Crystal Valley Coop, Madelia MN SmartTruck Case Study

Crystal Valley Coop’s upgraded truck receiving station at Madelia, MN, with two-story scalehouse and inbound and outbound scales, all tied together with a CompuWeigh SmartTruck receiving automation system. Photos by Ed Zdrojewski.



Efficient Truck Receiving

Crystal Valley Coop has been using a CompuWeigh automation system to load 100-car shuttle trains on the Union Pacific at Madelia, MN (507-642-3276), for nearly a decade.

“We like it a lot,” says Jeff Spence, who has been grain division manager for the cooperative since 2007, “so we decided to look into using CompuWeigh to automate our truck receiving scales.

“As volume has continued to increase, we could tell that our receiving scale could become a bottleneck. We had a single manually-operated scale, and the same time, we have total receiving capacity of 55,000 bph. We knew we needed to add an outbound scale, and we had to computerize the entire system.”

The result of the cooperative’s investigation was the installation in the summer of 2011 of a new two-story scalehouse adjacent to an existing 80-foot inbound scale and a new 80-foot Rice Lake pit-type outbound scale, all built around a SmartTruck truck automation system from the Woodbury, CT-based automation supplier (203-262-9488).

That, in turn, has resulted in a receiving system that has processed as many as 500 trucks in a single 12-hour shift during harvest, says Spence.

In brief, the coop issues electronic ID cards to truckers utilizing the Madelia elevator. The inbound CompuWeigh SmartRead unit reads truck data from the card as the driver arrives. After weighing and probing, the scale operator grades the sample on a new DICKEY-john GAC 2500 moisture meter. The driver then is directed to the correct receiving pit with a SmartView outdoor display board.  After the load is delivered, drivers proceed to the outbound scale for tare weight, and window-level CompuWeigh OTP-4600 thermal printer delivers the scale ticket.

• Madelia Grain Superintendent Chad Clobes reports that trucks now spend less than a minute on the inbound scale and 20 to 30 seconds on the outbound.
• Before the new system was installed, an operator had to punch in gross and tare weights manually and add grades later. With all of that automated, errors are eliminated.
• The system can work out split loads with a few keystrokes.
• The SmartView board allows drivers to see their gross weight and grade before leaving the inbound scale.
• It used to take two persons to operate the scale. Now one person can handle all scalehouse operations.
• Spence estimates that the SmartTruck system will save enough expense to pay for itself in about three years.

“Some of the older farmers needed a little training on the system,” Clobes adds, “but we haven’t had any complaints.”

Ed Zdrojewski, editor