SHEFFIELD, Iowa – Sukup Manufacturing Co.’s new Intermediate Sump Gate Warning System for Grain Bins has been honored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) as among the 50 outstanding innovations of 2018.
The patent-pending system shuts off grain bin unloading equipment and warns the bin operator if an unloading gate is open when it shouldn’t be. The system protects against off-center unloading, which is a top cause of damage to large grain bins.
The warning system will be featured in the January/February special issue of ASABE’s magazine Resource: Engineering & Technology for a Sustainable World.
“We’re very pleased to receive this prestigious award,” said Charles Sukup, president of Sukup Manufacturing Co. He said the award highlights the company’s emphasis on finding ways to make grain handling and storage more safe, profitable and efficient. The company has won 21 AE50 Awards.
The annual competition is sponsored by Resource magazine, published by ASABE, which is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems.
To be eligible for an award, products must have been introduced and made commercially available in calendar year 2018. Products or systems nominated must be intended principally for use in the production, processing, research, storage, packaging or transportation of agricultural and food products, and have the potential for broad impact.
Safe operation of grain bins has become a greater concern as bins have gotten bigger to keep up with higher yields and enable operators take advantage of grain price fluctuations. Large commercial bins can have upwards of 20 intermediate sumps. Usually they are opened and closed independently of one another using manually controlled gates. Besides risk from the higher number of intermediate sumps, the potential for off-center unloading is greater due to larger amounts of grain. Sukup Manufacturing Co.’s 156’ diameter bin, which is the largest free-span bin in the world, can hold nearly 2 million bushels of grain.
Warning operators about improper use of intermediate sumps greatly reduces the likelihood of off-center unloading, which can occur when intermediate sumps are opened before grain has stopped flowing through the center sump. Off-center unloading puts excessive downward pressure on the bin sidewalls and can lead to buckling or catastrophic failure. If an intermediate sump is opened prematurely, the warning system shuts off the unload system and alerts the operator with a horn, voice, and/or flashing lights. Text-message warnings are optional.
Companies from around the world nominate products for AE50 Awards. An international panel of engineering experts selects up to 50 products that best reflect engineering advancements for the agricultural and food industries.
About Sukup Manufacturing Co.
Sukup Manufacturing Co. is the world’s largest family-owned and operated grain storage, drying and handling equipment manufacturer. The company is headquartered in Sheffield, Iowa, and covers 1,000,000 sq. ft. of office, manufacturing and warehouse space. The company employs more than 600 people, making it one of the largest employers in North Central Iowa. Three generations of the family are now active in the business.
Sukup’s product line includes on-farm and commercial grain bins, portable and tower dryers, centrifugal and axial fans and heaters, stirring machines, bin unloading equipment and bin floors and supports. Sukup also manufactures a line of material handling equipment that includes bucket elevators, drag conveyors and chain loop conveyors, as well as a line of steel buildings.
Sukup has six distribution centers located throughout the Midwest. Sukup products are sold throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as more than 80 foreign countries.