Company Profile
Calbrandt, Inc.

Calbrandt, Inc. • 763-972-8888


Much of the United States was built through the advent of railroads that linked the nation coast to coast. As the country grew, the delivery of grain from the Midwest across the country became essential. Railcar dependability and safety were central in this effort.

For more than 40 years, Calbrandt, Inc. of Delano, MN has been providing railcar handling equipment to maintain that safety and reliability for the grain industry. Calvin Brandt founded the company in 1980 in his home. Under the name Motion Controls, he focused on scrap iron bailers. The name was later changed to Calbrandt, Inc.

In the early 1980s, Brandt began working with the grain industry to provide a railcar gate opener. “The gate opener was a simple carriage with a hydraulic motor, PTO shaft, and a single lever-operated hydraulic valve,” recalls Brandt. “It traveled on an I-beam next to a pit to open railcar bottom hopper gates.”

Jim Steen, now company president, and Ed Petsch, now retired, joined the company in 1982. Soon after, the Calbrandt railcar mover was developed for convenience and safety precautions to replace potentially dangerous cable winches used to move railcars. “It was important to help customers move railcars more safely and efficiently,” he says. Expanding on those ideas, the company has developed a complete line of patented railcar movers, gate openers, and conveyor lift frames.

With a staff of more than 25 employees, Brandt attributes the company’s growth to its ability to provide customers with tailor-made railcar products. “By developing a mix of railcar mover designs recognizing each customer’s unique needs,” explains Brandt, “we’re able to serve a wide variety of customers and locations.” In 2010, it developed a vision-guided gate opener closure system to open and close railcars automatically on the fly.

“If we do not take care of the customer, someone else will,” says Brandt, illustrating the company’s values and dedication to serving clients. Its core values are a yardstick for any successful business. “While safety is always our No. 1 priority, we make every effort to give the customers more than they ask for. We demand excellence in accountability, which is obtained through integrity, innovation, and teamwork.”

Calbrandt’s longstanding objectives are to provide innovative solutions for safe and efficient railcar handling equipment, to provide exceptional customer service to customers worldwide, and to develop railcar handling methods to promote customer growth. “We can accomplish these objectives by focusing on our core values,” says Vice President Heidi Goldbeck.

“We are committed to providing our customers with quality service and products in a professional, accurate, and timely manner that will exceed their expectations,” Calbrandt adds. “Management on all levels communicates and explains our quality policy to employees, so that all are familiar with the policy and its intent.”

By developing a mix of railcar mover designs recognizing each customer’s unique needs, we’re able to serve a wide variety of customers and locations.

-Calvin Brandt, Calbrandt, Inc.


Calbrandt’s products automate the moving and spotting of railcars, and the opening and closing of railcar hopper gates, no matter how large the unit train.

The company has seven different designs of railcar movers, all of which are manufactured at its Delano 40,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility. “We always are looking to develop new railcar mover designs,” says President Jim Steen. “The latest design is an axle railcar mover, which can push on both axles of the railcar. It can provide 150,000 pounds of force and push a string of more than 100 railcars on straight and level track.”

Railcar gate openers are available in manual and portable units, with medium- or heavy-duty versions. Gates can be opened locally, remotely, or automatically with the vision guided system. “Electronic speed sensors keep the operation moving smoothly,” says Steen, “and the most advanced gate opening system can unload a string of about 110 railcars in three hours.”

Conveyor lift frames are designed to lift conveyors up to 32,000 pounds at a speed of 10 feet per minute. “They feature pushbutton operation with hydraulic locking pins for raised positions and limit switches to ensure locking pins are engaged,” he explains. Lift frames operate at a 7-foot vertical stroke.

“For all our equipment, machine design is not static, but is examined continuously for ways to make it better,” adds Steen. “We trust our equipment to last over time. We will never leave a customer hanging.”

Larry Stalcup, contributing writer

Reprinted in March/April Grain Journal 2021

Company Profile

Delano, MN | 713-972-8888

Calvin Brandt


Jim Steen


Heidi Goldbeck

Vice President


Railcar movers

Railcar gate openers

Railcar conveyor lift frames


Corporate Timeline

1980 Company formed under the name Motion Controls by Calvin Brandt.

1982 Jim Steen, now president, and Ed Petsch, now retired, join the company.

Early 1980s Began building railcar gate openers and movers.

1990 First Low Dog movers using double-acting cylinders with no cables are built.

1993 Heidi Goldbeck, now vice president, joins the company.

1995 First High Dog Bogie frame chain-driven movers are built. 1997 Built manufacturing facility in Delano, MN.

1999 Ethanol boom drove chain-driven Cantilever Indexer.

2010 Developed fully automated vision-guided gate opener/closure system.

2016 Expanded current manufacturing facility.

2018 Added paint building addition to facility.


  • Axle Railcar Mover
  • High Dog Railcar Mover
  • Calbrandt Low Dog Indexer Mover
  • Calbrandt Coupler Arm Indexer Mover
  • Calbrandt Conveyor Lift
  • Calbrandt Automated Vision Guided Gate Opener

About Calbrandt, Inc.

Delano, MN

View Company Profile →

In This Issue

Grain Journal March April 2021

View this company profile and more in the Grain Journal March April 2021 magazine.