Facility Feature
The Andersons Inc. Replaces Collapsed Welded Steel Tank with Customized Model

New 500,000-bushel Sukup Manufacturing Co. steel tank at The Andersons, Inc. terminal elevator in Champaign, IL.

Corrugated Steel Tank Built to Specifications for Illinois Grain Terminal Site

Back in the mid to late 1960s, The Andersons, Inc. brought in roughly two dozen welded steel tanks the grain handler had purchased from the Texas oil industry for its grain terminal in Champaign, IL (217-352-7011).

The tanks were disassembled, trucked to Illinois, and reassembled on-site. Those tanks, rated at 500,000 bushels of capacity each, provided the bulk of the elevator’s 12.5 million bushels of upright storage for decades.

However, one of those tanks collapsed without warning in the early hours of Jan. 18, 2016. The tank was filled with corn at the time, which spilled out and damaged some nearby rail track and adjacent tanks. However, employees were not at the Champaign facility at the time, and no one was injured.

“The weather had turned sharply colder at the time, and we think that exposed a weakness in the tank,” says Sergio Hernandez, regional operations manager who has been with The Andersons for eight years.

Sukup Builds Steel Tank to Meet Challenge

The company brought in Paul’s Machine & Welding Corp., Villa Grove, IL (217-832-2541), and Lee Farms Excavating Inc., Onarga, IL (217-387-2407), to handle excavation and demolition at the site.

However, the tougher question was replacing the collapsed tank with a modern corrugated steel tank that would fit on the old tank’s footprint. At 114 feet, the diameter is not standard for steel grain storage manufactured today.

“We specified a tank from Sukup (Mfg. Co., Sheffield, IA, 641-892-4222),” says Brian Stark, regional sales manager, an 11-year veteran of The Andersons. “We looked at a lot of manufacturers, and Sukup was the only one willing to retool its production line to produce a 114-foot tank in time for harvest.

“The timing was critical as it allowed us to maintain the same level of service our customers have come to expect from The Andersons throughout the harvest.”

Corrugated steel tank sizes for grain storage are available at 105 feet in diameter then jump to 135 feet, with nothing in between. So when The Andersons Inc. approached Sukup Mfg. Co., Sheffield, IA (641-892-4222) to build a 114-foot-diameter tank, it was a challenge but not an impossible one, says Brad Poppen, grain bin engineering sales for Sukup.

“We can build to any diameter so long as it’s divisible by three,” he explains. In this case, 114/3 = 38 corrugated steel wall sections.

“The key,” Poppen says, “is fabricating the roof sheets and rafters to match the odd diameter, and that required retooling the Sheffield plant for this one job.”

“That’s one of our selling points,” he adds. “We’ll do what other manufacturers won’t, in order to serve the customer’s needs.”

Tank Equipped With New Paddle Sweep Auger

The Andersons took bids and selected A-Lert Construction Services’ regional office in Cedar Rapids, IA (319-362-2407), as general contractor on the rebuild. “I’ve had some experience with A-Lert, and they’ve always done good work,” says Hernandez.

In addition to A-Lert, Shoemaker & Haaland, Coralville, IA (319-351-7150), performed civil engineering on the project; Wieber Steel Construction LLC, Detroit Lakes, MN (612-255-4583), constructed the tank; and Beau Mitchell Corp., Peru, IN (765-689-7300), did the concrete work.

Construction began in May 2016 for an undisclosed sum, and the new tank was ready to receive grain in October.

The new Sukup tank stands 114 feet in diameter, 48 feet tall at the eave, and 72 feet tall at the peak.

The tank is equipped with Sukup’s first-ever paddle sweep auger. “We were willing to try it because of the cleanliness of the floor after the paddle sweep goes over it,” Hernandez says. “It’s run very well so far.”

The tank also has outside stiffeners and a Rolfes@Boone grain temperature monitoring system. A set of four Sukup 20-hp centrifugal fans provide 1/10 cfm per bushel of aeration through in-floor ducting with the assistance of four 2-hp roof exhausters.

A new Hi Roller Hi Life 30,000-bph overhead enclosed belt conveyor supplies grain to the new tank. The tank empties through a set of Andco actuators for on-the-go blending onto existing conveyors.

“So far, everyone at Champaign is pleased with the new tank’s performance,” says Hernandez.

Company Info, The Andersons, Inc.

  • Maumee, OH • 419-893-5050
  • Founded: 1947
  • Storage capacity: 150 million bushels at approximately 40 locations
  • Annual volume: 500 million bushels
  • Annual revenues: $4.2 billion
  • Number of employees: 3,000+
  • Crops handled: Corn, soybeans, soft and hard red winter wheat, sorghum, oats, distillers dried grains, corn screenings, soybean hulls
  • Services: Grain handling and merchandising, agronomy, ethanol

Key personnel at Champaign:

  • Chad Stroble, area manager/Illnois and Indiana
  • Sergio Hernandez, regional operations manager
  • Brian Stark, regional sales manager
  • Todd Garber, Champaign operations manager

Supplier List

  • Actuators • Andco Actuators
  • Aeration fans • Sukup Mfg. Co.
  • Bearing sensors • Rolfes@Boone
  • Bin sweep Sukup Mfg. Co.
  • Catwalk • Warrior Mfg. LLC
  • Concrete • Beau Mitchell Corp.
  • Contractor • A-Lert Construction Services
  • Conveyors • Hi Roller Conveyors
  • Demolition/cleanup • Paul’s Machine & Welding Corp., Lee Farms Excavating Inc.
  • Engineering • Shoemaker & Haaland
  • Grain temp system • Rolfes@Boone
  • Millwright • A-Lert Construction Services
  • Motion sensors • Rolfes@Boone
  • Steel storage • Sukup Mfg. Co.
  • Steel tank erection • Wieber Steel Construction
  • Tower support system • Warrior Mfg. LLC

- Ed Zdrojewski, editor

Reprinted from GRAIN JOURNAL January/February 2017 Issue

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