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Applied Power Products

Applied Power Products • 888-367-2358

SUPPLYING leg and conveyor belting and related PRODUCTS FOR 95 YEARS

Reprinted from Grain Journal November/December 2016 Issue

In 2021, Eagan, MN-based Applied Power Products will celebrate its 100th anniversary in business. That kind of longevity doesn’t come easy, but what does is the confidence to say the 95-year-old family-owned company is doing business the right way.

Applied Power Products is a multi-faceted organization that combines distribution and fabrication to serve the needs of customers in the Upper Midwest and around the world.

From its headquarters office in Eagan, the company handles the distribution of seals, hose assemblies, power transmission products, and conveyor belting. Applied Power Products’ 115,000-sq.ft. fabrication facility in Lakeville, MN, offers die cut and water jet cut services, as well as molded and extruded parts from a wide variety of materials.

Although the company offers an array of products relating to belt conveyors and bucket elevators for grain handling facilities, its early beginnings weren’t directly related to the grain industry.

Company History

“We started out as a welding, gas, and electrical distributor in 1921,” explains Angela Field, general manager-belting for Applied Power. It wasn’t until 1950 that the company began producing conveyor belting and bucket elevator belting, according to Field.

At that time, she says, the company was operating under the name The Bathke Company, until the acting president, Walt Lundeen, purchased the company in 1988 and changed the name to Applied Power Products. After Walt passed away, his son, Bruce Lundeen, became owner and CEO.

Field adds that in 1951 the company also became a belting distributor and secured The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company as a supplier. Sixty-five years later, Goodyear and now Continental remain its primary vendor for belting.

Prior to joining Applied Power Products in 1995, Field worked 10 years for Goodyear calling on Applied Power as a customer, which she recalls was her favorite client.

“Applied Power treats their employees very well, and it’s just a fun working environment,” Field says.

Commitment to Customers, Employees

Field’s personal experience working with Applied Power – first as a supplier and later as an employee – reveals a great deal about the company’s customer service philosophy, as well as its culture. Both its customers and employees are treated as partners, and that has made a tremendous difference in the company’s success over the long haul, she explains.

“We handle our customer complaints, and I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve been around so long and esteemed in such high regard,” Field says. “I think after people start working with us, they don’t see us as a vendor – they see us as a partner.”

Field says that employees are encouraged to live by the Golden Rule, and everyone at Applied Power is empowered to take ownership on any aspect of a product.

But it’s not all business, Field notes. “It is a fun place to work. We have great people; we have a happy, family-like atmosphere,” she says. “There’s a lot of people with longevity. I’ve been here 20 years, and I’m one of the newbies.”

Quality Products Deliver Value

Of course, great customer service and a vibrant work environment only go so far; the products have to perform, as well. The company’s products are built with quality in mind, and although the initial costs may be slightly higher, you get what you pay for, as the saying goes.  “I think one of the things that sets us apart is that we go to market with value,” Field explains. “We tend to market the the items with a higher initial cost, because we’re quality-driven. We’re problem solvers, and we try to bring solutions to our customers, because they feel that initial cost is only part of the cost,” she continues.

“What we like to say is the product that we sell offers the lower cost per bushel conveyed. In other words, this may cost you a little bit more upfront, but it’s going to last longer. So that’s how we go to market a little bit differently than some of our competitors,” Field says.

Products Old and New

The company’s flagship products are in the belting category for both conveyors and bucket elevators. “That’s our number one offering; that’s what we lead with,” Field says. Applied Power also sells head and tail pulleys, lagging, motors, bearings – just about anything that ends up on a conveyor or a bucket elevator that handles grain.

“We kind of do it all – we provide everything,” Field says.

In terms of new launches, Applied Power has developed a 120-inch-wide punching machine to accommodate wider belts for conveyors that move at higher capacities. Applied Power pre-drills the holes in the conveyor belt as a value-added service to its customers, and as the belts continue to get wider, the company stands ready with products to meet their needs.

“That’s one of the things that we invest in is machinery to accommodate our customers’ wishes,” says Field. “We try to make it as easy as possible for people to replace their belts.”

By way of example, Field says customers often will call and explain that a truck receiving belt is down and they need a replacement. Applied Power asks questions about the specific application and uses software that allows employees to calculate exactly how strong of a belt the customer needs and provides on-the-spot pricing and a lead time, so customers can get back up and running.

“They say, ‘wow, that was easy,’” Field says. “I think the biggest thing we try to do is help with some of the engineering and take the stress out of ordering belts. We try to make it fast and easy for them, because they’re busy people,” she explains.

Quality Backed by ISO Certification

As Applied Power Products continued to evolve during the late 20th century as a major player in the grain industry, it made the strategic decision several years ago to grow its business by seeking and earning ISO 9001 certification as a result of its partnerships with OEMs.

“We work with a lot of OEMs, and they were saying, ‘if you want to grow with us, you’re going to need to be ISO-certified,’” recalls Field. “So we decided to earn ISO certification, and obviously, that was a time-consuming and expensive process. We did earn our certification, and it’s really opened a lot of doors for us.”

ISO international standards ensure that products and services are safe, reliable, and of good quality. For businesses, they help reduce costs by minimizing waste and errors and increasing productivity. They help companies access new markets, level the playing field for developing countries, and facilitate free and fair global trade.

Since earning ISO certification, Field says the company has experienced tremendous efficiencies. For example, Applied Power Products is virtually a paperless company today.

“Everything that comes in the building is scanned, and then we have really sophisticated software, so if you want to look something up, you just type a keyword search, and any document that’s in the whole system that has those words will come up. It’s really kind of cool,” Field says. “I was a little resistant to it at first, but it’s worked very well.”

About Applied Power Products

Lakeville, MN

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