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How to Choose a Railcar Hopper Gate Opener

Gate Opener - KC Supply Co.Unloading railcars is a slow, dirty and dangerous job. When you need to unload material from the bottom of the hoppers of railcars, railcar hopper gate openers can make the job safer and easier.

Gate openers allow a single operator to open or close hopper car gates in a fraction of the time required with manual tools. With the right railcar gate opener, even jammed railcar gates – the kind that require several workers to put in overtime or cause railcars to be shunted to alternate tracks – are easily and quickly opened.

Gate openers come in many different models with different features. Based on factors such as number of cars loaded, unloading site conditions including available utilities (compressed air pressure and volume, three-phase power, etc.), site security, and budget, there are many options. Wheeled-cart, beam-mount and portable gate openers are just a few.

So how do you decide which gate opener is best for your unloading site? Should you choose a fast, powerful model or a manual model? Consider the following to make your decision:

  • The condition and consistency of the railcars you process (Old and poorly maintained railcars mean more gate opener power is needed, and varying height capstans mean more height adjustability.)
  • The quantity of railcars you process on a daily, weekly or monthly basis (More gates mean more gate opener speed is needed.)
  • The condition and location of the unloading site (Remote sites or sites with uneven terrain can mean more gate opener automation, while tight quarters may require more gate opener manual operation.)
  • Your budget (Gate openers range in price from $1,000-$18,000, but financing and leasing programs are usually available.)

Trust KC Supply Co. Inc. to help answer your questions about gate openers and help you select the model that best fits your needs and budget. KC Supply Co. offers the industry’s best line of gate openers – the Door Demon. Key safety features of the Door Demon hopper gate openers include:

  • Safe, single-person operation
  • Helps prevent employee injuries
  • Lock out/tag out capabilities (OSHA Standard)
  • Powder-coated “safety yellow” for increased visibility
  • Removes workers from under railcars during unit operation
  • Drive controls return to neutral/stop upon release

Multiple power options are available: pneumatic, AC electric, DC electric, hydraulic and manual. With safety in mind, all Door Demon AC electric units are designed with explosion-proof motors and an enclosed kill switch for quick and easy shut-off. This safe solution is especially important in dusty, dirty environments, in industries where explosion risks are high such as fertilizers, grain, and ethanol.

Call KC Supply Co.’s experts for all your gate opener needs. We offer the industry’s best products for you. Call us at 800.527.8775 (800.KC.SUPPLY) or visit us at

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Why Urethane Liners?

Urethane Liners - KC Supply Co.Not all polyurethane, or “urethane,” liners are created the same or possess the same properties or quality. But how urethane is manufactured and fabricated determines how effective it is in a specific application.

Industries that can benefit from the use of urethane liners include the grain, sand and gravel, crushed stone, coal, gold, silver, copper, salt, and many others involved in the handling or conveying of bulk materials.

Industry applications for urethane liners include:

  • Grain: Areas of the bucket elevator including head section, distributors, transitions, elbows, spouts and chutes and screw conveyors; to protect grain, feed and other materials from breakage
  • Mining: Spouts and chutes, elbows, bins and hoppers, belt scrapers, noise and vibration dampening, feed boxes, classifier shoes, perforated particle sizing screens and skirt boards
  • Concrete: Lining of central batch mixers and blades
  • Foundry Castings: Lining of vibratory trough for deburring of parts; sandblast and shotblast curtains

Urethane is an elastomeric material with outstanding properties and wear characteristics that offers superior cut and abrasion resistance. It possesses the ability to “self-heal,” and can be formulated to have specific properties (i.e. co-efficient of friction, resiliency and compression set can be formulated high or low). Other benefits include its excellent resistance to ozone and aging, it’s resistance to many oils and solvents, and its outstanding low-temperature properties. It increases the lifespan of equipment and solves wear problems. Urethane can be molded and bonded to a variety of substrates, and it is lightweight, making it flexible and ideal for many applications.

When it comes to urethane liners, as with many products, you get what you pay for. For example, not all of them meet FDA standards for dry food handling and cushion grain, feed and other materials from breakage. So be selective when choosing a type and brand of liner so you don’t sacrifice quality, durability or service. You want a reliable, high-quality urethane liner because it will prove to be most cost-efficient for your business in the long run.

At KC Supply, quality urethane liners are stocked and ready-to-ship today!  Call our experts at 800.527.8775 to discuss what kind of urethane liner is best for your business, or visit our website at to view our wide selection of lining materials.




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Don’t Babysit Your Bins, Install a Bin-Level Monitor

Bin-level Monitors at KC Supply Co.

When it comes to your bins, it’s critical to know whether they are empty, full or somewhere in between.

If you don’t have the resources required to install electrical wiring to your storage bins, KC Supply Co. offers two bin-level monitor options for you: The LevAvert and the Binzful.

The LevAlert is a simple, mechanical lever-operated bin-level indicator, while the Binzful is a slightly more robust indicator that also works with your handheld two-way radios. In a glance, the LevALERT black and yellow Indicator shows you the level of material in your bin while you remain safely on the ground. Whether you fill your bins once a year or several times a day, LevALERT saves you time, labor and money.


LevALERT benefits include:

  • Safety:  see the level of material in your bin while you remain safe on the ground
  • Easy Installation:  fully assembled and ready to install from outside your bin
  • High visibility:  can be easily seen from 200 feet, day or night
  • No electricity required:  completely mechanical
  • Adaptability:  easily accessorized with an optional electrical sensor to activate horns, lights, motors, etc.
  • Increased safety:  virtually eliminates the need to climb bins
  • Saves money:  greatly improves your operation by saving you time, wear and tear on equipment, and your body. You only need a second to check how full or how empty your bin is.

Binzful is available in a single- or multiple-bin monitor version. The benefits of these portable, wireless bin-level monitors include:

  • Easy set up and use
  • Prevents bin overfilling
  • Completely portable
  • No expensive wiring to install
  • Customizable wording and frequency of alarms
  • Rechargeable battery lasts up to 6 months  battery

Binzful monitors work with your existing two-way handheld radios. Simply lower the cable and switch to the desired depth (supplied with 30-foot cable). Verbal warnings are sent directly to your radio – when the monitor is turned on, a “bin is monitored” message is sent to your radio, and the “monitor is on” message can be repeated every hour to let you know it’s working. When the tilt switch is activated by the grain pile, a warning message is repeated until the condition is corrected.

Both LevALERT and Binzful bin-level monitors boost productivity, as they allow you and your employees to work instead of babysit your bins, saving time, labor and money.

KC Supply Co. is your trusted source for bin-level monitors. Call us today at 800.KC Supply today and ask our experts which bin-level monitor option will work best for your business.


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Moving Bulk Materials with Screw and Drag Conveyors

Conveyors are used to economically and efficiently move bulk materials from point A to point B. But are you using the right type for your business?

Screw and drag conveyors are the most commonly used types of conveyor systems. Choosing the one that best fits your business depends on your application and needs.

Screw conveyors move product from one point to the next by pushing the product with a rotating shaft and flight assembly. With screw conveyors, the inlet is usually control-fed by equipment that discharges the product at a specific rate. Screw conveyors are a completely enclosed system, which helps reduce product spillage as well as reduce dust emissions. They require minimal maintenance because they have few moving parts, and they can carry a wide variety of products from free-flowing to slow moving.

Screw conveyors are available in various designs and sizes, ranging from 4-inch to 24-inch in diameter and up to 120-inch in diameter with flights as thick as 2 inches. They can be made from a variety of metals, including mild steel, galvanized steel, stainless steel, aluminum, hastalloy, monel, Inconel and other alloys.

If you are limited by space, drag conveyors may be your best option for conveying bulk materials over, under and around other equipment. They are energy efficient, requiring less horsepower to move a product than most other conveying equipment. With drag conveyors, the bulk material enters the conveyor through a bypass inlet to allow the product to fill the lower portion of the housing without contacting the chain and flights on the return rail.

Drag conveyors are available in a round-bottom or flat-bottom option. Drag conveyors, by design, can convey product with little to no product degradation, which is important when you have bulk materials that are pelletized or you want to maintain a product’s integrity. Drag conveyors typically do a better job when you need to thoroughly clean out product at the discharge point.

Is your current conveyor system meeting your needs? KC Supply Co. experts can assess your current screw and drag conveyor system or any other system and answer questions, including how to make your conveyor more economical and efficient. KC Supply offers new and replacement parts and can customize conveyors, including screw and drag conveyors, to fit your unique application and business. We have many years of experience and several manufacturing plants throughout the United States to meet your needs. We offer various parts and sizes for screw and drag conveyors and can even customize them for you. Call 1.800.KC.SUPPLY.

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Protect Your Workplace with Portable Gas Monitors

It’s best to be prepared for unexpected threats, especially when they can affect the health and safety of your workplace and employees.Portable Gas Monitors

Portable gas monitors can help protect your most important assets via your smart phone or computer. The MSA ALTAIR Grid is a real-time, remote monitoring service for gas detection can help reduce risks and mitigate concerns about gas exposure alarms and other potentially dangerous situations, including fire, explosion, hazardous exposure and asphyxiation.

The new application of gas monitors takes portable gas detection to the next level. By using the MSA ALTAIR Connect App, which is compatible with the industry-leading ALTAIR 4XR and ALTAIR 5X gas detectors, the ALTAIR Grid provides simultaneous location mapping for dozens of individual workers using a secure web-based virtual control room.

When you need portable gas monitors to protect critical assets, you can’t settle for old technology. MSA’s inventive approach uses wireless detection and cloud-hosted data storage to expand remote monitoring capabilities and ensure worker safety. With the MSA ALTAIR Grid, the safety of your workers and your work site is always in view no matter where you are. With tools that include real-time detection and analysis, and seamless alert notification, you’ll have the ability to instantly assess and avoid high-risk situations, protecting you, your work site and employees from potential disaster.

The MSA ALTAIR Grid enables you to respond proactively to gas exposure alarms and other hazardous situations in the field. It allows you to:

  • Connect an unlimited number of Bluetooth-enabled ALTAIR 4XR and 5X to the ALTAIR Grid via the ALTAIR Connect app on your Android-based smart device or PC
  • Monitor and interact with all connected detectors
  • Search, review, update and download historical incident information

KC Supply Co. is your trusted source for portable gas monitors, including gas detection warning devices to keep your working environment safe. We have an extensive inventory, including confined space entry, single-gas and multiple sensor gas monitors, and the MSA ALTAIR Grid and gas monitors. Call us at 800.KC.SUPPLY (800.527.8775) today to find out what portable gas monitors you need to safeguard your workplace. Ask our experts how gas detection warning devices can benefit your business.

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Trust KC Supply for All Your Knappco/Civacon Product Needs

KC Supply Co. - Knappco and Civacon access doors

Do your access ports, inspection doors and manways meet OSHA’s regulations?

If you need help making your facility compliant with OSHA standards, contact KC Supply Co. KC Supply is the largest stocking distributor of Knappco and Civacon access doors in the United States. We offer pressure-rated, non-pressure-rated and pressure-relieving options. KC Supply also stocks Knappco and Civacon access door screens to prevent unauthorized entry.

Knappco specializes in products for access to petroleum, chemical and dry bulk cargo tanks and conveying equipment. These include: access ports, manways, weld rings, hatches, fill covers, swing check valves, pressure vacuum hatches, pressure relief valves, bottom loading equipment, delivery elbows, overfill detection devices and vapor recovery adaptors.

For Knappco products, you can depend on KC Supply Co. We stock the complete line of Knappco products. We also are the largest Knappco stocking distributor and have been a Knappco distribution partner for decades. If you need a product immediately, KC Supply offers same-day shipment options on most items.

In addition, KC Supply is Knappco’s only authorized, factory-trained repair center in the United States.

Contact KC Supply today to order Knappco and Civacon access doors. We also can answer questions about OSHA regulations and about which products meet those regulations. KC Supply Co. is your trusted source for conveying and elevating equipment plus safety supplies.


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Having Grain Entrapment Rescue Devices at the Ready Can Save Lives

The Greibrok brothers were breaking up rotten corn in a Glenville, Minn., bin earlier this month when disaster struck. David Greibok became stuck and knew he was in trouble.

Glenville Fire Chief Matt Webb and his father, Wes, were close by and first on the scene to help. They brought in rescue equipment to help free David. They were joined by more firefighters, who used a grain rescue tube and an auger to relieve some of the pressure and remove the corn.

“With any grain bin situation, you want to get the person out as quickly as possible. That grain is like quick sand, as you sink down in you can sink down out of sight,” Chief Jeff Laskowske with the Albert Lea Fire Department, told local TV station KTTC. “The grain itself can create pressure on the chest, not allowing a person to breathe, cutting off circulation to different parts of the body.”

Firefighters arrived on the scene just before 10 am that day and freed David Greibrok just before noon. Webb said Greibok is safe thanks to a great team effort and the grain entrapment rescue devices they had on hand.

According to Jeff Lavery, owner of KC Supply Co., the rescue tube is designed to act as a barrier to allow the pressure of the grain from being exerted on the trapped person. Once the tube is assembled around him, the grain is removed from inside the tube, allowing him to be gradually unburied. The steps on the inside of the tube allow first responders to provide first aid and other rescue activities – without standing on the person who is trapped.

Because the fire department had the right rescue equipment on hand, David Greibok’s story had a happy ending. KC Supply Co. supplied the fire department with the yellow rescue tube used in the rescue and offers a patented, red version of the rescue auger, Lavery said. The KC Supply Red Rescue Auger is a one-of-a-kind tool engineered specifically for grain entrapment rescues. KC Supply carries them in stock.

Every second counts in a rescue operation and being prepared for an emergency can mean the difference between life and death. If you don’t have the right grain entrapment rescue devices at the ready, you can find what you need today at KC Supply. KC Supply offers tubes, augers, and other critical rescue equipment. Contact KC Supply Co. today for all your grain entrapment rescue device needs.


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Trust KC Supply Co. for the Best Buckets in the Business

Maxi-Lift conveying and elevating buckets

Selecting the right conveying and elevating buckets for agricultural use can be a daunting task. Quality and reliability are critical.

You can trust Maxi-Lift Inc. for both. With more than 45 years of experience in the business, you can trust Maxi-Lift conveying and elevating buckets for your agricultural and industrial needs.

Maxi-Lift’s buckets are available in Tiger-CC and HD-STAX models. Suitable for crushing operations and feed facilities, the Tiger-CC series offers 21 sizes ranging from 10 x 7 to 28 x 10 in polyethylene, nylon and urethane materials. All Tiger-Tuff buckets, whether the traditional design or the CC style, are made for high volume/throughput applications that take a toll on wear components in an elevator. With millions sold worldwide, the largest grain, feed, processing, fertilizer and ethanol companies use Tigers.

Featuring a tapered design to allow for deep stacking of buckets, HD-STAX buckets are available in sizes ranging from 4 x 3 to 18 x 8. HD-STAX are used in grain and feed applications.

Another critical consideration is bucket material. Maxi-Lift makes 40 sizes of agricultural urethane buckets. Urethane buckets are the most abrasion-resistant, non-metallic buckets available. In addition, they are pliable, which allows them to give a little under impact. This virtually eliminates the cracking experienced with some polyethylene buckets, making them ideal for feed applications.

KC Supply Co. offers a wide variety of Maxi-Lift conveying and elevating buckets to meet your every agricultural need. Maxi-Lift is the largest elevator bucket manufacturer in the world.

When it comes to choosing or replacing conveying and elevating buckets for your agricultural needs, count on KC Supply Co. for advice and help. For more than 25 years, KC Supply Co. has been the leader in moving your agricultural equipment from point A to point B. We are your trusted experts when it comes to selecting agricultural conveying and elevating equipment. We offer a complete line of Maxi-Lift conveying and elevating buckets, from complete units to replacement parts. Call us today at 800.527.8775.


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Grain Silo Accidents Increased in 2016; Protection Is Critical

Grain silos are hazardous places to work and so implementing the right agricultural and industrial safety equipment is critical. Last year, for example, there were 29 grain entrapment incidents – about 21 percent more cases than the 24 incidents in 2015, according to Purdue University’s annual survey of grain handling accidents.

agricultural and industrial safety equipment - KC Supply, Co.

Eighteen people died from entrapment in 2016, up from 14 the previous year, the survey found.

Although entrapment numbers increased in 2016, the five-year average actually declined slightly, from 30.2 in 2015 to 29.4 in 2016, according to the report. The recent high for entrapment cases and deaths was in 2010, when 31 people died and 59 incidents occurred, past Purdue reports revealed.

But entrapments aren’t the only hazard in grain silos. In 2016, Purdue researchers found another 42 grain-related incidents that resulted in the deaths of 22 people from incidents including entanglement with machinery, asphyxiation and falls.

Purdue found that more than 900 cases of grain engulfment have been reported in the past 50 years, with a fatality rate of 62 percent.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) grain handling rule (29 C.F.R. 1910.272) generally defines silos as confined spaces, requiring workers lowered into a silo to be tethered an escape system and to have an observer watching. The rule also says people shouldn’t enter a silo if machinery is running and it is possible to snag a worker’s foot or arm.

Do you have the proper safety equipment in place to protect your workers when they enter a silo? KC Supply Co. can help you find agricultural and industrial safety equipment that fits your work environment needs.

To be prepared for a life-threatening accident or situation, KC Supply Co. offers a solution to reduce considerably the time required to remove grain. Every second counts during a rescue, so the KC Supply Red Rescue Auger is a one-of-a-kind tool engineered specifically to aid in grain engulfment rescues.

Another solution from KC Supply Co. is the Great Stepped Silver Wall for Grain Entrapment Rescue V4.0. It combines the strengths of two of the best designs to offer the ultimate adaptable entrapment rescue device. External steps provide leverage for inserting panels, while internal steps allow first responders to access the trapped worker and provide first aid.

There is nothing more critical than keeping your employees safe. KC Supply Co. offers an expansive collection of agricultural and industrial safety equipment. We carry everything you need to ensure a safe working environment, including fall protection equipment, gas monitors, grain entrapment rescue devices, PPE, respirators, proper lighting, signs, locks, and emergency and rescue equipment.

Call KC Supply Co. today and ask us what products you need to keep your workers safe.

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Are You in Compliance with OSHA’s Slip, Trip and Fall Revisions?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, slips, trips and falls cause the majority of general industry workplace accidents and cost employers billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and business. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) statistics show that about 20% of all disabling occupational injuries result from falls (202,066 serious accidents a year).

For these reasons, OSHA revised its slips, trips and falls regulation under Subpart D, “Walking-Working Surfaces.” The requirements apply to all general industry workplaces and all walking and work surfaces, including but not limited to: floors, aisles, ladders, roofs, ramps, stairways, scaffolds and elevated work surfaces and walkways.

safety gates that meet OSHA regulations

Under the new rules, effective January 2017, employers are required to:

  •  Identify and evaluate slip, trip and fall hazards and provide appropriate personal protective equipment
  •  Conduct regular and periodic inspections and maintenance of all walking and work surfaces in their workplace
  • Provide training that enables employees to recognize the hazards of falling and the procedures to be followed to minimize these hazards.

OSHA expects the requirements to affect seven million employers and 112 million employees. The revisions will prevent 29 fatalities and 5,842 injuries each year, according to OSHA’s estimates.

OSHA believes that the new requirements give employers the necessary flexibility to decide which fall protection method or system works best for the work operation. General industry employers can now use guardrails and handrails, covers, personal fall protection, designated areas, safety net systems and safety gates that meet OSHA regulations. For employees, OSHA said these options will help provide more effective and necessary protection from falls.

Are you in compliance with the new rules? If not, or if you’re not sure, call the experts at KC Supply Co. at 800.527.8775. KC Supply Co. can help you select the appropriate safety gates that meet OSHA regulations for your workplace needs, for ladderway openings, stairway openings, equipment access ladders, scaffolding, mezzanines, working platforms and more. KC Supply Co. is your source for safety gates that meet OSHA regulations and other critical workplace safety gear.

For more about OSHA’s revisions to Subpart D, visit

Final Rule to Update General Industry Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Standards | Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Final Rule to Update General Industry Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Standards

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