The grain industry has been around since the days of old. With the emergence of the Industrial Revolution, new inventions entered the grain industry and transformed operations. Mechanized equipment, like the grain elevator, began to automate processes, increase productivity and reduce severe safety hazards for workers.
Working with grain has the potential to be deadly, especially when grain is in motion. The most common safety hazards include but are not limited to falls from heights, fires and explosions from grain dust accumulation, amputations and serious injuries from handling grain equipment, and suffocation from engulfment in grain bins. With the development of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) in the 1970s and 1980s, the U.S. began to promote a culture of safety within hazardous industries.
To prevent deadly occurrences from happening, the grain industry has increasingly been taking steps to reduce grain handling and storage hazards. Improving efficiency in grain facilities through automation is becoming a growing industry trend, and one driver behind the trend is automating processes. By automating operations, grain facilities are able to reduce the number of human interactions with grain, increase production, track inventory more easily, and reduce expenses.
Over a century and a half later, mechanized equipment and process instrumentation is now an essential part of the grain industry, from planting and growing to harvesting, handling and milling grain. While the industry’s challenges are still the same as those of nineteenth century grain operations, process instrumentation has truly transformed the industry.