‘Grain Weevil’ gadget prevents grain bin accidents

'Grain Weevil' prevents people from stepping inside a grain bin
'Grain Weevil' prevents people from stepping inside a grain bin
Published: Jul. 13, 2023 at 5:42 PM CDT|Updated: 10 hours ago
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OMAHA, Neb. (KSNB) - According to UNMC, there has been a significant increase in grain bin accidents within the last few years. However, there is a gadget in the works to prevent these kind of situations, and it is being made in Nebraska.

The ‘Grain Weevil’ is a machine that goes inside a grain bin and clears up any clumps in the grain so it can flow through the farm machinery smoothly.

Back in high school, Ben Johnson worked on community projects in a program his father started.

After creating a robot that would follow people in a warehouse, a family friend of Johnson’s had a request.

“He said hey if you can build me that robot, you should build me a robot to keep me and my kids out of the grain bin and at the time we really had no idea all the challenges and dangers, how horrible of a work environment the inside of a grain really is,” Johnson said.

The newest model of the gadget has lights surrounding it to make it easier to see in the dark.

Johnson also says the creation is one of the firsts.

“The first grain bin robot that can manipulate and maneuver inside of a grain bin,” Johnson said. “It can take measurements then do the work on its own.”

Johnson has been working on the machine since 2020, and now his company has been working to improve the models.

“We had our first robot drive on the grain for about 30 seconds using some drill batteries, then it died,” Johnson said. " That was enough proof that hey this is possible now with the technology that we have now and probably make a really awesome robot.”

The new model can run an hour and a half on a fully charged battery. Once the new machine is cleared with the safety guidelines then the current plan is to sell the ‘Grain Weevil’. The tagline for the company is “No boots in the grain.”

Johnson works alongside his father in the company as well. In fact, it started with just the two of them.

They then expanded by having his roommate join to work on the software side of things. Now the ‘Grain Weevil’ has seven employees and a couple of interns.