To the best of my knowledge, when we built them in 1989, these were the first tunnel/natural ventilated houses constructed in the state,” explained Rodney Bowden at his family farm near Clinton, NC. “We’ve always had good results in the buildings, but the recent upgrades have improved our performance.”
Rodney added two GrowerSELECT 54″ AirStorm fans per house to increase airspeed and reduce the ambient temperature. The durable AirStorm 54″ fans feature a fiberglass housing, plastic shutters, and a stainless steel prop.
The next step in the upgrade was to replace the original feed pans with GrowerSELECT Classic Flood feeders. Rodney said, “Installing the new pans helps minimize wasted feed when the birds are young and has improved my feed conversion during grow out.”
These investments have paid off with an increased bird performance and helped Rodney settle in first place among his group several times since the upgrade.
Click GrowerSELECT for more information about our quality feeding and ventilation systems.
Management expert Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” We believe this is particularly true when it comes to developing, improving and testing ventilation fans.
Hog Slat’s AirStorm and Windstorm ventilation fans are designed and tested using an Airflow Performance Test Chamber, or as it more commonly known, a Wind Tunnel. Measuring 10′ x 10′ x 28′ long, the Wind Tunnel was constructed according to AMCA standard 210 and installed at the Clinton, NC facility in May 2015.
Fans to be tested are fixed in place on one end of the Wind Tunnel.
A 48″ axial vane fan, powered by a 20 hp motor, located on the opposite end of the tunnel, forces air into the chamber.
After passing through a series of mesh straighteners, the air is then forced through a nozzle wall consisting of metal cones that can be opened and closed to change available square inches of space.
Two devices, called Differential Pressure Transmitters, measure and record the static pressure differential on each side of the nozzle wall. To maintain precise accuracy, the transmitters are calibrated monthly and are also returned to the manufacturer for a factory re-calibration once per year.
One of the key features of Hog Slat’s test chamber is the automated recording system that records data without any manual input from an operator. The Wind Tunnel is ramped up from zero to maximum static pressure while up to two data points per second are recorded in real time. This automated recording system is a custom program developed by a team from Hog Slat’s engineering group. This allows Wind Tunnel technician, Matt Parker, to supply the engineering group with a complete fan performance graph instead of limiting the information to only a few selected data points.
Lead engineer for ventilation products, Tyler Marion explains; “Having a Wind Tunnel in-house allows us to quickly break down a fan by critical components and test multiple variables quickly. We are able to test different motor/fan combinations, shutter designs, and cone styles to constantly improve the fans Hog Slat delivers to our customers.”
Hog Slat’s Wind Tunnel is not only used for fan testing and development, it also serves as a Quality Control check on products received from suppliers. The photo above shows a galvanized prop mounted in standard fan ring. In this case, the initial run of product from the vendor is being checked against the approved sample. This testing continues for each production run to ensure the same performance levels from lot to lot. QC checks are also run for completed fans pulled from inventory and checked against published standards for airflow, CFM/watt and motor amperage.
A new addition to our fan testing equipment is the device called a Thrust Tester. The Thrust Tester measures the amount of thrust (lbf or pounds of force) a stir or circulation fan develops. It also measures the thrust efficiency ratio of a fan by dividing the lbf by kWs used. Although the Thrust Test is a stand-alone unit, it is tied into the Wind Tunnel transmitters to record the data. Matt also records centerline velocity at distances five times the prop diameter.
To see more on Hog Slat’s complete line of AirStorm fiberglass and Windstorm galvanized ventilation fans go to www.hogslat.com or call 800-949-4647.
“These chicken houses are my family’s life; they’re our investment,” stated Wesley Mewborn. “As a new grower, I trusted the folks at Hog Slat to provide the right equipment and follow up service. So far, they haven’t let me down.”
After spending 13 years in the retail hardware business, Wesley, and his wife, Robin purchased land near Kenansville, NC and constructed six, 46′ x 600′ broiler houses in Oct 2014.
A Hired Hand 4000 computer controls a total of 14 52″ galvanized Windstorm fans in each house along with winter air inlets. The arrival of warm weather begins the transition to evaporative cooling by opening the tunnel curtains and powering on the EVAP Cooling system.
The houses feature two GrowerSELECT feed lines using Classic Flood pan feeders with extended fins. Water is provided by four drinker lines regulated with a Plasson Water-On-Demand system.
“Raising chickens really just comes down to providing good air, feed, and water,” Wesley explained. “The more time you spend in the houses making sure that happens, the better the final results. The equipment in my houses provide me with the tools to be successful.”
This spring, the Mewborn family added six more broiler houses to the farm. “We really didn’t change much,” Wesley said, “other than moving the brood area to the middle.” We plan on installing the Hired Hand Farm Manager system to provide real-time remote monitoring. It will give me the ability to check conditions in the houses and even make changes when I’m not there. It ties into the Farm Alarm and notifies me when there’s a problem.”
“Chicken farming is a great lifestyle for a family. My kids, Layla and Macy, come to the farm every day, and that means a lot. Robin and I feel like we are building a good business and good family.”