J.B. Pearl needed to upgrade its 800-ton storage facility and rotary blending equipment to better meet customer demands for timely delivery and custom blends. Working in tandem with A.J. Sackett, they erected a new fertilizer building featuring:
- 3,000 tons of storage capacity across seven different product bins
- A single center-located conveyor to handle all fertilizer movement
- A blend tower equipped with a High Intensity Mixer (HIM)
Construction took just seven months and Pearl was up and running with the capability to deliver 25 tons of blended fertilizer in minutes, and with blending/coating performance that opened doors to a new business venture.
Challenge: Keeping Up With Demand
In business since 1961, Pearl was constantly trying to keep pace with increased demand for fertilizer in its Kansas territory and failing. “I remember many times coming in at 4:30 in the morning to start loading trucks so we could have all of them loaded by daylight when the rest of the crew arrived, “ says Troy Pearl, co-owner and special projects manager. “We just couldn’t keep doing business that way. We needed a better way.”
That better way, Pearl and his co-owners Doyle, O.J., and Don Pearl decided, was to install a new fertilizer building – and to build on their current site located between railroad tracks and Highway 25, facilitating delivery by rail or truck. They approached Sackett for help to design a complete fertilizer building/tower/blending system that would fit into their footprint.
Results: Increased Capacity and Expanded Business
One of the distinct features — and high on Troy Pearl’s must list — is the center-located conveyor that handles all fertilizer movement. “We can receive product via railcars or trucks, with the option of transporting up the elevator leg for mixing and/or loading into the storage building. [This was] a time-saver that also reduced the amount of equipment we needed.”
The blend tower has 120 tons of storage in nine overhead stainless steel bins. Twin weigh-hoppers work in 2-pound increments to finely tune custom blends. Twin bomb-bay style doors move loads from the mixer into a surge hopper, preventing segregation of materials.
And it’s fast! A 25-ton truck can be loaded with custom-blended product in as little as eight minutes.
Situated in the heart of the tower, the HIM mixer blends and coats fertilizer products thoroughly and gently. Coating is dispensed in the center of the unit and blended from both ends in as little as 10 seconds. A perfectly coated batch can be produced in 30 seconds. The HIM’s high performance has paid off for Pearl in customer satisfaction and opened the door for custom fertilizer blending/coating on a contract basis.
Told they could build a structure that could last 20 years or one that would last 50 years, the Pearl co-owners said “50 sounds better.” Key features include:
- 16-foor concrete walls, reinforced with more than 70 tons of steel
- Stainless steel overhead bins
- Storage bin doors with special flaps that prevent product from spill out when bins are full
- Loading/unloading all under roof
- Building doors that can be shut to cut down on dust or stray prills
“J.B. Pearl’s dry fertilizer business has doubled in size in the past few years,” Troy Pearl says. “And we could conceivably expand this new building by 20 percent if needed.”
This aerial view, J.B. Pearl’s facility is bordered by train tracks and a highway.
Inside J.B. Pearl’s new fertilizer building, there are multiple product bins.
(Left) One unique feature of J.B. Pearl’s new fertilizer building is this center-located conveyor. (Right) J.B. Pearl’s new fertiilzer building features a dust chute as part of its unloading spout.
This H.I.M. mixer from A.J. Sackett is the heart of J.B. Pearl’s new fertilizer building.
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