Essmueller, Laurel, Mississippi, U.S., displayed its Abel slide gate, which the company started manufacturing at its facility in May 2016. Photo by Susan Reidy.

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, U.S. – With thousands of grain handling and storage industry members in attendance, the Grain Elevator and Processing Society’s (GEAPS) Exchange is an ideal venue to show off the industry’s latest and greatest equipment and services.

The show, which started Feb. 25 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S., concludes Feb. 28.

Maxi-Lift, Addison, Texas, U.S., highlighted its Road Show trailer, which will provide onsite training at grain elevators. The company will teach customers on a range of topics, including how to tighten bolts, how to measure buckets, and showing the difference between low profile and standard buckets, said Wade Spencer, sales engineer.

“We want to get with the younger groups coming into the facilities,” he said. “We want to make sure they know how to install the buckets correctly.”

The Road Show also will cover elevator maintenance, including what to look for when inspecting an elevator and where the wear points are located, Spencer said. Most important will be the hands on experience.

“You can teach in the classroom but until you get your hands on it and do it correctly, that’s how you learn,” he said.

Maxi-Lift also was showcasing new equipment, including stackable buckets. They are easier and cheaper to ship overseas because they stack inside each other. Instead of shipping in a 40-foot container, it sometimes possible to use just a 20-foot container, Spencer said.

Spencer also was demonstrating the new ultra splice made of high grade aluminum. A wedge was added to reduce wear of the edges of a belt when it goes over pulleys.

Essmueller, Laurel, Mississippi, U.S., displayed its Abel slide gate, which the company started manufacturing at its facility in May. Essmueller purchased the product line from Abel Manufacturing in February 2016.

“We’re very proud to have that line,” said Jamison Anding, vice-president of operations. “It fits real well into our plant, we’re looking forward to expanding on it.”

Global Industries, Grand Island, Nebraska, U.S., was highlighting its bucket elevator boot, which can elevate grain higher and feed it back into a conveyor or another piece of equipment.

Mike Muessel, international sales engineer, said the need for larger equipment is one of the biggest trends in the industry.

“We want to move grain faster, load trains faster, unload trucks faster, that all requires bigger equipment to do that,” he said. “We’re dealing more grain, we had a 15 billion bushel corn crop.”

It would take 50,000 bins sized 50-feet by 30-feet high to hold just a billion bushels.

“So you’re talking about a lot of equipment,” Muessel said.

To help manage the large corn crops from the last several harvests, Behlen, Columbus, Nebraska, U.S., developed a little over a year ago a temporary storage solution that may be configured in several ways.

“It can hold from a few thousand of bushels to millions of bushels,” said Kirk Nelson, director of marketing and sales. “You just keep adding on in sequence and you can make as large a diameter circle or oblong pile as you like.”

Warrior Mfg., Hutchinson, Minnesota, U.S., is also prepared to handle large capacities with the enclosed conveyor it had on display at GEAPS Exchange, said Randy Stauffer, vice-president. It has a capacity up to 50,000 bph, and is very heavy duty.

“Everything that we weld gets hot dipped,” he said. “It’s a very heavy duty, very robust piece of equipment.”

Behlen is showcasing its temporary storage solution, ideal for handling the bumper crops from the last several harvests.
Photo by Susan Reidy.

Warrior recently added material handling equipment to its existing portfolio of structural supports.

“Material handling is a natural fit from being in structures and catwalks,” Stauffer said. “The equipment we build will sit on the bridge so it’s a seamless interface for our customers to add a conveyor or bucket elevator into our existing towers.”

Worldwide, Global is seeing a lot of interest in Africa, where the market is growing and not nearly as mature as the U.S. market, he said. There’s still interest in Europe and Southeast Asia, he said.

“Everybody has to eat, everybody has to have the grain,” Muessel said. “Somehow it has to be handled and stored safely and not put in a position where it’s going to rot.”

South America is a busy region for AGI, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, which is building a new 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Brazil. The facility initially will produce bins under the Westeel brand and Hi Roller belt conveyors, said George Vis, AGI vice-president of commercial operations.

“Those are the first two products, and that will expand to the rest of our product line over the next several years,” he said. “That’s a significant initiative and a real good opportunity.”

Europe is another area of growth, Vis said. AGI recently acquired Frame, a bin manufacturing company based in Bologna, Italy and PTM Technology, a material handling company based in Este, Italy.

“This gives us some local access to serve Europe and Africa,” Vis said.

Exhibitors agree the GEAPS Expo is one of the most important of the year for meeting with existing customers and making new contacts.

“It’s important enough we’ve been doing it for 27 years,” Muessel said. “Our competitors are here, we’re here. We have to be able to show we have the equipment for whatever is necessary.”

It’s an event Warrior looks forward to every year, Stauffer said, and the perfect opportunity to talk with customers about their projects.

“It’s a very important show for us, it’s kind of our Super Bowl,” he said.

For others, it’s an opportunity to meet with dealers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

“This is our biggest contact for all of our OEMs,” said Maxi-Lift’s Spencer. “We talk to all of our vendors, and show them what’s new, so they can understand what we’re doing to help them in their business with things like new splices and new buckets. They very much appreciate it.”

Nelson said for Behlen it’s an opportunity to meet with its dealers from around the world, including Mexico, Australia and Ukraine.

“A number of our dealers come to this show,” he said. “It’s an amazing show, a great place to be.”