MD Sample Exam Question

 

SAMPLE EXAM QUESTION AND

NOTES ON WHAT SHOULD BE COVERED IN THE ANSWER

 

Question

Use diagrams to compare and contrast the features of a modern day conical steep against the alternative of a flat bottom steep.  Include in the diagrams all relevant dimensions, capacities and a full description of all the connected services including flow rates relevant to each of the process facilities.

 

Notes

A general note should be made of the fact that often conical steeps are used in multiple numbers as opposed to the flat bottomed steep where usually only one would be used for each batch.

The diagram of a conical steep should include the following:

  • Typical dimensions of depth and width and grain capacity of each unit   
  • Materials of construction
  • Barley transfer method to fill the steep
  • Dust suppression if relevant
  • Level control mechanism for grain, weighed amount or ultra-sonic/proximity probe
  • Water fill point including rate of fill, volume of stored water should be considered where multiple units have to be filled, water transfer rates in M3/h
  • Provision for temperature control of water fill
  • Any provision made for overflowing during the wet phases
  • Expected total use of water for each batch dependant of number of wet cycles used
  • Drain facilities and rate of discharge
  • Aeration facilities and positioning, below plenum, fixed pipes, centre lift tube etc.
  • CO2 removal, fan type, air volumes (in the region of100 to 150 M3/t/h), position of fan and air ducts and isolation valves where appropriate for low level installations -
  • Positioning of other temperature monitoring equipment, water, air on and off
  • Any provision made for air conditioning, temperature control and recirculation
  • Access for cleaning behind the plenum area
  • Fixed CIP equipment, spray balls, fixed peripheral nozzles
  • Method of discharge into conveying equipment
  • Provision for control and automation, staggered filling emptying and control to minimise turnaround times between batches
  • H&S precautions, permit for safe access to confined spaces for maintenance or internal cleaning

 

The diagram of a flat bottom steep could refer to a conventional design or the more modern Eco-steep alternative but would consider the following points:

  • Typical dimensions of depth and width and batch size
  • Materials of construction
  • Barley transfer method to fill the steep
  • Dust suppression if relevant
  • Level control mechanism for grain, weighed amount or ultra-sonic/proximity probe
  • Water fill point including rate of fill in M3/h
  • Any provision made for overflowing during the wet phases
  • Provision for temperature control of water fill
  • Expected total use of water for each batch dependant of number of wet cycles used with specific mention made where there is a significant volume of water required to fill the area beneath the plenum (often 500mm) in a conventional flat bottomed steep
  • Drain facilities and rate of discharge
  • Aeration facilities, single or multiple units, positioning, below plenum or multiple array of fixed pipes in the case of an Eco-steep
  • CO2 removal, fan type, number of units, air volumes (in the region of 250 to 500 M3/t/h), position of fans and air ducts and isolation valves where appropriate for low level installations
  • Positioning of other temperature monitoring equipment, water, air on and off
  • Any provision made for air conditioning, humidification, temperature control and the recirculation of air
  • Access for cleaning below the plenum area in more conventional designs by the ability to lift sections of floor plates
  • Any fixed CIP equipment, spray balls, fixed nozzles on internal mechanical transfer equipment
  • Method of discharge onto conveying equipment, centre or side discharge options
  • Provision for control and automation
  • H&S precautions, permit for safe access to confined spaces for maintenance or internal cleaning

 

A contrast should be drawn against the conical and flat bottomed steeps highlighting the capability of a flat bottomed steep to control grain temperatures due to the higher airflows achievable particularly prior to casting but also where extended air break periods are required between water immersions.

Another general point that should be considered is the amount of space that is required to install a flat bottomed steep against a similar batch size that could be achieved using a group of conical steeps.

Provision for effluent buffering capacity should also be considered as conical steeps’ discharges are usually staggered but the use of flat bottomed steeps with large batch sizes have to be handled within a relatively short period of time (1 hour typically)

The availability of stored water relative to replenishment volumes available should also be considered to ensure that the demands that flat bottomed steeping would impose can be met.

Consideration should be given to noise emissions from ventilation and extraction equipment that could have an adverse impact on employees working in those areas and also neighbouring properties.

Expanding the scope of your answer to the question to cover elements of good management practice, health and safety, environmental compliance for example will help to demonstrate a broader understanding of the subject matter and will receive credit during the marking process.

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