SHEFFIELD, Iowa – As if the striking profile of the building weren’t enough, one look at the control panel in the new grain loading/unloading station at Patterson Farms confirms it as a grain handler’s dream come true.
There are controls for sweeps and unload conveyors in four bins, for leg and pit conveyor operation, and for several other conveyors. The project brings together several state-of-the-art grain handling and storage technologies of Sukup Manufacturing Co. and its Sukup Steel Buildings division. The most apparent is the 18-foot-diameter hopper bin sticking out of the roof of the loading and unloading station, which is comprised of four connected buildings.
It's very efficient in terms of manpower and energy usage, said owner Ron Patterson, able to unload 2,500 bushels of grain in less than five minutes. "It's just real quick and efficient."
Almost all of the equipment is Sukup, making the Patterson site near Fillmore, Mo., perhaps the most complete operation of its kind manufactured by one company.
“It really shows off a lot of what we do,” said Steve Sukup, chief financial officer of the family-owned Sukup Manufacturing Co. While the company has been making hopper bins since about 2003 and buildings since 2011, it only recently began making its own hopper bin support structures. They have enabled the company to make several “hopper buildings” to make grain loading more efficient.
By also housing an unloading pit, the 4,400-square-foot Patterson Farms building provides a climate-controlled loading/unloading center, with an overhead door at each end of the combined building.
The Patterson project is one of several hopper buildings designed by Sukup in the past year or so, said John Rooney, inside sales representative. They include two with 21-foot-diameter, six-ring bins – one in a building 153 feet long and the other in a 105-foot-long building. Both of those are 25 feet wide, providing plenty of side clearance for trucks, as well as space for vehicles to be stored over winter.
Many sites with hopper buildings have outdoor dump pits. During design of the Patterson building, it was suggested the pit be under cover, Rooney said, so the “end” section of the building was built with enough clearance to accommodate grain trucks with dump lifts.
Rooney said he doesn’t know of any other company that provides an integrated hopper building such as those built by Sukup. He said it was a customer of one of Sukup’s first hopper buildings who suggested a substructure design that provided wider side-to-side clearance for trucks. Sukup Steel Buildings Engineer Bill Mossie designed mezzanine beams for the hopper legs to stand on. Customized flashing wraps around the hopper and attaches to the building roof.
Combined with all the other Sukup grain storage and handling equipment at the Patterson site, it makes for an “elite” setup, said Keith Miller of Miller Welding Co., which built the Patterson loading and unloading center.
Located just three miles from his office, Miller can see the Patterson site looking out his window. It makes a great showpiece for what can be done in designing and building a state-of-the-art grain handling center, Miller said.
Sukup Manufacturing Co. is headquartered in Sheffield, Iowa and employs more than 500 people, making it one of the largest employers in North Central Iowa. Its new wholly owned subsidiary Sukup Steel Structures in Ambridge, Pa., employs more than 90 others.
Sukup’s product line includes farm and commercial grain bins, three types of grain dryers, centrifugal and axial fans and heaters, stirring machines, and bin unloading equipment. Sukup also manufactures bucket elevators, drag and chain loop conveyors, support towers and catwalks.
Sukup has six distribution centers in the Midwest and a division in Denmark that serves customers throughout Europe. Sukup has customers in more than 80 countries.
Three generations of the Sukup family are active in Sukup Manufacturing Co.