NEUERO Pneumatics for portable grain
Article in DRY CARGO International July 1999
The use of portable pneumatic grain conveyors became popular many years ago, when it was found that oil tankers bringing oil to the US could economically load grain as a backhaul cargo. German manufacturer NEUERO describes how the small 210mm suction lines would be inserted into the butterworth holes to remove the grain by vacuum, which proved the most efficient way of unloading oil tankers hauling grain. Coupled with low freight costs and the ability to transport large volumes in one voyage, this became a popular shipment method for many years.
However the popular opinion that unloading grain with portable conveyors is inefficient is no longer true, according to NEUERO. Many improvements have been made to portable pneumatic conveyors to increase operational efficiency. Both suction and pressure hydraulic operated booms are available to reduce the amount of pipe handling, and to eliminate the need to use ships gear for this purpose.
Portable conveyors, which can easily be moved from berth to berth or from port to port, also enable smaller operators to control the discharge of their own grain shipments to ensure this is done in a given time. They can also discharge vessels carrying cargoes for more than one receiver simultaneously and can act as a back up for large single line unloaders.
NEUERO's mobile pneumatic conveyors are currently operating at the El-Dekheila Port in Egypt for the Silo Company. The operation is very cost effective with high discharge rates compared to low investment costs. NEUERO points out that in certain developing countries dust is not a big issue, because grain dust is a biological product and will not cause the same hazards as chemical dust. However, allowing the dust to escape into the atmosphere is a cost to the receiver , and in many ports mobile pneumatic conveyors are now connected to elevated receiving hoppers equipped with dust control equipment. In addition to a cleaner environment, the hopper can serve as buffer to allow the unloader to continue operating while the next truck is pulled into position under it, further enhancing operational efficiency.