What They Needed
Nutrien Ag Solutions’ new retail facility in Urbana, OH, needed to do more than meet basic grower needs. It needed to deliver next-level customer service, maintain inventory accuracy, and achieve high-speed in-and-out access, all while keeping environmental responsibility at the forefront.
“We built this site for the grower of 2030,” Steve Emery, Division Manager of Southern Ohio, Nutrien Ag Solutions, says. “We wanted the ability to tailor mixes directly to customers and get them their product on their time schedule.”
To secure the latest in technology and facility design, Nutrien Ag Solutions reached out to Murray Equipment Inc. (MEI), the leader in liquid handling equipment and automation. Murray Equipment supplied the initial building and layout design and worked with Nutrien Ag Solutions to adapt the plan to meet all of its requirements.
“We chose Murray Equipment due to our familiarity with MEI’s responsive service and high-quality products. For us, it was already a proven solution,” Emery says. “Also, Murray Equipment has an in-house engineering team. Our project management team was able to work with them to get us exactly what we wanted.”
What We Designed
The Nutrien Ag Solutions facility includes a 300,000-gallon UAN tank, four 12,000-gallon nutritional tanks, 10 5,000-gallon bulk chemical tanks, two load-out bays with four load-out points as well as a 24/7 unattended fertilizer load-out bay. Murray Equipment supplied the equipment, skid units, tanks, controls, and even the electrical components to create a turn-key solution.
Nutrien Ag Solutions took advantage of the latest load-out control technology. This facility was built around MEI’s ICS 240 Load-out Control as well as the ICS 24-7-32 Unattended Load-out.
The ICS 240 controls the two load-out bays and mini-bulk filling station. At this facility the system measures based off both scale and meter, ensuring accurate and precise blends, including those with hand-adds.
“Murray Equipment understands that when we are handling high-value products, we need precision. Inventory shrink is a big concern,” Steve Emery says. “Thanks to the automation, we can precisely measure ounces and gallons as well as tons. We can go either way.”
The ICS 240 and system layout allows automated batches to be blended and loaded pre-mixed into customer tanks. Or the batch materials can be separated into different tanks on the tender truck and loaded into the applicator onsite. This option keeps the large carrier tank clean, preventing contamination and increasing through-put.
“Not only do we need to load the product, load it quickly, load it precisely, but then we have something in place to flush the system to be ready for the next truck because it could be totally different,” Emery says. “Making sure all that lines up and times up correctly is a big issue. We can’t have contamination in the lines and vehicles. Murray understands that whole process.”
The ICS 24-7-32 Unattended Load-out is designed to allow growers with a preset load number to load UAN on their time schedule, around the clock.
“We believe the grower of 2030 will want to pull product when they see fit; not being tied down by our hours and schedule,” Emery says.
In addition to the technology, Nutrien Ag Solutions and Murray Equipment also took a unique approach to the facility design.
High-volume and low-volume skids were plumbed so that the same bulk fertilizer tanks could be used to fill large tender trucks and applicators as well as smaller mini-bulk tanks. This lowers the amount of mini-bulk storage tanks required, not only increasing product margins but also improving environmental friendliness.
“We wanted to minimize our environmental footprint,” Emery says. “We have a confined tank, so there is no dike water to manage. We keep our nutritional and chemical tanks inside, minimize our use of mini-bulk tanks, and even unload product inside. Whether it is chemical or fertilizer products, we want to make sure everything is entirely contained.”
How The Process Went
The project is scheduled to be completed in the next month. Nutrien Ag Solutions has been pleased with the entire process from start to finish.
“Murray Equipment was very responsive to our needs and wants all the way through the project. They were very responsive, tailoring it to what we were asking for and what we were needing,” Emery says. “We’re happy with the way the project has turned out, with the service that we’ve had from Murray team. They were timely. They were onsite when they said they would be. They stayed within our budget parameters. It went well.”