Every once in while you run across a product that is such a simple answer to a problem that you just have to say “Wow, why didn’t somebody think of that a long time ago?”
The severe winter of 2010 had us looking for an answer to monitor feed levels in bulk bins. Remember that winter? Record snow, cold, windy…feed outages were a real problem. Nobody can or should climb an icy ladder in that kind of weather. There are some existing solutions like load cells and sonar systems, but we were looking for a simpler, less expensive way to check feed levels and protect against feed outages.
So we started looking into a ways to accomplish feed level monitoring…electronic sensors mounted in the bin walls, electric sensor cables hung in the bins, sonar bouncing devices from a fish finder…
One of the biggest problems that we kept coming back to was that all these methods required power be run to the bins to operate them. Extra expense……harder to install…more of a chance for break downs and failure to occur.
Then along comes the Bin Flag….
A simple, mechanical device that uses a paddle inside the bin to rotate a sight cylinder to indicate when material is present. Primarily used in industry applications to monitor levels in hopper for materials like sand, gravel, plastic beads…… it is the perfect device to measure feed levels for swine and poultry bulk bins.
It meets all the criteria we had established
1) No electricity to operate
2) Installs from the outside of the bin and you don’t need to lift the bin to install
3) Low cost
4) Flexible: basic method would be install a unit just above the cone to know when it is critical to order feed. Producers also have the option of adding additional Bin Flags for more advanced monitoring.
5) Very visible: big added bonus. You can visually see the Bin Flag from up to 200 feet away. You know in a glance from across the yard how much feed is in the bins….drive by a site and check feed levels from your truck seat. It doesn’t have to be cold for that to be a bonus.
There are more details online….go to http://www.hogslat.com/bin-flag-feed-level-indicator to order today.
There’s even a way to hook up Bin Flag to your existing alarm to call you when feed levels drop to a critical level. We’ll talk about that in the next blog or so.