Tractor-less conveyors gain foothold in small grains market

LANGHAM, Sask. — The practice of tying up a tractor to move and power your conveyor is not efficient, which is why manufacturers now offer tractor-less conveyors that are totally self-propelled and self-contained.

The inefficiency compounds itself if you have bins in two or three different locations, forcing you to tie up two or three tractors, says Meridian representative Kevin Malica, who was at the Ag In Motion show near Saskatoon July 17-19 to promote the company’s self-contained Reliabelt conveyor. Meridian bought Reliabelt four years ago. The SP conveyor hydraulically drives four wheels.

“We can set a conveyor up with gas, diesel, p.t.o., or electric drive, but guys are mainly buying the standard gas-powered HD mover kits,” says Malica, adding that the standard engine is a 33 horsepower Kohler CH940 air-cooled twin.

“Meridian uses a joystick control for driving the conveyor in the bin yard. Some have a lever control. Some have a bike steering system. We think the joystick is the most convenient and also the safest control system.

“Our conveyors have a capacity of 12,000 bu. per hour. Lengths run from 80 feet up to 120 feet, but the mover kit is only available up to the 110-foot unit. That one has a reach of 45 feet.”

Malica says Reliabelt conveyors have a 10-inch diameter with a 20-inch wide belt. He says the hopper makes a smooth transition from a large flat intake to a round shape for the tube without relying on extra rollers. The design uses a low tension “S” belt drive so the belt hugs the conveyor contours to reduce leakage. The conveyor on display at AIM carried a price tag of $35,000.

He adds, “You have to remember that conveyors work great for every crop except canola.”

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