Bintel™ + Plenum Unit + Attic Unit
The TGM System monitors and controls each bin with a Bintel™. A Bintel has a minimum of two auxiliary monitoring units — one for the plenum that supplies sensed data for Temperature, Relative Humidity and Static Pressure — and one for the attic that supplies sensed data for Temperature and Relative Humidity. (Bintel comes from Bin Intelligence).
One for each bin is the case whether a storage site has one bin or many, and is regardless of the sizes of the bins. The purpose of monitoring each bin and controlling its fans separately from those on other bins is to maximize returns, achieve a specific, reliable storage history for only the grain in a particular bin and to not dilute the value of precise control.
The System is designed this way because each bin of grain is unique even if they are the same size, have the same fans and store the same commodity. Normally they are not filled at the same time nor emptied at the same time as an example of uniqueness — among many. Avoiding the dilution of results from this robust approach is a contributing reason for TGM to absorb the investment risk with a Licensing business model.
This model is based on successful delivery of grain, not on the price of the TGM equipment installed at each site nor on the infrastructure costs to support each site. This means TGM bears the risks of investment including poor crop years. Each deployment does have the initial installation costs that are relatively minor compared to the overall investment in bins, handling equipment, fans, etc as well as the value of the grain.
TGM cannot approve installations that have more than one bin monitored and controlled by a Bintel. The value of this stance will become more and more apparent as food safeness and related standards are implemented by the food, feed, fuel, materials and pharmaceutical industries.
A Bintel cannot interface to existing temperature cables or other monitoring systems. In general other systems do not meet the precision required by The TGM System, and/or different protocols prohibit the engineering costs to talk with one another.
A Bintel turns a fan on and off *, monitors the static pressure (the pressure created by fan operation — similar to the pressure when sucking on a straw but in reverse) in the plenum and monitors the temperature and relative humidity (RH) in both the plenum and the attic exhaust air.
Each Bintel is managed by its SiteLink — one for each bin site. This design is used so energy use and starting loads can be synchronized both locally and with power suppliers. In turn SiteLinks are managed by a central computer to deliver advanced 'co-manager' capability.
A Bintel has sufficient intelligence to continue to operate for an extended period of time if connectivity to its SiteLink is lost. It will continue to monitor indefinitely and operate fans for a limited period of time — as long as possible but not past when the loss of connectivity may deviate from the overall goals. This makes the design very resilient.
* A PLC can be accommodated to avoid running hard wiring to each fan from a Bintel which adds duplication and cost. However a Bintel for each bin is still necessary for monitoring in these cases.
A P Unit senses the plenum temperature (T) and relative humidity (RH) and transmits this to the Bintel. This information is used to adjust for the heat of compression from the fan. Additionally it can adjust for microclimates and can verify readings of the weather monitor.
The static pressure is also sensed by the P Unit. This is the back pressure (positive system — suction in a negative system — either is measured) created by the resistance of the grain to air being moved by the fan. The static pressure data is used for numerous features:
- An alert is sent if a fan fails to start.
- An alert is sent if a fan is started that has not been activated though the system.
- The level of static pressure can indicate to some extent how full a bin is and also whether grain has been added or removed.
- Analyctics can be used to contribute to better overall control because the static pressure will vary by small amounts due to weather differences and also MC changes.
The A Unit senses the temperature and relative humidity of the air leaving the grain. Its sensor hangs above the grain in the attic. Because of this location readings are not meaningful until after sufficient fan run time — usually an hour is sufficient to obtain accurate readings.
The length of runtime depends on how long since the previous runtime, sun load, and other factors. Operation at night will provide reliable readings sooner. However, a computer can easily determine when the fans have run sufficiently long to provide a representative indication of the top grain temperature and moisture content.
This unique feedback provides a better overall picture of drying or re-wetting progress than other means. It is automatic.