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Kalmbach Feeds Counts on VMSAC Piston Vibrators to Free Up Product Flow and Reduce Bin Damage

Home to a wealth of animal feed processing equipment

After a trial period, Kalmbach Feeds purchased more than a dozen VMSAC 1200 coated vibrators for use in the MPK Complex.(Courtesy of Cleveland Vibrator Company)
After a trial period, Kalmbach Feeds purchased more than a dozen VMSAC 1200 coated vibrators for use in the MPK Complex.(Courtesy of Cleveland Vibrator Company)

Kalmbach Feeds was founded in 1963 by Milton and Ruth Kalmbach who shared a vision of a new way of doing business. Their goal was to design quality feed products, manufacture those products with the highest quality control procedures in the most efficient facility, and provide the product to the customer at the best possible value.
Computer-controlled mixing and pelleting systems, patented technologies and Kalmbach’s manufacturing expertise all contribute to the company’s growth. Capital improvements include its salmonella-free product line and new art textured feed system with separate lines for medicated and non-medicated feeds.

The latest state-of-the-art facility called the MPK Complex is home to a wealth of animal feed processing equipment, including a network of hopper bins holding up to 40 tons each of granular feed. Moving feed efficiently out of the hoppers and limiting damage to the exterior walls requires the use of VMSAC 1200 Air-Cushioned Piston Vibrators from Cleveland Vibratory Company.

The company is in the middle of yet another expansion because of greater demand for the high-quality animal feed. When opened in the fall of 2014, the expanded facility will contain more units from Cleveland Vibrator, including 11 Model 1200 VMS Impact kits and eight Model 1300 VMS Impact Kits. The kits include mounting channels, safety cables, hoses, valves and filter-regulator-lubricators.

VMSAC Vibrators handle ‘sticky’ situation

Vibrator On Hopper“We were initially using several different kinds of vibrators to free up product flow from the ingredient bins, but they were tearing the bins apart and not vibrating hard enough to move the product,” recalls Tim Hoag, long-time maintenance technician for Kalmbach Feeds. “I figured there was a better way and did some research on high impact vibrators. That’s when we contacted Cleveland Vibrator, and they brought out more information and samples we could test.”

After the trial period, Kalmbach purchased more than a dozen VMSAC 1200 coated vibrators during 2013 for use in the MPK Complex. Super Blue coating was applied to the vibrators because it has the lowest co-efficient of friction between the piston and body bore. The coating will not be washed out if lubrication used and is rated to 500°. The VMSAC 1200 has a 2” (5.1 cm) piston diameter and maximum frequency of 2,600 vibrations per minute (60 psig 4.1 bar).

“Some of the ingredients we produce are coated with fat or vegetable oil and tend to be sticky. Even some of our dry ingredients do not start flowing easily,” says Hoag. “Each bin holds 40 tons and with that much weight on top, everything compacts in the bottom so it has to be dislodged to flow freely.”

No damage to bin walls

According to Hoag, the VMSAC vibrators were mounted in a different position to reduce bin damage and increase product flow, solving two problems the company experienced with its older vibrators. “We had our previous vibrators attached to the side of the hoppers, but the impact was damaging the walls and actually cracking them,” he says.

“The vibrators from Cleveland Vibrator are now mounted to the framing members so the entire hopper gets the full impact of vibration, not just the side wall,” he observes. “Most of the vibrators only run for 5 or 7 seconds and some run for 15 or 20 seconds if the product is really sticky. We are using less power and getting better results with the high impact vibrators.”

Kalmbach close up

Today the Kalmbach plant produces a full line of products to meet the needs of every livestock producer - from the large commercial farm, the family hobby, the 4-H member and to the show competitor. Milton and Ruth’s son, Paul, continues to lead the family owned business while focusing on the initial founding goal. Kalmbach Feeds has grown to consist of over 250 employees.

Kalmbach Feeds is a regional leader in the animal nutrition industry serving Ohio and surrounding states while continuing to expand into Florida, New York and other regions. Its corporate office and original feed plant are located in rural Upper Sandusky, and the company has partner branches in Michigan (Kalmbach Feeds of Michigan) and Indiana (Kalmbach Feeds of Indiana).

Products are marketed through several channels, including direct to customer, traditional feed dealer networks such as farm cooperatives and independents, walk-in customers, and through new retail partnerships.

“As we expand to other regions of the country, we need to keep finding better ways to do things,” Hoag notes. “We are committed to using the best technology in the feed business. Our relationship with Cleveland Vibrator plays a large role in that.”

Benefits of the VMSAC 1200 Vibrators include:

  • One-piece, ductile iron housing and spring-less design ensure long effective liveVmsac
  • Air cushion prevention of metal-to-metal impact and exhaust muffler reduce noise levels while pneumatic power allows for operation in hazardous areas
  • Wide range of vibration intensities and dual diameter piston allow for mounting at any angle on bins, chutes and hoppers handling material loads from 200 lbs. to 100+ tons
  • Enclosed base and single exhaust port with a port protector prevents the entrance of dirt or contaminants into the exhaust cavity and prolongs product life
  • Mounting fasteners and a gasket for quick set-up are included.

About Cleveland Vibrator Company

The Cleveland Vibrator Company has been driving innovations in materials handling since 1923. From its corporate headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, and in partnership with HK Technologies in Salem, Ohio, the organization has met the challenges of more than 15,000 customers around the globe in a vast array of industries. Cleveland Vibrator Company’s comprehensive product line includes air-piston, rotary electric, electromagnetic, turbine and ball vibrators, as well as a wide variety of fabricated feeders, vibratory screeners, ultrasonic screeners, vibratory conveyors and vibratory tables used for light, medium and heavy-duty industrial applications.

For more information, contact Cleveland Vibrator Company at 800-221-3298 or visit

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