The Knowledge Resource for the World of Grain Handling and Processing Industry Operations

GEAPS 554: Grain Elevator Equipment Maintenance:  An Inside Look at Key Components

2019 course offerings:

  •  June 25 – July 30 – Registration opens May 22.

Registration is currently closed.

Course Description: This course covers the proper and safe function, monitoring, adjustments, maintenance and repair of equipment used in everyday grain facility operations. It will cover the functions, parts, components and troubleshooting of bucket elevators, drag conveyors, distributors, valving and gates. It will also touch on dust suppression and collection, power drive transmissions, screw conveyors and bin sweeps, and maintenance methodology.

Course Goals: This class aims to teach students different preventive maintenance techniques, how to troubleshoot and where to look for problems in different equipment and how to safely fix equipment used in everyday grain facilities operations.

Target Audience: GEAPS 554 is designed for people with responsibilities relating to maintenance and repair of grain-elevator equipment. It is intended for grain facility operators, people with day-to-day equipment responsibilities, 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 elevator equipment operation, maintenance and safety.


Gary Sondgeroth, President, PMI Iowa LLC | Show Bio

Gary started his career with Todd & Sargent Inc. in the summer of 1970 while still in high school. Following graduation, Gary returned to Todd & Sargent, and worked for the company in various departments and affiliated companies until 2001, when he became president of PMI Iowa LLC, a newly formed company. In his role as president, Gary manages the overall operations of PMI’s three divisions: Man Lift, Metal Fabrication and Millwright. Gary has earned a “blue-collar doctorate” in the repair and maintenance of all types and brands of grain-handling equipment. He has personally installed, repaired, rebuilt, performed maintenance and trouble shot hundreds of different types of equipment.

John Tuttle, District Sales Manager, Brock Grain Systems | Show Bio

Mr. Tuttle is district sales manager for Brock Grain Systems in Clive, Iowa. He graduated from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He has over 21 years of grain industry and equipment experience, first as a district manager for Sukup Manufacturing (7 years) and currently as a district manager for Brock Grain Systems (14 years). His primary focus is in field support for grain storage, drying and handling solutions for a diverse customer base. He joined GEAPS in 1998 and has served in chapter leadership. John was elected in 2010 as an Associates Board director. At the chapter level, he is serving as a past president of the Greater Iowa Chapter from for 2012-13.

Andy Heck, President, Edward J. Heck & Sons Co | Show Bio

Andy Heck is president of Edward J. Heck & Sons Co. in Omaha, Neb. He has been with the company for 35 years, serving the grain, feed and processing industries with parts and equipment such as dust suppression systems and hammermill screens.

Tracy Janssen, Vice President Air Pollution Control, CAMCORP, Inc | Show Bio

Tracy Janssen is vice president of the Air Pollution Control business unit of CAMCORP, Inc. A graduate of Iowa Central Community College, his professional career spans nearly thirty years and includes significant positions in engineering, sales and management with an emphasis on clean air management and dry particulate filtration. He has served a wide array of industries including: agricultural, ethanol, feed, food, grain, milling, pet food, seed and virtually all-industrial process industries.

Charles Gubser, Product Specialist, Torque-Arm Products | Show Bio

Charles 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.

Ted Sondgeroth, Vice President Engineering, Intersystems | Show Bio

Ted joined Intersystems in 1996 with a degree in Industrial Technology from Iowa State University. He first held the position of manufacturing engineer and was then named product engineering manager. In 2009, Ted was appointed to his current position, with responsibility for all product engineering, stand costing and parts and service functions for Intersystems.

Shad Singleton

Clayton Ellsworth

The Course of Study

Week 1
Lecture 1 – An Overview
This lecture will provide an overview of the course, describe goals and discuss what equipment is being covered in the lectures. The overall goal of this lecture is to assist students in understanding the DNA of their facility. It will provide a basic look at main grain facility equipment with descriptions. Students will discover how to create product flow charts, equipment lists and bin charts with guidance and examples provided.
Lecturer: Gary Sondgeroth

Lecture 2 – Bucket Elevators
This lecture will provide an in-depth description of the functions and components of bucket elevators. Students will comprehend the purpose and design of bucket elevators including their capabilities and limitations, the components of boot design and the types of trunking and head sections. They will gain knowledge about the troubleshooting and maintenance of bucket elevators and prevention of related safety hazards.
Lecturer: Ted Sondgeroth

Week 2
Lecture 3 – En-Masse Conveyors
This lecture gives an in-depth lesson on en-masse conveyors. It will look at the parts and components of en-masse drag conveyors, show how they function and look at their design capabilities and limitations. Once en-masse conveyor mechanics are understood, the lecture will go on to their troubleshooting and maintenance, teaching students where to look for problems and overall safety precautions to take.
Lecturer: Ted Sondgeroth

Lecture 4 – Belt Conveyors
This lecture’s main topic is belt conveyor maintenance, but it will also discuss their application and operation. The lesson is not designed to be all-inclusive, but rather aims to provide students with an overall explanation on how belt conveyors function, a description of their components, parts, design capabilities and limitations.
Lecturer: Ted Sondgeroth

Week 3
Lecture 5 – Grain Screening Equipment
This lecture will provide an in-depth lesson on screening, cleaning and scalping equipment. It will describe the parts, components, design capabilities and limitations of different types of screeners. A discussion of the typical problems associated with grain screening and day-to-day maintenance tips will be given to help students with troubleshooting. The lecture will also look at screening maintenance safety.
Lecturer: Clayton Ellsworth

Lecture 6 – Distributor Basics
In this lecture, students will be given in-depth descriptions of distributors including styles, their parts and components, the use of distributors in facilities and design selection based on capabilities and limitations. The lecturer will provide general troubleshooting techniques for manual and electric distributors including the main places to look for problems and maintenance safety.
Lecturer: Shad Singleton

Week 4
Lecture 7 – Part 1: Mineral Oil Dust Suppression Systems
This lecture will introduce students to mineral oil dust suppression systems. It will cover the reasons for using spray mineral oil and mineral oil dust suppression systems, give an overview of typical systems with system diagrams and images and an overview of system components. Based on common maintenance issues, the lecture will provide troubleshooting advice and tips including the common parts to adjust or replace in the system. There will also be information on maintenance safety.
Lecturer: Andy Heck

Lecture 7 – Part 2: Dust Collection
An overview of dust collection will be given in the second part of this lecture. The lecture will explain the importance of dust collection, show emission sources by using diagrams of different grain facilities and provide descriptions of the equipment and components used in the collection system. After the system overview, students will learn different maintenance procedures with sample maintenance schedules (daily to six-month schedules) and troubleshooting guides.
Lecturer: Tracy Janssen

Lecture 8 – Screw Conveyors and Bin Sweeps
This lecture will provide an in-depth description of how screw conveyors and bin sweeps function and how to operate them, and give an overview of their parts, components, design capabilities and limitations. It will also discuss troubleshooting basics for both screw conveyors and bin sweeps and give examples of possible problem areas. The lecture will give students an example troubleshooting and maintenance guide for bin sweeps and safety guidelines and recommendations both bin sweeps and screw conveyors.
Lecturer: John Tuttle

Week 5
Lecture 9 – Power Transmissions: Design, Maintenance and Troubleshooting
This lesson covers power transmission design, maintenance and troubleshooting. It will explain the importance of gear boxes, provide gear basics and go over different gear box configurations used in grain facilities with pros and cons for each. Students will learn about the maintenance considerations for various drive configurations, troubleshooting common problems for drive systems and safety considerations. A preventive maintenance checklist will be provided.
Lecturer: Charles Gubser

Lecture 10 – Maintenance Methodology
This lecture will discuss baseline preventive maintenance, including wear and lubrication issues, the importance of keeping equipment-maintenance records, different types of recordkeeping systems available, the benefits of regular maintenance and maintenance safety. It will teach students the importance of having a maintenance program to prevent safety hazards and give an overview of maintenance friendly construction and equipment design.
Lecturer: Gary Sondgeroth