AN innovative Dunstan chaser bin designed to work on 12m controlled traffic systems has been named the Machine of the Year award at the 2013 Wimmera Machinery Field Days.
It features a hydraulically controlled swing up grain table that bridges the gap between bin and header, allowing both units to remain on standard ‘tram tracks’ greatly reducing compaction.
Previously chaser bins created additional tracks as they positioned close enough to headers to line up with unloading augurs.
Dunstan director Craig Miller said the award was a great start to the company's 50th year of production.
"Dunstan was a pioneer in paddock grain handling. It's very satisfying to receive acknowledgement that we’re still leading the way," Mr Miller said.
"Other manufacturers have tried to solve the 12m controlled traffic problem but without any real success. The beauty of our solution is that it is so simple. And it can be easily modified to accommodate any header."
Factory manager Chris Barker said there were two significant features in the design.
"The grain table is quite large at around three metres square to make it easier for the header driver," Mr Barker said.
"But the main advantage of the bigger table is that it distributes grain more evenly in the bin. A splitter divides the flow so that it doesn't all land in the centre.
"The table angle is also really important to make sure grain flows smoothly. To get that right while remaining clear of the augur, we had to lower the side of the bin a little.
"The other issue was how to shift the grain across to the other side of the bin. Normally, the augur dumps it in the centre and it flows each way but we had to find a way of moving it."
Chris and his team came up with an ingenious solution. Two bubble augurs splayed at about 45 degrees to both axes of the bin collect grain from under the table and move it across to the other side and also towards each end.
The result is very even filling of the tandem axle, 25 tonne capacity machine.
Wheels on the Dunstan bin displayed at Horsham were set at 120” but Chris Barker explained that 3m settings are also available. "This model was set up for a customer who runs American gear but we can build them either way."
Mr Barker said another less obvious feature of the design was the way the table attaches to the bin.
"We were concerned that if we welded the attachment brackets to the bin sides, it could cause cracking because the table wouldn't be able to flex - you're always going to get some uneven distribution of grain on the table.
"Instead, we've used Huck bolts that allow a bit of give, and we've had absolutely no problems during testing," he said.
"Much of the credit for this award should go to my team. We have regular think tanks to look at all development work. Everybody is involved. Then we always reconvene after three days and people have had time to think about the issues.
"It's a great way of getting all those ‘one percenters’ into the mix. That's why our gear works so well."