“The contribution of the local subcontractors to the project was incalculable,” Hevner points out. “Having worked in this region and having familiarity with local conditions helped us avoid a lot of problems.
“Before the slip-form work was completed in November of 2007, we had to put pilings almost 80 feet deep to secure the foundation for the silos which required a constant pour,” says Hevner. “Our concrete partners kept trucks rolling 24/7 throughout the pour so we wouldn’t lose any time, all the while receiving grain at the same time.”
With the tunnel work done and construction of the conveying and storage well underway, the task turned to getting the mill going full speed ahead.
“Even during the prep work for the receiving facility, site prep for the mill project was going on simultaneously,” says Allen. “Part of the magic in keeping those projects moving on parallel tracks came down to the little things having a large impact on the project, such as traffic management.”
With hundreds of trucks making hundreds of trips to the jobsite, keeping the traffic flow moving was imperative to hitting the project’s aggressive timeline. Managing that flow with proper signage, training of the drivers themselves and staging of the projects all made a difference.
“We made a conscious effort to keep workstations as far apart from one another as possible to minimize potential gridlock,” says Hevner. “We were doing a great deal of prebuilding of infrastructure like legs and towers, away from the primary site so when it came time to install we could move quickly without interrupting the flow on the storage and mill sites.”
Allen’s had that luxury from the get-go, when it selected its site — a 40-acre parcel it owned — with enough space around it to serve as a staging site, a luxury many sites don’t have.
As fall and the local harvest approached, the traffic management concept would be severely tested as local growers bringing in their product and concrete trucks shared space.
“We planned it so we were working on an aspect of the mill project located farthest away from grain receiving in order to reduce traffic,” says Hevner. “An access road was constructed to help direct construction trucks to a different route as well.”
In the spirit of cooperation that became the trademark of the project, local producers got into the act by showing flexibility in their delivery times to accommodate construction traffic.
Teamwork the key
Creating and capturing efficiencies, while enhancing quality of the overall product, was the overarching goal of the project and became evident both inside and outside the facility.
“The site location is a prime example of capturing efficiency with its location near the Norfolk/Southern rail line,” says Hevner. “This offered a chance for us to capture efficiency to bring in 75-car unit trains all year round to augment our supply of locally produced grain.”
Younglove’s Field says the cooperation of its many suppliers made it possible to complete interior work in the face of tight scheduling and an even tighter supply environment.
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our supplier/partners for keeping equipment coming into the site in order to get this project done on time,” Field says. “If you recall, this was a time when biofuel plant construction was running hot and heavy, and the industry as a whole, had a difficult time with equipment orders — in some cases lead times were as much as 18 to 20 months.”
Younglove’s relationship with suppliers like Intersystems, CPM, Brock, APEC and Beta Raven made it possible to ensure the equipment and tech support was available to make installation deadlines.
As the calendar read July 2008, the project was completed on schedule and on budget in 15 months.
The mill facility features include 20,000 bushels/hour corn receiving and 240 tons/hour ingredient receiving capabilities, 50 tons/hour grinding; 19 ingredient bins with 1,700 tons of storage capacities, just to name a few. The facility manufactures feed at a 65-ton/hour rate and has a second line capability for a potential output of 130 tons/hour.