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* News Release *
 
Friday, February 18, 2005
For Immediate Release

BCEO SNOW CREWS DEVISE SALT CONVEYOR SYSTEM
Improved Storage and Loading Efficiency

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens has long held the belief that he employs some of the most talented workers to be found anywhere, be they bridge engineers or snow plow drivers. Area road salt suppliers would certainly agree with that based on a new salt conveyor system developed by one BCEO snowfighting crew.

"The new system is relatively simple, yet saves lots of time and allows us to make better use of our 6,500-ton salt barn," Wilkens said. "And best of all, it was put together by our own people utilizing existing equipment and an inexpensive conveyor belt."

An old salt spreader box from an aging snow plow truck was placed on wheels and is moved to a conveyor belt in front of the BCEO's salt storage barn. When salt is delivered to the Engineer's facility, truckers can quickly dump the salt and move on to their next delivery. "This makes them happy because they are paid by the load," said crew leader Denny Hileman, whose crew designed and built the system. "It makes them want to deliver here because we are more efficient. We never have problems with delivery."

Once the salt is delivered, BCEO crews load the salt into the hopper, from where it drops onto a conveyor belt and is carried into the salt storage barn. The new system also makes it easier to keep the salt barn at full capacity, thus reducing the risk of running low on salt during long stretches of severe winter weather.

Saves Money

The salt hopper and conveyor system has proven to be an extremely efficient method by which to handle a material that is all too familiar to Midwestern motorists. "Road salt is a way of life during the winter, but it is the most effective way to melt snow and treat roads," noted Operations Deputy Scott Bressler. "If we can manage our supplies more effectively, it benefits the taxpayer by reducing cost and improving efficiency."

Bressler noted the difference between this new system and the old way: "Previously the truckers who delivered the salt blew it into our storage barn using a piler. It took 20 minutes per truck. Now they dump the salt and are on their way in less than four minutes. This means we pay less for the salt." The BCEO received bids last August for this winter's salt and the lowest bidder was North American Salt Company with a bid amount of $32.76 per ton for dump delivery versus $35.26 per ton for piler delivery. "That's a difference of $2.50 per ton," noted Bressler. "Considering we use 4,500 tons of salt during a typical Butler County winter, that's an average annual savings of $11,250."

And that makes County Engineer Wilkens, well known for his belt-tightening, smile. "That's more money we can put into replacing an old bridge or upgrading a dangerous intersection," he said. "We're proud of our guys for their creative effort to save the taxpayers money. Their talent speaks for itself."

For a pictorial overview of how the salt conveyor system works, click on the images below.

Click on images to enlarge.
Salt is dumped from truck. ............ .......................................
BCEO crews use front-end loader to dump salt into hopper.
Loading salt into salt hopper. ....... ............................................
Salt hopper with conveyor system into storage barn.
Salt is moved from hopper onto conveyor belt.
Conveyor system transports salt into storage barn.
Inside salt storage barn.
....... .............................................
Salt piled high. Barn filled to near capacity. ..............................
The crew - Denny Hileman, John Singleton, Terry Slack, Eric Brown.

# # #

For more information contact:

Chris Petrocy, BCEO Public Information Supervisor
Greg Wilkens, P.E., P.S., Butler County Engineer
Phone 513.867.5744 • Fax 513.867.5849


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