Tuesday 29th Sep, 2020

Reliability for the Hi Rollers

With more than 40 years of experience, Ag Growth International’s Hi Roller conveyors are helping grain handlers cut clean-up costs while improving safety.

With more than 40 years of experience, Ag Growth International’s Hi Roller conveyors are helping grain handlers cut clean-up costs while improving safety.

There is a point when a brand can become so popular its name becomes synonymous with the product itself.

For example, if you fall over and get scratched, you’ll most likely call the adhesive bandage you use a Band-Aid. Similarly, brands like Jacuzzi, Jet ski and Velcro are often more used to describe something than the generic name.

Mike Spillum, Sales and Marketing Manager for Hi Roller, says that in the United States, it’s common to hear people call most enclosed belt conveyors a Hi Roller.

Hi Roller has been manufacturing enclosed belt conveyors to reduce dust in the grain industry since 1978. The company’s founder had, at the time, worked in the agricultural industry and found that conventional open belt conveyors were dirty and unsafe.

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Grain dust in particular poses serious risks to operations, as it presents environmental issues, can have high clean-up costs and can be explosive.

To resolve this, Hi Roller conveyors are totally enclosed, self-cleaning and self-reloading. All of the bearings are isolated and there are no ledges for build-up to gather in. Instead, any spilled product or dust falls onto the return belt and is brought back to the tail section, where it is then diverted to the outer edges of the pulley that have flippers to pass it back onto the belt.

“Just putting a box around a conveyor belt won’t help in the long run. In fact, it’s actually a major flaw. It means dust can start to build up on exposed bearings, leading to more maintenance and potential safety issues,” Spillum says.

Hi Roller has also expanded the types of materials that its conveyors can move, including dry, dusty, granular products such as absorbent clay products or lime.

Spillum says the popularity of the brand comes from its extensive experience. More than 9000 of the enclosed conveyor systems have been installed around the world since it was first launched.

“Almost anyone can bend some metal and call it an enclosed conveyor. We’ve had around 30 years to learn about what works and what doesn’t and then apply that to improve our systems,” Spillum says.

He says another reason the brand has become so widely used is its ability to mitigate dust emissions.

“There’s a night and day difference when comparing Hi Rollers to open belt conveyors. The trend over the last 40 years has been to improve dust control and we’ve seen plenty of businesses and sites now trying to catch up,” he says.

“Hi Rollers also provide a sizeable economic benefit on top of their environmental one, especially for indoor sites. When unloading silos in these facilities, it is often common practice to have people with brooms cleaning up the dust every day. Installing a Hi Roller means you can cut this unnecessary and potentially unsafe labour cost.”

In December 2006, manufacturer of agricultural bulk handling systems Ag Growth International (AGI) acquired Hi Roller, rolling it into the company’s portfolio of brands. This allowed the company to collaborate closely with other AGI-owned brands to further improve its line of conveyors.

One of these brands is CMC Industrial Electronics, which manufacture hazard monitoring systems for industrial applications. CMC’s devices are used to perform temperature checks of bearings, scan for belt misalignments and plugged discharge sensors.

In addition, AGI has a design group dedicated to using the technology and brands within its portfolio to find the best solutions for its customers.

Spillum says that customisation is a big part of Hi Roller’s brand, with its engineers going above and beyond to assist clients.

“When we put together a proposal, we listen carefully to what our customers are trying to achieve and work with them to get the best possible design,” he says.

“We also tend to be quite conservative with the way we size and design conveyors. We make the assumption that at some point, a gate might open too far and overfeed the belt. We know things don’t always work out perfectly, so our belts are designed to handle that.”

“It’s all part of our goal to be a market leader, providing customers with more value than they paid for.”