Auburn Bean & Grain details plant operations
LINCOLN TWP. — Auburn Bean & Grain gave visitors to its new Standish plant tours Aug. 8 during its open house, detailing the speed and safety measures put in place at the facility, and noting where it will continue growing.
The Standish plant, a quarter-mile south of the city off US-23, is constructed to help minimize dust and thus reduce the chance of a fire, according to company electrician Tom Braeutigam. Aside from being equipped with venting systems to pull dust out into a storage bin, the plant has a number of electronic sensors that are able to alert operators when an area is getting too hot.
“Hazard monitoring is a big thing for safety,” Braeutigam said. “Without it, there’s a large chance of a fire, just from dust buildup … People don’t understand how flammable dust is.”
The monitoring system also will allow crews to see how much produce — and what kind — is in each storage unit, both inside on a monitor and outside via a vertical series of lights. Speed sensors, monitoring conveyor belts in revolutions per minute, will keep track to make sure the belts are not going too fast or heating up from dust, Braeutigam said.
Two dryers are currently set up at the facility, though ABG President Cliff Vennix said they will not be hooked to the gas line until around Aug. 15-16. Until then, the facility will not have any way to dry commodities, and is instead trucking them to other ABG plants to do so.
The facility also features multiple silos, and Braeutigam said ABG is planning on starting construction on another one on the southern side of the property in September. Currently the facility can store about two million bushels of grain and other produce.
Trucks from farms will be able to register their arrival at the ABG front office, before being directed to an area where they can dump their loads into a large pit, where the goods will then moved to be dried and/or stored, and sent out.
“You could dump a whole semi (in the dump pit) and it still would not be full,” Braeutigam said.
ABG will be operating solely through trucks to move grain south to begin with. Vennix said construction on the rail spur, which is planned to stretch into the city of Standish behind Fergie’s Pizza and other businesses along US-23, will not get started until Oct. 4.
“We still have a lot of work to finish up, but we’re able to run,” Vennix said. “The contractors did a really good job.”
Braeutigam said even once the rail line is completed, some goods — such as wheat — will likely still be trucked out for cleanliness purposes.
The open house also featured refreshments, a dinner in the evening, and public speakers discussing the efforts to get the plant built.