For DuraTech Industries International Inc., 42 years of steadily escalating growth began in Minot, N.D. in a small welding shop where founder Joe Anderson began producing a modified tub grinder. An inventive, resourceful individual, Anderson recognized the benefits that fellow farmers and ranchers could realize by grinding hay for their own livestock. Based on that perception, he developed the innovative tub grinder perfectly suited to agricultural applications (existing grinders were too large and expensive for average farmers to own and operate).
Today, headquartered in Jamestown, N.D., DuraTech manufactures equipment for both agricultural and industrial customers, and its versatile product range – comprised of its DuraTech line of agricultural equipment and industrial-strength grinders – has achieved mythic status within niche markets for reliability, durability and cost effectiveness. In response to increasing demand, the company recently built a $1.75 million production facility that opened in June 2008.
SUBSTANTIAL RETURN ON INVESTMENT
Construction costs represent just part of the $2.3 million that DuraTech invested in operations in recent years. Dividends have been substantial. “In the past four years, we have more than doubled our sales volume,” reports DuraTech Marketing Manager Al Goehring. “We’ve increased from 1,200 units to more than 1,800 machines. In fact, in 2007 alone, we sold 1,874 units.”
The new building is the company’s third production facility at its Jamestown headquarters, and it will help DuraTech achieve even greater growth as the company responds to increasing global demand for its industrial and agricultural lines. The 20,000-squarefoot addition, which took eight months to build, houses engineering and new product development, as well as shipping and order fulfillment. “The expansion enabled us to take those elements out of the existing facilities, which allows us to streamline our manufacturing areas and get more product out the door,” says Goehring.
As he indicates, the two older facilities, comprised of 206,500 total square feet, will focus specifically on manufacturing. One plant is set up for its Haybuster agricultural product line, while the other (the company’s main plant) manufactures both agricultural and industrial products. All facilities are situated on DuraTech’s 46-acre Jamestown property.
Current operational scope is a quantum leap from the small welding shop that Anderson established in Minot in 1966 to build his first-generation tub grinder invention. At the time, the company was known as J&J Manufacturing (it would later be renamed Haybuster Manufacturing Company).
It didn’t take long for the company to grow. Only two years later, it moved to its current Jamestown location, where it began expanding its physical size and product line, in particular its hay processing and handling equipment. In the 1970s, the company further expanded production to include “no-till” drills, undercutters and rock pickers. By the late 1980s, the company extended its expertise toward developing an industrial product line. This new direction addressed growing needs associated with recycling and composting – activities that required the kind of rugged tub grinders that the company produced. With the move into the industrial market, Haybuster changed its name to DuraTech Industries International.
Now, DuraTech manufactures more than 25 models of agricultural and industrial products, which are marketed throughout the world via a 600-dealer network that includes industrial distributors and agricultural implement/equipment dealers who sell and service the offered products.
TWO PRODUCT LINES
Equipment is produced and marketed under two banners: Haybuster Agricultural Products and DuraTech Industrial Products. On the agricultural side, the Haybuster product line includes four bale buster models, seven tub grinder models, a high capacity grain grinder as well as two sizes of vertical mixers, which cut and mix hay and feed for beef and dairy cattle, all-purpose grain drills, and a rock picker, reports Goehring.
The main Haybuster agricultural products ease the work of farmers and ranchers. “With the hay processing and feeding equipment, we deal predominantly with the beef and dairy industries, which use the equipment for feeding cattle,” explains Goehring. “The all purpose grain drills are used for seeding crops and grasses. The rock pickers clear fields before seeding. The bale processors also spread mulch over the top of freshly seeded areas for erosion control.”
On the industrial side, DuraTech offers wood grinders that tackle the clearing and recycling needs of contractors and municipalities. Users can deploy the equipment to recycle and convert wood waste, tree clippings, pallets, paper and other waste into reclaimable material such as compost, mulch and hog fuel.
The industrial product line includes a full range of heavy-duty industrial tub and horizontal grinders ranging from a nine-foot/325hp tub grinder to a 12-foot/950hp tub grinder with grapple loader. Also, the company recently introduced the 950hp, 9564 Horizontal Grinder.
“The products are primarily used for waste reduction,” says Goehring. “They are also used for clearing land for construction. Most recently, we have gotten a lot of interest for using the grinders for reduction of timber slash to use for hog fuel; that is, for firing large wood-fire boilers.”
DuraTech growth has been further enhanced by its knack for successfully revamping existing products. For instance, DuraTech has introduced several next-generation industrial wood grinder models, such as the 3010 Track Tub Grinder, which is designed for users, particularly land-clearing contractors, who need to take the equipment into rough terrain to perform the toughest grinding jobs. The 3010 model features 25 inches of under-frame clearance combined with a 20-inch by 15-foot track system. Remote control provides operators command of the CAT diesel engine, CAT tracks, tub direction and stacking conveyor. The model’s variation, the 3010 Tub Grinder with Grapple Loader, also handles the most rigorous industrial grinding needs. With a design based on customer input, the model features a 7000 series loader with continuous rotating grapple, a self-cleaning radiator screen, a CAT 540 horsepower tier-two diesel engine coupled with a HPTO fluid clutch to the heavy-duty hammer mill and an oscillating stacking conveyor.
The aforementioned 9564 Horizontal Grinder possesses a CAT 950 hp engine that meets all the tier-two emission standards. Its HPTO wet clutch transfers power to a 12,000-pound, 51-inch hammermill. The large hammermill is fed by a self-governing floor apron and feed roller through the large 60-inch feed opening. Further, the high-capacity 315-cubic foot hopper handles the largest stumps and trees. “This is our latest piece of equipment on the industrial side, and it can pretty much grind anything organic, which makes it especially useful for customers in the wood waste business,” informs Goehring.
On the agricultural side, one recent introduction is the 2564 Balebuster, a versatile piece of equipment designed for dairy farmers, ranchers and erosion control, enabling users to place the output wherever needed. It features a curved spout that can be used for bunk and range feeding, bedding and erosion control applications. Its fan-spout rotation by hydraulic motor allows 360-degree rotation of discharge. It also features an optional straw cannon that can shoot mulch up to 100 feet, providing complete spreading coverage especially suited for erosion control. In addition, it processes hay, straw and silage bales with a heavy-duty rotor equipped with 40 flails.
“Also, we’ve introduced a high-capacity grain grinder the GP-50,” adds Goehring. “We modified some of our existing technology for users who only wanted to grind grain. An effective alternative to the tub grinder, it has proven very popular in the dairy industry, because it can grind high-moisture corn into a fine powder used in total mixed rations for dairy cows.”
This willingness and ability to advance existing technology is one of the pervasive elements that allowed DuraTech to grow throughout its 42 years. The company takes pride in meeting the everchanging needs of its customers, and it will do whatever it takes to meet those requirements. As the company moves forward, it has set global growth goals based on that commitment.