FOSTORIA, Ohio - The Class I railroads, including the Norfolk Southern (NS) that serves Legacy Farmers Cooperative’s 9-million-bushel rail terminal in Fostoria, OH (419-435-4763), require elevator operators to fill and release unit trains within 24 hours before applying demurrage charges.
That was part of the impetus for the cooperative to speed up train loading operations at the northwest Ohio terminal by adding a new CompuWeigh 60,000-bph bulk weigh loadout scale, which went into operation in April 2020, along with related equipment.
“We can receive 500,000 bushels a day but could only load out 250,000 bushels. That tells the whole story right there,” says Legacy Farmers President/CEO Mark Sunderman, who joined Legacy in 2014. He came from Deshler Farmers Cooperative, which merged that year with Blanchard Valley Farmers Cooperative to form Legacy.
“We needed to upgrade our speed to meet the requirements of the railroad and to serve our customers better,” Sunderman continues.
The $3 million project also included replacing outdated grain handling equipment that not only contributed to faster loading but also improved safety for workers.
Legacy Farmers hired Elevator Services & Storage, Inc. (ESSI), Beaverdam, OH (419-643-5111), as contractor and millwright on the project. The construction contractor, which will celebrate 50 years in business in 2021, has worked on numerous projects at Fostoria in the past, and its manufacturing arm, Hawthorne-Seving Inc., supplied much of the grain handling equipment.
• Bromack Electric Services, New Riegel, OH (419-595-2074), performed an electrical upgrade to power the new bulkweigher.
• Craig’s Concrete Inc., Gilman, IL (815-265-7355), poured the concrete foundations and bases for the equipment.
• Great Lakes Rail Service Inc., Millbury, OH (419-837-2751), upgraded the facility’s ladder-type railyard from seven to eight tracks to handle NS 90-car unit trains more efficiently. In conjunction with that upgrade, Legacy Farmers purchased a pair of Rail King mobile railcar movers from Stewart & Stevenson, Houston, TX (855-744-9481).
Work on the project began in June 2019. When Grain Journal visited the site late in June 2020, the coop was loading its second 85-car train.
The focal point of the project is a 60,000-bph CompuWeigh bulk weigh loadout scale installed by ESSI on the north side of the elevator adjacent to the railyard. The bulkweigher is equipped with a Hawthorne-Seving rail spout. The spout telescopes vertically and pivots away from the rail for clearance when not in use. It travels horizontally in line with the railcar’s opening for more efficient loading.
The bulkweigher’s upper garner is an extra 10 feet tall to provide more storage space for grain awaiting loadout. It also is lined with ceramic tile for wear-resistance and is equipped with a GSI InterSystems sampler for use during operation.
The bulk weigh scale is under the control of a CompuWeigh CD4000/GMS4000 scale control system that can interface with the facility’s grain accounting system. It includes a CompuWeigh SmartRead railcar ID system with sensors attached to the covered hopper cars that provide railcar capacity information. The control system uses this information to cut off the flow of grain into the railcar automatically when the capacity is reached.
Location Manager Joel Althouse, who has been at Fostoria since 2009, says that so far, it has taken about nine hours to load an 85-car train with the new bulk weigh system.
To boost the speed of delivery of grain to the bulkweigher, ESSI replaced a pair of old 10,000-bph legs that were housed inside of the concrete headhouse with a new Schlagel 40,000-bph loadout leg outside of the structure. The outside location limits the damage in the event of an explosion.
The new leg, which doubles as a rail loadout leg and a transfer leg, is equipped with two rows of Maxi-Lift Tiger-Tuff 20x10 CC buckets mounted on a 44-inch Continental belt. It is operated by dual 200-hp Toshiba motors with Dodge speed reducers.
Legacy Farmers also replaced two open belt conveyors, rated respectively at 28,000 and 40,000-bph, with similar-sized AGI Hi Roller enclosed belt conveyors. Althouse says with the enclosed belts, the time needed for housekeeping has been reduced by about 25%, and the reduction in airborne dust is an important safety enhancement.
Also installed was a 40,000-bph Magik Kleener gravity screener ahead of the bulkweigher. The screener includes an internal bypass in case screening is not needed.
Bromack Electric took down a set of pole-mounted transformers and an overhead high-voltage line and replaced them with a concrete pad-mounted transformer. The electrical contractor also installed a new power room with modern electrical controls and lockout/tagout fixtures.
Reprinted from Grain Journal July/August 2020 Issue
New Automated Bulkweigh Loadout Scale at Fostoria Terminal
View this feature and more in the Grain Journal July/August 2020 magazine.