Field Track - Specialist agricultural software solutions

Field Track – Dryer Control

** Increased capacity **

** Reduce time & stress **

** Free up time & staff costs **

Field Track – Dryer Control offers a lifetime of drying grain knowledge and nearly twenty years of operational throughout to provide a robust software solution for dryer control PLC integration. Drying grain is a time consuming and often forgotten ‘art’ of averages at a very busy time of year. Field Track – Dryer Control uses a combination of relatively simple algorithms to maintain the conditions you have set. It can do this with rather greater control than any PLC coding we have seen used on the many different dryers on the market.

By controlling the PLC in a way to maintain existing safeguards you lose none of the benefits but gain in operational control and frees your time up, as you no longer need to worry about what the dryer is doing. When you do review the dryer status Field Track – Dryer Control displays handy graphs of what it has been up to.

There are several ways to control a dryer. However it does not matter how you look at the concepts, it is a law of averages and the variables involved are generally outside the control of the software and sensors trying to control the dryer. Suffice to say no matter how many smoke screens are presented to ‘sell’ a method of control they are all flawed due to the uncontrollable number of variables. There is also an issue regarding what to do with a sensor input and the corresponding control change. A case in point would be a moisture sensor. Moisture sensors have come along way over the past several years and are a required tool. However if you have a moisture sensor controlling the dryer how would you alter the dryer if the moisture was detected higher, or lower than you required. The results of any actions would be staggering slow.

A moisture reading is an extremely slow moving target from which to make useful computer based corrections. A moisture reading at x and the grain temperature of y is a match, so if the moisture required changing you would need to change the average (target) temperature. Each dryer, depending on temperature sensor placement, will have a link been moisture and temperature. For example it might be 1:1, so to increase the moisture by 1% might need a 1 degree increase in the target temperature.

For the most part dryers are controlled by temperature changes and Field Track – Dryer Control is no different. Where Field Track – Dryer Control differs is the timing of the changes, the algorithm involved and the advanced control you have in directing how these elements interact to make the dryer do what you want, as you have far more knowledge than any software might have.

Drying Concepts – Math

Most dryers operate on a pretty simple algorithm: Measure temperature and do something. Some will use look up tables from someone’s research. Some may use ‘fuzzy’ logic which will vary the scale of these changes based on how far off target the dryer is. Sadly with other variables it can make matters worse such as stopping the flow of grain until it reaches a set temperature and then open the discharge until the temperature gets to x points below the target, where it again closes the discharge and repeats the cycle. In additional to this some safeguards might be place that the discharge can only be closed for x minutes for safety and with changing input grain this can soon unbalance the dryer create a slow cascade of failure from which the control system cannot recover.

Due to the amount of uncontrollable variables at play and your detailed knowledge Field Track – Dryer Control simply enhances your problem solving process. You need a moisture and you may well know the temperature you need to reach to attain it. Field Track – Dryer Control controls the dryer, with a little know-how from us, to maintain what you require. If the input grain moisture varies so does the speed of the dryer. This is conducted in a methodical manner to match and maintain the relationship between the changes and your target. This is graphed for your review, so upon your return you can tweak the requirements, using your knowledge, safe in the knowledge the dryer will maintain your requirements with maximum throughput.

Field Track – Dryer Control combines our knowledge, as well as your ‘on-the-ground’ available facts to produce a completely unattended dryer system with consistent throughput and a fully reviewable solution that adds up to an very efficient and time saving workhorse through a busy harvest.