Anyone who transports dry grain (DDG) knows how difficult it can be to transport this product. Its low bulk density makes loading trucks and railcars a constant challenge, while bumpy, wet country trips can turn DDG into a solid brick once it reaches its destination. Anyone who has ever sledgehammered a train car endlessly to get stuck DDGs to flow out the door can attest to the difficulty of unloading DDGs. By understanding the common problems encountered with dry milled grains and how to solve them, you can make the DDG loading and unloading processes more efficient and help avoid the harmful effects of heat, moisture or mold.
The potential for delays and damage to wagons when handling DDGs has even led some railway companies to ban the use of their hopper wagons for transporting DDGs. Fortunately, standardizing operating procedures and using the right DDG transport tools can help reduce these problems in your operation. Plants can also benefit from advice and implementation from a trusted bulk flow specialist such as Pneumat SystemsSpecial equipment for loading railway wagonslike RailSpreader, exactlyEquipment for unloading trucks and railway wagonslike the HopperPopper.
What are DDGs?
Distillers' Dried Grains or DDG is a nutrient-rich byproduct of distillation or dry millingBiofuel ethanol production. They are used as a high-protein food ingredient and are often corn-based, although DDGs can also be made from rice, wheat, barley, or other grains.
The popularity of DDG asFodder for cattle and livestockis growing and requires new tools and technologies to minimize the difficulties of transporting these goods in rail cars and cargo ships. Farmers consider DDG to be an excellent ingredient in the production of high-quality forage and it is routinely used in mixtures for:
- border / aquaculture
Logistics specialists must be careful when inspecting DDG to determine if mold growth or other damage has occurred during shipment, as substandard feed ingredients can be harmful to livestock health.
5 common challenges when transporting DDGs
Although DDG is an excellent source of protein for animals, problems can arise during transport and storage of DDG that significantly affect the efficiency and profitability of each shipment. You can minimize the time and money spent on solving DDG logistics problems by being aware of common DDG transit problems and implementing practical solutions as they arise.
1. Gain weight
Depending on the exact formulation, DDGs have a bulk density of about 27-35 lb/ft3. Combined with the steep drop angle, which can range from 30° to 45° or more, it's easy to see why loading wagons can be so difficult. When rail cars are delivered underloaded, transportation costs skyrocket. Loading more DDG into their railcars may require workers to manually load the railcars by pushing the material back and forth with shovels. This challenging, dirty work exposes workers to safety risks and leads to poor morale and retention problems. By implementing aHigh density wagon loading systemLike the RailSpreader, loading devices can save hundreds of dollars per car while reducing dust and improving worker safety.
2. DDG variability
There can be many differences for different DDG formulations, and the properties of distiller's dried grains produced at one ethanol plant can be significantly different from those produced at another. High fat formulations are known to have difficulty solidifying in storage containers, while low fat formulations often flow more easily. DDG operators must pay attention to many factors that affect product quality and fluidity, including:
- room temperature
- dryer temperature
- Moisture content at the exit from the dryer
- grain particle size
- Storage tank design
- bulk density
- Percentages of condensed solubles
3. DDG tackiness and hardening
Stickiness and hardening are two of the most common problems in the transport of DDG. The dry particles that make up DDG can stick together during transport if moisture builds up inside the truck or railcar, especially when loaded hot. Eventually, as DDGs continue to absorb water vapor from the atmosphere, the individual particles begin to coalesce into solid clumps. Removing heavily crusted DDG can take many laborious hours with a shovel and pickaxe.
When DDGs are solidified in a tank or silo, deposits, bridging, pitting or plugging may occur. In these cases, visit aa reliable cleaning team like TeamPneumatcan be justified. Many operators decide to buyPneumat’s BinDrillIDual Impact BinWhip sustavThis allows you to quickly remove stuck DDGs from your tanks and keep your system running at 100% capacity. Make sure your team is adequately trained to use these tools safely.
In general,The moisture content in DDGs must remain below 11%.to prevent product clumping, which can lead to costly and time-consuming problems when unloading rail cars, or spoilage, which can lead to product loss. However, even heavily clogged DDGs can be unloaded relatively easily in suitably equipped facilities. Truck drivers have been known to travel miles to unload their cargo at the facilitiesequipped with air jet discharge technology. By penetrating the probe deep into the packed material and releasing powerful bursts of compressed air, sticky DDGs can be re-liquefied for rapid discharge without poking, prodding, tapping or poking.
Removal of wrapped DDG requires time, energy and resources and increases transportation costs. Several practical railcar and truck loading and unloading tools from Pneumat Systems can help overcome pile-up problems and help DDG shippers increase productivity and significantly reduce transportation costs.
Unpredictable environmental conditions and temperature fluctuations can take their toll on DDGs, but any measures that can be taken to keep the product cool and dry will help ensure that loading and unloading runs as smoothly as possible. Also, managing the shipping process in a way that limits the amount of time DDGs can remain in the shipping hopper or storage tank can go a long way in maintaining product fluidity.
4. Mycotoxins and mold
Mycotoxins are natural toxic compounds found in food and can cause a number of adverse health effects. Like any other bulk grain product, DDGs are susceptible to the growth of mold spores and mycotoxins, which are indicative of spoilage or contamination - and DDGs exhibit a number of unique risk factors.
According to nutritionist dr. Max Hawkins can mycotoxinsThe concentration within DDG is three times strongercompared to other cereals. Reducing the growth of mycotoxins in DDG depends on proper grain storage and prompt, controlled deliveries.
DDG contamination during transport can be a costly challenge for your logistics company or feed processing facility. Adequate ventilation and temperature control systems are essential to maintain low moisture levels and prevent mycotoxin growth in DDGs.
5. Delays in loading and unloading
Errors, misunderstandings and improper handling can cause delays in the transport and handling of DDGs. The obstacles involved in loading and unloading rail cars can be circumvented with specially designed DDG handling equipment such as thisRailSpreaderorHopperPopper. Ethanol plants, feed mills and integrators around the world have benefitedAdvice from experienced bulk flow expertsabout available tools. Equipment installations that enable faster and more efficient loading and unloading of DDG can return a lot of money to a facility and usually generate a positive return on investment very quickly.
The best DDG charging and discharging tools
Flow issues and other problems with DDG transportation have long been a source of frustration for railcar loading and unloading professionals. Low-load wagons or time and energy spent working with hardened material can add significantly to shipping costs. Companies such as delivery and logistics providers, feed companies, pet food processors, feed mills and anyone involved in getting DDG from point A to point B must constantly assess these challenges and invest in equipment and plan to overcome these obstacles.
Pneumat Systems prides itself on developing systems that speed up the transportation of DDG, reduce product spoilage or damage, while increasing worker safety.Contact Pneumat Systems nowLearn more about our DDG transportation solutions so you can keep DDGs moving while fulfilling your important role in feeding the world.🅿
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