Reprinted from GRAIN JOURNAL January/February 2019 Issue
Minneapolis, MN-based Tandem Products traces its origin to 1965 when Cargill developed an abrasion-resistant polyurethane material called Rhino Hyde® for its grain division. Soon after, according to Tandem Vice President Ahmed Helmy, the company began offering Rhino Hyde liners to the grain industry.
“In 1986, my dad, Nash Helmy, and his partner, David Tweet, purchased the Rhino Hyde and Tenderfoot divisions from Cargill and named the new company Tandem Products," he recalls. Initially, Tenderfoot represented a larger portion of Tandem’s business, but as polyurethane liners became more popular, the Rhino Hyde product line grew significantly.
By the early 1990s, Helmy says the company expanded its polyurethane products to different industries. Its continued focus on developing technology and broadening into other markets has been a significant factor in the company’s growth. “The goal is to further push our urethane technology and find different applications and uses for it,” he says.
Another significant factor in the company’s success is the allegiance Rhino Hyde has developed through its distribution networks, according to Michael Claussen, territory manager for Tandem’s Rhino Hyde Grain Division. “We have a tremendously loyal distribution chain of people who represent our products," he says, noting that some customers have been buying from a single distributor for more than 40 years and counting. “That kind of loyalty means something,” he adds.
Today, the company is headquartered in Minneapolis with a manufacturing facility in Blooming Prairie, MN. Staffing nearly 110 employees, Tandem Products distributes to more than 45 countries around the world.
Simply put, Tandem Products is committed to developing high-quality, customized products at a reasonable price. The company’s ability to formulate and blend materials at its in-house research and development lab, along with its proprietary production systems and engineering capability, help ensure it can meet the needs of its customers.
“What differentiates Rhino Hyde from other brands is our involvement in multiple industries," Helmy explains. "We see a lot of different applications, so we have experience designing things for a variety of needs. We actually blend our own urethane in-house so we have the capability to create custom formulations.”
What the company is not in the business of doing is simply taking orders, according to Helmy. “We are solution-based. When a customer has a question, we pride ourselves on being able to answer,” he says. “And being industry experts with technical knowledge, we train our staff and our employees – from everybody in the plant to those in the office – on being able to respond to technical questions.”
"We are solution-based. When a customer has a question, we pride ourselves on being able to answer"
-Ahmed Helmy, Tandem Products
Tandem Products' flagship Rhino Hyde line offers the grain industry a variety of high-quality products ranging from polyurethane sheets, ceramic liners, and bin level sensors. Additionally, the Rhino Hyde division manufactures liners for concrete central batch plants, aggregate hoppers and chutes, wear products for bulk conveying, and screen media for sizing various materials.
"Rhino Hyde is a tough, resilient elastomeric urethane specifically designed for use in applications requiring abrasion resistance and ease of installation," says Helmy. "It also offers excellent impact resistance, good low-temperature properties, noise reduction, corrosion resistance, and chemical resistance to aliphatic hydrocarbons, mild acids, and bases."
Continuing its legacy of innovation passed down from founders Helmy and Tweet, who were both chemists by trade, Tandem Products has brought to market a number of products, including Rhino Hyde High Energy Sheets, a premium polyurethane designed specifically for severe small particle impingement abrasion. "In 2007, after 12 years of research and development, we introduced Rhino Hyde Fire Fighter, an exclusive formula that is self-extinguishing and will not fuel or propagate a fire," explains Claussen.
Finally, the company is expanding its Blooming Prairie, MN plant in 2019 to incorporate a new automated sheet line and to improve production capabilities and operational efficiency.
While some companies might be content with producing a consistently high-quality product for more than 50 years, Tandem Products continues to raise the bar. “We’re not sitting on our laurels, and I think that shows a commitment on the company’s part,” adds Claussen. “We’ve been here since 1965. We intend to be here a lot longer.”
Ahmed Helmy, Vice President
Mike Claussen, Territory Manager
Joe Ademino, Territory Manager
Products and Services: Urethane sheets and rolls, elevator buckets, bin level sensors, ceramic liners, ceramic-backed elbows, urethane screens