Multi-Bale Handling Unit for Efficient Logistics
Grisso, Robert “Bobby”
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This paper presents a design for a feedstock logistics system to supply a bioenergy plant located in the Southeast USA, specifically Piedmont, a physiographic region covering part of five states (VA, NC, SC, GA, and AL). The design uses a perennial grass (switchgrass) as the feedstock. Harvest is done with a round baler, and round bales are stored in single-layer ambient storage in satellite storage locations. New technology, 20-bale racks, was designed as the multi-bale handling unit. The analysis shows how proper design of the interactions between the several unit operations in a “logistics chain” can be used to minimize average delivered cost for the feedstock required for 24/7 operation. Racks are loaded at the satellite storage and delivered by hauling contractors hired by the plant and controlled by a “Feedstock Manager” at the plant to insure approximately the same number of loads are received each day. Single-bale handling at the plant is eliminated, thus the truck unload time is reduced and truck productivity (tons/day) is increased. At-plant handling and storage in 20-bale racks increases plant receiving facility productivity, and gives a reduction in plant cost to supply a continuous steam of material for 24/7 operation.