One aspect of the mobile seed trailer I have not yet written a lot about is our collaboration with UBC engineering students to design and build a seed cleaner for us. They are working from existing concepts to build a seed cleaner which is,
- Effective at cleaning a wide range of seeds
- Easy to build using readily available materials (so it can be replicated and fabricated on farm)
- Cost effective
- Easy to transport
It has been an interesting journey and I am learning a lot about the challenge it takes to design a machine!
The group, calling themselves UBSeed (so very clever), are working on air column style designs, using air flow to separate lighter seeds from heavier seeds. There is a lot of calculating and modeling to be done as well as some trial and error – and it has been really intriguing to see this some together.
Today when I went to visit they had made some great progress with a new design that was doing a good job of separating lighter seed from heavier seed and was also completely avoiding any materials being sucked in to the vacuum cleaner that drives the process (which was a real challenge previously)
Another thing the group showed me today was some of the modeling they had been doing to better understand airflow dynamics and patterns in the designs they were working with. It was great to see how they could use this modeling to help them with the design and where to make adjustments. They also did a model of the zig zag seed separator.
Here is the zig-zag separator model: