Equipment Maintenance

Advanced and Preventive Maintenance

GEAPS Online Learning courses are available anytime on-demand. Each course takes approximately 10 hours to complete and can be completed at any pace over five weeks. Courses must be completed within a five-week period that begins the day you register. After registering, learners will be sent a confirmation email, then you’re ready to start learning!  


$495 for members
$795 for non-members.  

Course Description

An advanced level course, Advanced and Preventive Maintenance focuses on the maintenance and repair of equipment in grain facilities, looking at bucket elevator and conveyance equipment in particular. Topics include: developing and implementing a preventive maintenance program; bucket elevator repair and upkeep for both lower and upper systems; repair and upkeep of belt, pneumatic, chain and screw conveyors; conveyance equipment lubrication; and effective hazard monitoring. All course lectures were developed by experts in the field.

Course goal: 

The course goal is to familiarize participants with the proper function, monitoring, adjustments, maintenance and repair of bucket elevator and conveyance equipment commonly used in grain facilities.

Target audience: 

This course is designed for people with experience and responsibilities relating to maintenance and repair of grain elevator equipment. It is intended for experienced grain elevator operators; people with day-to-day equipment responsibilities at grain facilities; elevator superintendents with physical-plant responsibilities; location or regional managers with equipment oversight responsibilities; maintenance personnel or elevator workers with equipment maintenance and repair duties; millwrights; equipment suppliers and salespeople; or anyone with a professional need to learn more about maintenance of bucket elevators and conveyance equipment.


The course is intended for professionals with prior experience in maintenance of grain-elevator equipment, and for students who have completed Grain Elevator Equipment Maintenance. Homework assignments will require students to inspect facility equipment.

Gord Braun  Parrish & Heimbecker LtdSee Bio

Douglas E. Forst  CMC Industrial ElectronicsSee Bio

Doug Forst started CMC Industrial Electronics in 1997 with a mission to “protect lives and human property.” Doug has 35 years of experience in electronics manufacturing, specializing in industrial controls. He has been active in the grain processing industry since the early 1980s and has products installed in facilities all across North America. His expertise includes the design, manufacture and deployment of hazard monitoring systems used in grain handling facilities. Doug is a longtime member of GEAPS and is the chair of the Distance Education Program Oversight Committee.

Dr. Carlos Campabadal, PhD  Kansas State University Dept of Grain Science & IndustrySee Bio

Dr. Carlos Campabadal is a program specialist focusing in the areas of grain storage, quality management and processing, and feed manufacturing for the International Grains Program at K-State. He also coordinates the Spanish-speaking outreach program, and handles teaching and research responsibilities in feed manufacturing and grain storage at K-State’s Department of Grain Science & Industry. Carlos works as a consultant in grain handling, quality and storage and in feed manufacturing in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and North Africa. He is finishing his doctoral degree in agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue University. His professional experience includes working as a project and maintenance engineer in the farm and feed manufacturing industry in Costa Rica.

Randy Springer  Pepper Maintenance SystemsSee Bio

Randy Springer became interested in safety and maintenance programs when he spent 11 years working as a grain elevator superintendent after college. In 1997, he co-founded Pepper Maintenance and in 2008, he, along with his wife, became the sole owner. Pepper Maintenance began with a specialization in infrared and vibration technologies, but has expanded to include precision laser installation and alignment, ultrasonics, thickness testing and LDAR. Pepper currently serves companies in 44 states and Canada, which has led to its recognition as a leader in the field of preventive maintenance. As President and CEO of Pepper Maintenance, Randy is certified as a Level 3 Thermographer, holds several vibration certificates, and has many years of experience in laser alignment and ultrasonics. Randy graduated from Goshen College.

Charles Gubser  Torque-Arm ProductsSee Bio

Charles Gubser has been in the bulk material handling industry for almost 20 years. He started as a conveyor designer and estimator for an OEM specializing in in-plant, overland and portable conveyor systems in the gold and copper mining industries. He worked for several years with Emerson Power Transmission. He has been with Baldor-Dodge in Torque-Arm product marketing for the last 13 years. He conducts numerous customer and corporate training sessions and works closely with engineering and manufacturing on new product launches.

The Course of Study:
Week 1Details

Lecture 1 – Why All Facilities Need a Preventive Maintenance Program
This introductory lecture examines the meaning of “preventive maintenance” and showcases what PM programs can accomplish. Participants will learn how preventive maintenance can cut costs, what equipment should be included in a PM program and what tools should be involved, why good maintenance recordkeeping is crucial, what you want your PM program to tell you, how hazard monitoring fits into a PM program and what predictive maintenance is.
Lecturer: Randy Springer

Lecture 2 – How Facilities Can Develop Preventive Maintenance Systems to Meet Specific Needs
How do you set up a PM program and use it? This lecture covers key considerations in setting up a recordkeeping system. Some of the topics discussed are: what the records should include, how to develop a maintenance history so real equipment costs are known (and costly failures can be averted), recordkeeping with equipment suppliers, possible benefits and considerations of standardization among multiple facilities, and hazard monitoring’s place in PM.
Lecturer: Randy Springe

Week 2Details


Lecture 3 – Bucket Elevator Options and Functions
This lecture will familiarize students with all aspects of bucket elevators. Topics discussed include bucket elevator types and sizes, the main differences between types, cup types and profiles, how each system should look when running properly, bucket elevator troubleshooting, running for different commodities, and making legs conducive to the system’s goals.
Lecturer: Dr. Carlos Campabadal

Lecture 4 – Bucket Elevator Repair and Upkeep: Upper Systems
Lecture 4 is a tutorial on the repair and upkeep of bucket elevator upper systems. Subjects covered include motor repair and replacement, gearbox maintenance, how to change head lagging, how to deal with tramp metal, loose cups and extraneous material, head-pulley maintenance and shimming a head pulley.
Lecturer: Gord Braun

Week 3Details


Lecture 5 – Bucket Elevator Repair and Upkeep: Lower Systems
Lecture 5 explores the repair and upkeep of bucket elevator lower systems. Topics include how to splice a leg belt; how to properly align belt tracking; how to check cups, cup condition and whether the system is losing cups; how to check legging condition and make leg adjustments; how to repair drives and bearings; what floating bots are and how to maintain them; flow of grain from remote silo; and how to prevent back-legging.
Lecturer: Gord Braun

Lecture 6 – Conveyor Equipment Options and Functions
In this lecture, participants will learn about conveyor types (chain drive, belt drive, enclosed belts, etc.), how each type works and what it does, proper belt alignment, paddle materials, chain strength, what controls maximum length, intermediate gates and unloading, and minimizing carryover.
Lecturer: Gord Braun

Week 4Details

Lecture 7 – Conveyor Repair and Upkeep: Belts (and Pneumatic)
Lecture 7 covers the repair and upkeep of belt and pneumatic conveyors. Topics include: main problems and how to fix them, how to inspect, how to get side rollers in place, concentrators, how to ensure proper tracking and how to deal with excessive side wear.
Lecturer: Gord Braun

Lecture 8 – Conveyor Repair and Upkeep: Chain (and Screw)Course participants will learn everything they need to know about chain and screw conveyor maintenance and upkeep in this lecture. It discusses common problems and how to fix them, how to inspect, proper tracking, excessive wear, dropping grain in the right place, liners, guides, hangar bearings on screw conveyors, greaseless bearings and lubrication.
Lecturer: Gord Braun

Week 5Details

Lecture 9 – Hazard Monitoring
This lecture covers hazard monitoring as a key tool in preventive maintenance. Topics include where to find monitors in a plant, how to use hazard monitoring, what to do when alarms go off, how to use a rub block, where the low-speed monitor should be and what it should do, overflow devices for choking or backup, correct monitor placement, the reason for code and law, maintenance records as legal documents and how to know what to do when a monitor is not working.
Lecturer: Doug Forst

Lecture 10  Lubrication
The final course lecture discusses conveyance equipment lubrication and why proper lubrication is essential. Subjects include lubricant choices, application of lubricant, lubricant testing, when to lubricate, over-greasing hazards, under-greasing hazards, alignment of junctions between motors and gear drives, metal particles in oil, and how to know if lubricant fits the application and if bearings are big enough.
Lecturer: Charles Gubser