AGI Hi Roller was founded on the principle that necessity is a primary driver of invention. In the late 1970s, the need for a conveyor that would eliminate the emission of explosive grain dust and decrease the demand for costly dust collection systems was in order. At the time, company founder Phil Clark operated Clark Taylormade Structures, a contractor and manufacturer of welded sidewall steel grain bins.
Having spent a lot of time around dusty, dirty, and unsafe open belt conveyors, Clark set out to develop a completely enclosed belt conveyor that could contain dust and spills and automatically reload spills back onto the belt. In 1978, he successfully introduced the Hi Roller® enclosed belt conveyor.
“As Phil developed the original Hi Roller model, he started installing them at small facilities in the Midwest,” says Sales and Marketing Manager Mike Spillum. “As his company grew, it went from small country elevators to terminal elevators and barge-loading facilities.
“Today, Hi Roller conveyors are in nearly every port facility in the United States and in many overseas,” he says.
While Hi Roller’s early success came largely from domestic sales, its international focus increased drastically in 2006, when Ag Growth International (AGI), a Canadian agricultural bulk commodities equipment manufacturer, purchased Hi Roller as its first commercial acquisition outside of Canada.
“As AGI came onboard, they were able to provide the resources to increase sales efforts globally,” Spillum explains.
Today, AGI Hi Roller manufactures a line of commercial enclosed, dust-tight, and self-reloading conveyors, designed for installation in grain handling facilities, processing operations, and various industrial operations.
With its success over the past 40-plus years, Spillum says AGI Hi Roller is proud to specialize in manufacturing high-quality enclosed belt conveyors. While some companies view a broad product line and a full catalog as a sales advantage, “what we see as an advantage is that we do one thing, and we do it well – and that’s enclosed belt conveyors,” he points out.
Spillum also is quick to note that AGI Hi Roller owes its success to its customers, and the company shows this appreciation through a commitment to customer service.
“Everyone in this facility knows enclosed belt conveyors, so if a customer does have an issue, anyone who picks up the phone can usually address the caller’s concerns quickly,” he says.
“We feel we’re the experts in the design and manufacturing of these products, but more than anything, it’s how we respond to the customer,” he adds. “Every person in the shop, they understand that also. A customer may have a rush parts order. They may have a train waiting to be loaded. Our people understand the urgency of the situation. Everything we do is for the customer.”
This business philosophy is summarized by AGI’s corporate motto, “Culture is everything.” Its mission is to supply the world’s food infrastructure, and in the process, enrich the lives of employees, customers, shareholders, and the communities of which it is a part. AGI breaks down its culture into eight core values: safety, transparency, collaboration, simplicity, innovation, urgency, curiosity, and integrity.
Resembling a conventional idler, the Hi Life idler incorporates features that are more compatible with its use in an enclosed belt conveyor. There are no brackets or bearings exposed to the internal atmosphere of the conveyor.
By using three independent idlers, the Hi Life conveyor provides a deeper belt trough than the Hi Roller idler. It also eliminates any slippage between the belt and carrying idler.
The company’s Mini Roller® conveyor is a scaled-down version of the Hi Roller. Utilizing a smaller spool-shaped carrying idler, it provides options for lower-profile, lower-capacity conveying. It is an ideal solution, Spillum says, where space limitations are a problem.
The Lo Roller® conveyor is another option for low-capacity conveying. It utilizes flat idlers for belt load support and UHMW-lined side slides for belt edge support. The design provides a continuous seal along the belt edge for the entire length of the conveyor. Its bearings for belt support idlers are mounted externally.
Reprinted from GRAIN JOURNAL January/February 2020 Issue