State-of-the-Art Machinery3 years ago -
More than 70 guests celebrated the reopening of the Bayer SeedGrowth Equipment Innovation Center in Shakopee (US). There in Minnesota, USA, the latest equipment for on-seed applied technologies is evolved and manufactured for farmers and companies across the globe. We interview Peter Herold, manager of Bayer CropScience’s global engineering services and equipment international marketing, about the importance of equipment, what the new site offers, and why hands-on training is crucial for successful farming nowadays.
Why was the Bayer SeedGrowth Equipment Innovation Center in Shakopee modernized, and what has been improved so far?
The demand for innovative seed-applied solutions is increasing around the globe. The need is there, and being an integrated company with a unique fourfold competence brand such as Bayer SeedGrowth, we want to stay cutting edge when it comes to our offer. Bayer CropScience is the only crop protection company developing and selling its own application equipment.
The customers can select tailored solutions for their unique needs. Therefore, it was a conclusive step for us to invest in this special competence. In less than one year we extended and modernized the Bayer SeedGrowth Equipment Innovation Center. We invested significant resources to expand the site, and currently produce 40 different treating machineries of the two groups of batch and drum treaters. Inside the facility, now encompassing 135,000 square feet, we promote an advanced R&D part on equipment together with our Bayer SeedGrowth products, coatings, and services.
Could you please explain the new R&D facilities in detail and what the benefits for your customers are?
Various aspects play an important role. First of all, our team designs, develops, and produces the equipment here in Minnesota. Within this development, testing and analyzing scientific data is crucial. Therefore, we redesigned the flow of the stations, for instance the transfer line. And we added an assembly line that we didn’t have before. Expanding the area and using the space effectively led to increased productivity in terms of efficiency and time management. The lead time for industrial equipment was thus reduced by 65 percent, downstream equipment by 85 percent, and production capacity increased to support rapidly growing demands.
Moreover, we improved the office seating arrangements – a minor change one might think. But with our new front-end open offices, employees have the possibility to interact with each other more than ever, directly discussing the current status of the machinery. On a visual metrics board everyone is encouraged to monitor the processes, to rework things, and to contribute to new innovations. At the same time the customer benefits from these modernizations. Because not only can we individualize equipment to their specific needs, we also developed a new demonstration area. There the equipment is set up and we can simulate the actual process of treating. This way our customers can better test, monitor, and understand what they actually receive.
Another aspect at the facility in Shakopee are training courses. Why is training so important when it comes to seed-applied technologies?
Training is an integral part in everything we do at Bayer CropScience. Therefore, we enlarged our training facilities in Shakopee to emphasize this key aspect. With our two new areas we can train a large group of up to 120 people or two smaller groups since the area can be split into two. But not only customers such as certified treaters, farmers, or seed companies receive training. Colleagues such as sales representatives or technicians have the opportunity to immerse into all aspects of the machines or refresh their knowledge – from technical aspects to safety and stewardship measures. Alternatively, our field service assists the customers on-site with the set-up or calibration of the equipment and, of course, informs them about the right recipe, avoiding over- or undertreatment of the seeds.
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