In the Shop
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
In The Shop: It Worked For Me
Sep 12, 2010
I can't promise it will work for you, but adding a "ground chain" to a combine reduced how often I had to clean windows on a combine while harvesting soybeans.
In a previous life I operated a combine for 16 harvests. I can't remember where I picked up the idea, but I decided to experiment with "grounding" the combine frame. I bolted a length of light chain to the combine's lower frame so it dragged on the ground between rows. The theory was that all the belts and pulleys and spinning components create static electricity that builds up in the combine's frame, isolated from the ground by the rubber tires and poly skid shoes on the grain harvesting platform. Since static electricity "attracts" dust, the theory was that removing the electrical charge would reduce the build-up on the machine's windows of fine, powdery dust.
The first year I tried my experiment, I was skeptical. I still had to clean the cab windows daily. Then one afternoon I noticed dust was building up on not only the cab windows, but the entire machine. I had to stop twice that afternoon and wipe down the windows to be able to see well. That evening, while fueling and servicing the machine, I noticed that my "ground chain" had come off. I installed another chain and next day went back to cleaning windows only once a day.
Adding a ground chain didn't cure all my dust problems, but for me, I could see a visible reduction in the amount of fine, dry, "clingy" dust that accumulated on not only cab windows, but the entire combine.
If you try adding a ground chain, be sure to grind off all the paint to bare metal where you fasten the chain to the frame to ensure good contact. And, I never noticed a big difference in dust reduction when harvesting corn, probably because the higher amount of stalk residue between the rows interfered with good chain-to-soil contact.
I know it sounds a little goofy, but...that's my opinion and I'm stickin' to it.