Sep 10, 2019

High Speed Train Loadout Possible with Automation

Automation system delivers efficiency for rail terminal in Kansas’ biggest wheat producing county

The grain industry continues to grow in the U.S., requiring more storage and facilities. As farming practices have improved, yields are greater. That means those in the industry are busy building new facilities with the most up-to-date technology. This is especially true in wheat producing country, centered in Kansas.

In Milan, KS, a rail loading terminal was opened in May of 2017. Producer Ag LLC, a joint venture between CHS and Team Marketing Alliance (TMA), created the facility, which has upright slip form concrete storage and a 4.5-million-bushel flat storage building.

The terminal accepts canola, wheat, corn, soybeans, and milo, and is under the operation of Mid-Kansas Cooperative (MKC). This project was completed in 12 months, and during that time, MKC sought out many partners to ensure both facility efficiency and effectiveness.

One major element to these goals was finding a reliable automation system. They tapped Kasa Controls & Automation to deliver this segment of the project.

What the Milan Facility Does

The new facility receives some grain from nearby farmers, but most of the grain that makes it to their facility is from other elevators across south-central Kansas. The grain is stored here until it is loaded on a train and sent to the U.S. milling market or to port elevators to be exported to other countries.

There are many facilities like this all over the country. The Milan facility is unique, however, in that it can load a train much more quickly than most with a 100,000 bushel loadout bulk weigher.

Typically, a load train takes 16 to 20 hours. At the Milan facility, the same load can be accomplished in 5 ½ to 6 hours resulting in tremendous cost savings.

Automated Conveyor System Moves Grain Faster

To achieve these faster times and reduce manpower, an automated conveyor system was key. With fewer manual functions, the risk of injury is also reduced considerably.

Automation systems are vital in operating a modern grain elevator facility. With the Kasa system, all the motors and equipment in the facility can be controlled autonomously to convey and condition grain in the storage facility.

“The Milan facility is large and high-speed," says Heath Roker, Kasa Project manager and sales engineer. "The process of receiving and shipping grain requires a lot of equipment. With our automation system, speed is maintained and accuracy is improved, reducing errors while maximizing output.”

Kasa worked with MKC, TMA, CHS, Inc., and Producer Ag on previous projects, including a large grain terminal and two smaller facilities over the past six years.

When it was time to develop this new project, they relied on our innovation to create a streamlined custom system.

Newer grain facilities are being designed for automated operations to keep in pace with modern technology. Kasa partnered with MKC (Mid Kansas Coop) to provide automation systems and hardware for several of their large grain terminals. The advanced grain handling software with automation and data collection delivers the features and capabilities facilities need, all integrated into one easy-to-operate system.

"The technology in a grain handling facility can be complex, and there are lots of different systems at work," Heath says. "Integrating them together makes everything more user-friendly."

Recently Added to Buyer's Guide

Ribbon Blenders

  • 5-cubic-foot unit features special three-piece grate designed with angled and pitched profile
  • All three sections of the grating have position sensors which interlock with the control panel, ensuring operator safety while running

Infinifeed Loop

  • Continuous feed loop system
  • Capacities available up to 1,800 bushels/hour

Loop Conveyor System

  • Can be used to fill and empty grain bins and flat storage structures or applied to feed processing and other conveying applications
  • Available in 8-, 10- and 12-inch diameters with capacities up to 10,000 bushels/hour


  • 5-minute ELISA testing kit
  • Use a common extraction protocol for ease of use

Q-Sage Air Screen Cleaners

  • Separates grain by length and size to specifications
  • Numerous flow patterns available to accommodate each unique product and processing need

Vertical Blender

  • For reliable, gentle mixing of friable solids, abrasive materials and shear-sensitive products
  • For processing large volumes where floor space is limited


Marketwatch: Aug, 18

US Corn Price Idx: ZCPAUS.CM

open: 6.6945
high: 6.737
low: 6.6326
close: 6.6866

US Soybean Price Idx: ZSPAUS.CM

open: 14.3219
high: 14.4169
low: 14.2107
close: 14.3029

US Hard Red Winter Wheat Price Idx: KEPAUS.CM

open: 8.3035
high: 8.351
low: 7.9626
close: 8.0508

US Soft Red Winter Wheat Price Idx: ZWPAUS.CM

open: 7.3573
high: 7.4048
low: 7.0429
close: 7.0505