HOG SLAT BLOG – U.S.

North Carolina Broiler Farm Retro Improves Performance 0

Rodney and Brett Bowden with new Airstorm 54" fan

Rodney and Brett Bowden with new Airstorm 54″ fan

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.

GrowerSELECT Classic Flood feed pans

GrowerSELECT Classic Flood feed pans

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.”

Bowden-control-pan(web)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.  

Hog Slat’s Wind Tunnel Key to Constant Fan Improvement 0

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 Wind Tunnel

Hog Slat’s Wind Tunnel

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.

Air Forcing fan powered by a 20 Hp motor

Air Forcing fan powered by a 20 HP motor

A 48″ axial vane fan, powered by a 20 hp motor, located on the opposite end of the tunnel, forces air into the chamber.

Nozzle wall

Nozzle Wall

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.

data transmitters feed

Pressure transmitters feed data to the automated recording system.

 

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.

Technician Matt Parker views display screen readouts.

Technician Matt Parker views display screen readouts.

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.”

QC testing fan blades.

QC testing fan blades

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.

Matt tests Windstorm 36" Box Fan

Matt tests a Windstorm 36″ Box Fan using the Thrust Tester.

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.

 

North Carolina Chicken Farm Builds Family and Business 0

Mewborn farm entrance sign

Mewborn farm entrance sign

“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.”

Wesley with Hog Slat service tech Dewayne Dunn

Wesley with Hog Slat service tech Dewayne Dunn

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.

52" Windstorm Fans

52″ Windstorm Fans

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.

GrowerSELECT feed line and Plasson ON-DEMAND drinker lines.

GrowerSELECT feed line and Plasson drinker line.

 

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.”

Farm with recent six house addition

Farm with recent six house addition in the background.

 

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.”

Wesley and Lacy

Wesley and Macy

 

“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.”

 

Ag Evaporative Cooling Systems Compared – Part 1, Troughs 0

Most commercial broiler farms utilize an evaporative system to provide cooling during hot weather.  Although there is no substitute for regular maintenance and cleaning, choosing the right system can reduce repairs.  We compare several key features of Hog Slat's Evap System against competitive brands.

Most commercial broiler farms utilize an evaporative system to provide cooling during hot weather. Although there is no substitute for regular maintenance and cleaning, choosing the right system can reduce repairs.  In part one, we compare Hog Slat’s trough design and features against competitive brands.

GreaterCapacity-600x300

Hog Slat’s Evap System features a square trough to increase the water reservoir by over 24% when compared to 8″ PVC pipe. This extra capacity allows water draining from the pads to be collected for re-circulation without overflowing. In a typical 80′ system this adds up to 168 gallons compared to only 128 gallons for an 8″ diameter PVC trough.

The trough cover is designed with more inches of open area to permit faster drainage away from the bottom on the pads.  If bottom of the pads remain saturated, they can get soft and in extreme cases sag and fall out of the system.

The Hog Slat trough cover is designed with more inches of open area to permit faster drainage away from the bottom of the pads. If the pad bottoms  remain saturated, they can get soft and in extreme cases sag and fall out of the system.  We show a comparison of  the amount of open area per linear foot of trough.

The most secure method for supporting the trough is to place the bottom directly on a concrete base.  This type of installation eliminates the need for support brackets.  The flat bottom of the Evap System sits directly on a concrete pad without additional supports.  Troughs with round bottoms such as a pipe or U-shaped troughs require the use brackets to hold them on the concrete.  The bottom doesn't sit directly on the concrete, with damage to the trough resulting from the brackets cutting into the plastic.

The most secure method for supporting the trough is to place the bottom directly on a concrete base. This type of installation eliminates the need for support brackets. The flat bottom of the Evap System sits directly on a concrete pad without additional supports.
Troughs with round bottoms such as a pipe or U-shaped troughs require the use brackets to hold them on the concrete. The bottom doesn’t sit directly on the concrete, with damage to the trough resulting from the brackets cutting into the plastic.

For installation requiring brackets, the Evap System design provides better support.  The heavy Bi-Fold bracket is a full four inches wide and spreads the bearing load over a greater area compare to single leg brackets.  The bracket also features two support legs instead of one to prevent twisting.

For installation requiring brackets, the Hog Slat design provides better support. The heavy Bi-Fold bracket is a full four inches wide and spreads the bearing load over a greater area compared to narrow  brackets. The bracket also features two support legs instead of one to prevent twisting.

Hog Slat's wide 4" bracket allows mounting on a 4x4 post when building framing lumber is not available or system is installed away from the building.

Hog Slat’s wide 4″ bracket allows mounting on a 4×4 post when building framing lumber is not available or system is installed away from the building.

Trough repairs are simple and leak free by using two couplers.  Repairs to round bottom trough is time-consuming and often leaks.

Trough repairs are simple and leak free by using two couplers. Repairs to round bottom trough are time-consuming and often results in leaks.

See Part 2, Pad & Fasteners

See Part 3, Pumps & Sumps

Ag Evaporative Cooling Systems Compared – Part 2, Pad and Fasteners 0

Most commercial broiler farms utilize an evaporative system to provide cooling during hot weather.  Although there is no substitute for regular maintenance and cleaning, choosing the right system can reduce repairs.  We compare several key features of Hog Slat's Evap System against competitive brands.

Most commercial broiler farms utilize an evaporative system to provide cooling during hot weather. Although there is no substitute for regular maintenance and cleaning, choosing the right system can reduce repairs. In part 2, we compare pad, distribution and fasteners of Hog Slat’s Evap System against competitive brands.

The Evap System features a large capacity spray bar with more holes per running foot to reduce pad streaking.  Attaching the sections with bell connectors eliminates the dry areas in the pad common with coupled spray bars.

The Evap System features a large capacity spray bar with more holes per running foot to reduce pad streaking. Attaching the sections with bell connectors eliminates the dry areas in the pad common with coupled spray bars.

Pad saturation is enhanced because the top deflector angles the water flow to the outside of the pad.  By directing the water to the outside surface, the water is pulled through the pad wetting the full 6" width.  Designs with the water deposited in the middle of the pad may not utilize the entire pad.

Pad saturation is enhanced because the top deflector angles the water flow to the outside of the pad. By directing the water to the outside surface, the water is pulled through the pad wetting the full 6″ width. Designs with the water deposited in the middle of the pad may not utilize the entire pad.

The Hog Slat system features three robust, easy-to-remove, Tri-Knob nuts with brass inserts to hold each aluminum pad retainer in place.  Each section of the deflector and pad retainer is joined with connector clips to prevent dips or bows in the installation.

The Hog Slat system features three robust, easy-to-remove, Tri-Knob nuts with brass inserts to hold each aluminum pad retainer in place. Each section of the deflector and pad retainer is joined with connector clips to prevent dips or bows in the installation.

Manufactured from heavyweight Saturation Grade Kraft paper for high absorption rate and glued with proprietary resins mixed with additives for fire resistance and fungus protection. H2PAD pad is then triple cured in precisely controlled ovens and cut to exact lengths.  3/4" ProTec edging extends pad life by protecting against UV and mechanical damage.  Additional ProTec coating is available on the pad bottoms to guard against premature damage.

Manufactured from heavyweight Saturation Grade Kraft paper for high absorption rate and glued with proprietary resins mixed with additives for fire resistance and fungus protection. H2PAD pad is then triple cured in precisely controlled ovens and cut to exact lengths. 3/4″ ProTec edging extends pad life by protecting against UV and mechanical damage. Additional ProTec coating is available on the pad bottoms to guard against premature damage.

See Part 1, Troughs

See Part 3, Pumps & Sumps