Both of the following entries are being highlighted for their innovative approach to solving a problem that hindered productivity for themselves and their customers.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
When faced with the prospects of loading out millions of bushels of grain into the holds of ocean-going vessels, you want everything to move smoothly and without interruptions.
For Bill Hoffer, maintenance manager of CHS's Twin Ports grain facility in Superior, WI, keeping the facility up and running sometimes means taking matters into his own hands. When conventional metal spouts kept wearing out due to the heavy volumes running through them, he took matters into his own hands and designed and installed a ceramic-lined grain spout. The results were amazing.
Saving thousands in replacement costs alone, Hoffer estimates he's paid off that investment countless times over in time savings. In the last nine years, Hoffer's built and installed five spout linings and has run 400,000,000 bushels of grain through them with little wear.
"The last thing shippers want is to keep a vessel waiting for loading while you make repairs," Hoffer says. "In those cases the costs associated to downtime maintenance really adds up fast."
For Hoffer's ingenuity and expertise his efforts will be entered for consideration in the Production and Material Handling category.
In its nomination for the Innovation in Design category, 4B Components' Bolt 'n' Go Chain and Flight System was cited for its time-saving, simple design.
The system allows repairs like changing flight or pins inside the conveyor without having to take tension out of the chain, and it eliminates the need to remove the entire chain when making these repairs. In addition, the Bolt 'n' Go system uses bolt-on flight that can be easily changed.
One user noted, "The ability to quickly install and maintain the flights, combined with not having to slacken or retension the chain while servicing, has saved untold hours on the routine maintenance of our conveyors."
The innovative design and unique assembly method is further paid off by reduced downtime and maintenance-related costs, which is why the 4B Components Bolt 'n' Go is nominated for a FEED & GRAIN Excellence in Innovation for Innovation in Design.
How to Submit a Nomination
FEED & GRAIN magazine is pleased to announce the launch of its Excellence in Innovation recognition program for 2008. Each issue, we will look at the people and products who keep the industry moving and the needs of its customers met.
Here's how it works. If you have experience with an innovative or unique product or service that has demonstrated measurable value to you or your customers, you may nominate them for consideration. In each issue leading up to the GEAPS Exchange 2009, we will feature several of the entries in our Excellence in Innovation section.
There are three categories of innovation for consideration: Innovation in Production and Material Handling, Innovation in Energy Efficiency and Innovation in Design.
There are two ways to submit entries for consideration:
Again, be sure to include a high resolution photo of your submitted product — 300 dpi minimum — in either a jpeg or .tif format, and a 100-word description of why this product or service is worthy for consideration.