In 2013, Wilbur-Ellis Company bought the former Mott Grain business in Mott, North Dakota. It was apparent from the first the facility would need to be expanded to increase speed and versatility to allow timely delivery and custom blends. Almost immediately they began working with A.J. Sackett to design and construct a 15,000 square-foot blending facility that would meet those needs.
The result was:
- 3,000 tons of storage capacity across seven different product bins
- Three powder coat hoppers allowing application of trace mineral powder coats to any blend
- Reduction in blend time for 25-ton blends from 40 to 50 minutes to 8 to 12 minutes
- A dedicated liquid impregnation system and a Continuous Mixer (which blends all products) with an impregnation system.
Wilbur-Ellis now has the capability of liquid impregnating onto a single or multiple products as well as a fast, efficient plant that meets the needs of today’s growers.
Challenge: Speed and Flexibility
“Growers seem to get more efficient all the time,” says Derek Mayer, plant manager at the Wilbur-Ellis Mott facility. “Our previous process just couldn’t meet those needs.”
A 25-ton blend took 40 to 50 minutes to complete, plus Mayer wanted the ability to provide farmers with customized blends that may include as many as 10 different ingredients. He also wanted the capability to liquid impregnate single and multiple products.
He approached A.J. Sackett with his wish list and asked them to design a facility that would accomplish his company’s needs.
Results: Much Faster Blending and Loadout Plus Vastly Increased Versatility
Sackett engineers designed a custom-arranged Loss in Weight (LIW) system with key features to support Wilbur-Ellis’ main goals.
“For speed and flexibility, we used Sackett-originated Mesh Chain Feeders with adjustable gates for each major hopper,” says Charles Formisani, vice president of sales for A.J. Sackett. “Each hopper can dose at up to 140 tons per hour (TPH). For accuracy, Sackett’s LIW uses Hardy load cells and controllers for pharmaceutical level sampling rates and dosing calculations.”
Sackett also designed one hopper with a dedicated liquid impregnation system as well as a Continuous Mixer with an impregnation system, Formisani says. And to add powders such as micronutrients and nitrogen stabilizers, the system included three powder LIW feeders that discharge directly into the Continuous Mixer.
“To run the system, we teamed with Kahler Automation to provide Wilbur-Ellis with a full Alan Bradley PLC and MCC-based system with automatic controls and agronomy interface,” Formisani says.
Key features in the resulting facility include:
- The ability to blend custom materials with multiple ingredients, including micronutrients and other powders
- The ability to liquid impregnate single or multiple products
- A blending capacity of 8 to 12 minutes for a 25-ton blend • A covered loadout area with the ability to load five 25-ton loads per hour
- 3,000 tons of storage capacity across 7 different product bins
“Our growers are most impressed with the speed of the blend system,” Mayer says. “One other difference we saw was our TerraGator wasn’t sitting waiting for fertilizer coming from the plant.”
Wilbur-Ellis’ new fertilizer blending facility, located in Mott, ND
At left: The elevated control room. At right: The Continuous Mixer can be fed by one hopper witha dedicated liquid impregnation system as well as three powder LIW feeders that discharge directly into it.
The main aisleway allows ample room for movement.
For safety and efficiency, major ingredients and micronutrients are loaded from opposite sides.
The covered loadout area has the ability to load five 25-ton loads per hour.
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