The Aussie designed and made bunker sweeper

Jul 15, 2018

Australian Bulk Handling Review

After three years in research and development, the BunkerSweeper from Kilic Engineering is now available to the market, writes Paula Wallace.

It’s taken the team at Kilic Engineering just a few short years to come up with a novel and effective design for a bunker sweeper that will slash operational costs and make the task of moving materials from the bunker to truck more efficient than ever before.

Managing director, Jason Kilic told ABHR: “This is the fourth iteration of this product… it’s something we’ve heavily invested in.

Jason Kilic with the BunkerSweeper – designed and made in South Australia by Kilic Engineering.

“It was done in-house with all our own people, we pretty much collectively used our knowledge and expertise in the grain industry”

“Of course things always look simpler and cheaper on paper,” he says. “It is somewhat different from what we first had in mind. It was going to be more of a slave device and the intent was to couple it with a stacker conveyor.”

The more the Kilic team tested the product, the more they released it needed to be self-propelled, independently operated and manoeuverable.

“That was what we learnt from the extensive trials we did,” said Mr Kilic.

The final BunkerSweeper, with a design capacity of 500 tph (18,000 bushels), features a single-person platform where an operator can easily control the machine.

“The controls also allow you to swing it back and forth, you can lift it up and down. It’s almost like a four wheel drive, where you have rear and front height adjustment,” said Mr Kilic.

With much interest coming from the midwest of the United States, Kilic Engineering is aiming to get a unit “on the ground” there this year.

“There’s nothing exactly the same on the market,” said Mr Kilic. “There are some similar products but they are very agricultural in comparison, they don’t have the flexibility our machine has or the maneuverability.”

Quite simply, the BunkerSweeper takes product from a stockpile or ground pile and moves it up an elevator onto a conveyor and then into a truck or onto another conveyor.

“The end game is getting it into a truck or container… the reason we’ve designed it is to eliminate the need for a front end loader,” said Mr Kilic.

“When we studied the operational habits of bunker sites, they were heavily reliant on front end loaders, which are expensive, involve big capital outlay and come with costs in repair, maintenance and fuel.

“We wanted to come up with a cheaper alternative, something that was easy to use, safe to use and specific to a range of bulk material products,” he said, adding that the range of products include wheat, corn, soybean meal, fertiliser and sand to name a few.

Mr Kilic said using a “back of an envelope calculation”, operators could save up to 50% on operational costs.

The BunkerSweeper was designed as a cheaper alternative to front end loaders.

“You can either connect it directly to a power supply, plug it into mains or at more remote sites, where they don’t have power, they can use a diesel generator to power it,” he said.

The machine has two powerful augers that draw the material into the centre, into the elevator throat, from where it is delivered up the middle via a bucket elevator before being discharged onto a swing conveyor.

“That swing conveyor has a 90 degree range, so can swing from side to side,” said Mr Kilic.

All the research and development on the BunkerSweeper was done in South Australia, with trials conducted in New South Wales.

“It was done in-house with all our own people, we pretty much collectively used our knowledge and expertise in the grain industry,” said Mr Kilic.

“We also sought feedback and input from our customers in the grain industry and spoke to them about operational requirements and their wants, likes and dislikes.”

While there is interest in the BunkerSweeper in Australia, Kilic Engineering has its sights set on the US market.

“We’ve already sparked a lot of interest in the US and we do have customers over there wanting it now,” said Mr Kilic.

The Bunker Sweeper is fully manufactured in South Australia by Kilic and can be produced within six weeks.

“We’re just going into production now and the good news is that we’ve sold three units already,” said Mr Kilic, adding that they will be delivered to the customer’s site in November.

Australian Bulk Handling Review, July 2018

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