February 23, 2024

While farmers have to perform many difficult tasks, caring for grain stored in grain bins (also known as granaries) is especially daunting, not to mention dangerous. That’s where the grain weevil granary management robot comes in.

First, why do farmers have to go into the dumpster?

For one thing, the piled grain needs to be leveled periodically to allow for good air circulation. Crusts and bridges that form on its surface must also be broken up, and particles that accumulate along the walls must also be pulled down. Finally, when the grain is removed from the silo, it needs to be pushed into the extraction auger.

Getting into grain bins and shoveling grain by hand is not only hot and difficult work, there are risks of getting trapped or buried in grain, getting stuck in augers, and developing lung disease from inhaling grain dust.

With these dangers in mind, a farmer friend of Chad and Ben Johnson challenged the duo to create a robot that could do the job. Chad is a science educator living in Aurora, Nebraska, and Ben is now an electrical engineer. Their response to the challenge was a robot known as a “cereal weevil.”

From left: Cereal Weevil Team members Travis Vanderheyden, Chad Johnson, Ben Johnson and Zane Zent
From left: Cereal Weevil Team members Travis Vanderheyden, Chad Johnson, Ben Johnson and Zane Zent

Grain Weevil Beetle

The square-shaped robot, which measures about 20 by 20 inches (508 mm) and weighs 50 pounds (23 kg), redistributes stored grain by moving on two electric augers. According to reports, its battery can be used for 90 minutes to two hours on a 20-minute charge.

Chad tells us that it currently works as fast as a person with a shovel, and is controlled remotely through human-initiated autonomy—meaning it can run motion patterns on its own, but the main decisions are still made by a human operator. The hope is that by the end of this summer, the robots will have reached Level 2 autonomy, performing all tasks under the supervision of farmers.

“We’re on track for a soft launch late this fall, but we’re complying with product safety regulations before a broad release,” Chad said. “The grain silo is classified as a hazardous location because of the risk of dust explosions, so the grain weevil has to go through stringent safety regulations.” testing. The final price will be determined after all safety certifications are completed to ensure we can produce a quality, safe product.”

You can see grain weevils in action in the video below.

no guide display

source: Grain Weevil Beetle