North Dakota Patent of the Month – December 2022

Agnew Steel, Inc., a family company, was founded with the intention of developing grain spreaders that make the process easier on the farmers and yield better results. Better spreading the grain within its bin ensures the whole batch will better aerate, cool, and dry. 

Conventional grain spreaders are limited to a particular flow rate. Any deviation from this rate pretty much guarantees the grain will spill and pile in the center of the bin, preventing it from properly airing out. Agnew Steel’s most recently patented design is adaptable, able to handle the desired rate of any grain.

Their grain spreading design uses gravity and a flow-control ring positioned just below the grain bin opening. A cone is suspended below the ring with a series of springs which create a variable opening between the cone and bottom of the ring. Using springs, which move and bounce back, can adapt the size of the opening based on the weight of the grain.

Without a variable opening, the grain spreader cannot distribute grain evenly if it pours with a different flow rate. The springs allow for self-regulation and adjustment so that the grain regularly pours in an even dispersion. For instance, if there is little to no grain in the control ring, the restoring force of the springs will hold the cone as far up as it can go, sealing or minimizing the gap so that it flows at an even but slow rate. As the grain piles up in the ring, it forces the springs to expand and the opening to increase, adjusting for more grain and a higher flow rate while maintaining balance.

The gravity-based design means the grain spreader requires no electricity and has exceptionally low maintenance requirements. This innovative design improves upon harvest outcomes and reduces the labor spent on evenly distributing grain.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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