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Grain Vacuum Makes Hauling a One-Man Job


Grain Vacuum Makes Hauling a One-Man Job first appeared in the 2013 Farming Smarter magazine.

Farmers hated feathering equipment when time is on the line. One of those nuisances is balancing the grain to air ratio using a vacuum system.

“We used to put the nozzle into the pile of grain and carefully monitor the ratio of grain and air. You had to be so careful to make sure you had enough airflow,” said Bob Sonntag, REM president.

“It’s not finicky like the previous GrainVacs. If the semi is 12 feet from the bin, you can load it in 12 minutes. But customers are telling us they’re getting terrific capacity at 40 feet and even 60 feet.”

Farmers hate feathering equipment when time is on the line. One of those nuisances is balancing the grain to air ratio using a vacuum system.

Sonntag said the high-capacity vacuum turns grain handling into a one-man operation, making it an important piece of equipment for producers running the farm themselves without a helper.

Unlike previous REM GrainVac models, which evolved gradually in small incremental improvements, this third generation VRX is a totally new design from the ground up.

The original unit from 1985 was a 540 r.p.m. machine with an eight inch auger intended only as a clean-up machine. The second generation 1026, launched in 1987, was a 1,000 r.p.m. machine capable of serious grain handling.

“The VRX incorporates new technology we’ve developed in the past two years. The biggest change is the blower. It’s still a centrifugal suction fan, but it’s totally new. It’s a different configuration, different blade shape and blade design to reduce wear on the bearings. The new bearing assembly allows higher r.p.m. and that means you can move more grain.”

He said the new bearing assembly reduces wear on the blower, which is a significant factor because the blower has the highest maintenance cost of any component on any grain vacuum machine.

REM tests show the blower should last 25 percent longer than previous models. Sonntag said company engineers weren’t able to get it to fail even after running the bearing cartridge on a test stand for two years.

The new system is also significantly quieter than previous models. Farmers attending VRX demos earlier this summer say it’s quieter than the tractor running it.

“The vacuum has a built-in suction modifier called an air throttle so the machine achieves optimum performance in any situation: high humidity, any grain type, any condition of grain, muddy or rutted surfaces, heat and cold. It handles anything you might ever encounter.”

According to REM, the air throttle regulates suction according to how much grain is flowing in the system. A rising air throttle indicator means it can handle more grain. When the indicator is hanging straight down, it means the machine is maxed out.

The air throttle also allows operators to manually pre-set the system for the amount of suction they want in specific situations.

REM has applied anti-seize compound on all shaft-to-bearing mating surfaces to make repairs easier.

The auger is chrome plated to reduce grain friction and increase longevity. The gearbox mounting system eliminates the bearings, flanges and chain couplers normally associated with grain vacuum augers.

Instead, the gearbox is slam mated to the bottom auger with a simple drive dog. These floating drive dogs are spring loaded so they align themselves. The bottom auger can be replaced in five minutes, according to REM.

Auger discharge height is 15 feet. Hydraulic requirement is two gallons per minute at 2,000 pounds per square inch. Minimum tractor power is 85 horsepower.