learning it since 1973.

Will you join us?