Grain Bin Robot Designed To Eliminate Trips Into Bins
The Grain Weevil robot weighs in at only 26 lbs. and is just 18 in. long, but turn it loose inside a grain bin and it will do the work of a couple of men. It can tear up a crust or level grain as it is augered into a bin or truck, and it will also work alongside a sweep auger when emptying a bin.
  “We tested it out in a semi trailer under a 250 bushels per minute flow rate,” says Chad Johnson, JLI Robotics. “It drives in under the stream of grain and levels it out while loading.”
  Johnson’s son Ben came up with the idea at the request of a farmer friend. The farmer was all too aware of the dangers of entering a grain bin, something he did dozens of times a year. He knew that Ben, a University of Nebraska electrical engineering student, had experience with robotics. The question was could he come up with something that could eliminate some if not all bin entries.
  The 2 Johnsons came up with the Grain Weevil, a compact robot in a box with two 6-in. drive augers mounted under the box. “Figuring out how to build a robot that could drive across grain was our biggest challenge,” recalls Ben. “After many months of trial and error, we came up with the auger solution. You should have seen our faces the first time we saw it move across a pile of grain!”
  As the auger churns through the grain, it breaks up crusts and spreads the grain out. Once they had the Grain Weevil moving across the grain, the next big challenge was extending battery life for more working time in the bin. They are now up to more than 2 hrs., have increased the motor power, and have more aggressive augers.
  A continuing challenge is to make what is now a remote-controlled device autonomous. “We need to get to where the farmer in his truck can hit the ‘easy’ button and have the Grain Weevil do its job,” says Ben.
  The Johnsons have been demonstrating the Grain Weevil to farmers and getting feedback. They are working on the next prototype. In the next stage, they will be getting Grain Weevils out to farms and into grain bins.
  They have been working with 2 new product incubator programs. Ag Launch Incubator Program 365 out of Memphis, Tenn., is helping them design the on-farm trials. Nebraska’s Combine Incubator program is helping them find farmers to work with and gather feedback.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Grain Weevil Corporation (ph 402 604-1112;;

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #2