Speed, Space and Sanitation

Speed, Space and Sanitation.  The three key words that motivated a wheat milling operation, located in Western Michigan to improve their efficiency in storing and handling millfeed in their vertical storage silos.

For the King Milling Company located in Lowell, Michigan, Laidig is more than just steel; they are a solution provider for bulk storage and automated material handling.

The King Milling Company has been milling wheat for 125 years.  And their family owned operation continues to grow each year.  Much like any company, with growth will come growing pains.  King Milling was no different, especially when it came to handling their millfeed, sometimes called midds.  Typically, every 100 pounds of wheat milled yields about 25 pounds of millfeed.  The millfeed is another source of revenue for King Milling.  It quickly became apparent, however, that the efficient storage and handling of it was going to be a challenge.  According to Jim Doyle, Senior Vice-President for King Milling, “Millfeed is very difficult to handle.  Getting it loaded into trucks was taking too long, and we were having difficulty storing it.  We needed a guaranteed solution.”

At that time, the average truck loading time took up to 90 minutes.  Due to this lengthy process, King Milling found themselves storing their millfeed in temporary storage trailers on their property and using pneumatic methods to transfer it to customer trucks for distribution.  There were times when all of the storage trailers were fully loaded and production was delayed because of the lack of adequate storage.  In order to get the millfeed loaded and taken off-site, drivers were asked to load out their trucks on Saturdays.  A reduction in price was even offered to incentivize the weekend load out.  In addition to inadequate storage capacity and lengthy unloading times, the dusting generated from the load-out of the millfeed was a concern.  It became clear that a better solution was needed.

Vice-President Steve Doyle, wanted to get Laidig involved.  “The old method of moving the millfeed wasn’t cutting it.  We had a goal of unloading 50,000 pounds of millfeed  onto a truck in 15 minutes with limited dusting.  This would make us more efficient, increase our storage and save us money.”  

He knew this wouldn’t be easy to accomplish.  But, he also knew that with the right partner, it could be done.  “If we were going to do this, we were going to go big, and we were going to do it right.   We had a good team in place here at King Milling.  We knew of Laidig and their reputation.  We had visited with them at trade shows over the last 25 years, so we contacted them.”

Laidig met with King Milling to review their situation and discussed potential solutions.  After much discussion and careful planning, a long-term solution was agreed upon.  Laidig provided King Milling with two truck drive-through Model 5330 Cone Bottom Reclaimers – fully automated, hydraulically powered reclaim systems.  This storage and reclaim system solution provided automatic load-out of the millfeed into trucks six times faster than how King Milling had previously been operating.  The result of King Milling’s partnership with Laidig has successfully resolved their three main goals of speed, space and sanitation.

King Milling understood that they needed to make some improvements to support their growth and efficiency.  They knew they wanted a system guaranteed to work and a relationship guaranteed to last.  Laidig was the answer.

According to Jim Doyle, it was a matter of trust in Laidig.  “We knew we were going to spend money on this project.  But, at the end of the day, it needed to work and we had to do it right – and we did.”

It has been two years with the Laidig system in operation at King Milling.  For Steve Doyle, it has been a good experience.  “The overall experience of working with Laidig has been a good one.  They are dependable and available when we need them.  They worked with us throughout the entire process.”