Tough Jobs Require Tough Equipment

Artex Manufacturing

Farmers are some of the hardest working people on the planet. They’re tough, the job is tough, and tough jobs require the toughest equipment. Artex Manufacturing knows this and that’s why its equipment is designed and built by farmers, for farmers.
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The company is even owned by farmers, Farmers Union Industries (FUI), which shows how deep the team’s commitment to designing and manufacturing the most durable, reliable, and high-quality farm equipment goes. It’s equipment they are proud to use themselves.

As National Sales Manager Shawn Guetter noted, “We’re basically building these for ourselves to use on our own farms. You won’t find a robot assembly line in our factory. You’ll find every product is hand assembled and personally inspected to the fullest quality in America.”

“That’s because we know what it’s like to have a product break down in the field,” said Samuel Coalson, Product Marketing and Customer Relations Manager. That’s time and money lost, and our goal is to make sure that never happens with one of our products.”

Artex Manufacturing offers lines of manure spreaders, silage trailers, live-bottom trailers, truck-mounted boxes, rendering trailers, and fat and bone trailers, as well as the attachments and technology required to keep them all running their best. The company knows it makes an exceptional product, but true to the farmer stereotype, they’re about as humble as they come.

Each piece of equipment is built by hand using the best materials available at Artex’s headquarters in Redwood Falls, Minnesota, located in the heartland of the heartland, where it has been located since the acquisition by FUI in 2008. Previously based in Canada, the company has served the global market since the 1970s.

“We’re worldwide and we feel we have the best people on our team to achieve this goal. Again, with everybody on our ownership team being farmers, that gives us good leadership. We have [everything from] first rate plant production crews – they’re also farmers building the very same products that they use on their own field – to a sales team that works tirelessly to make sure our customers and our dealers are satisfied,” Coalson explained.

Artex equipment is recognized for having an unbeatable undercarriage (they boast a thicker steel and more of it for optimal life and wear), unmatched strength in the frame, and design features like the guillotine gate and articulating hitch which puts it in a field of its own in terms of spreading distance and uniformity. Indeed, Artex Manufacturing offers what Coalson described as, “the best spread pattern on the market,” which results in greater nutrient absorption in the soil and reduces the number of passes a farmer needs to make, reducing soil compaction and improving efficiency.

Using twin vertical beaters, Artex has revolutionized how the job gets done. Gone are the days of spread patterns as wide as the spreader. Two beaters means improved pulverization and a spread distance of up to 60 feet wide.

“The geometry that goes into designing the beaters at the back of the spreaders that cause the spread patterns – our engineers painstakingly go through everything just to gain an extra inch in diameter, just to make that spread pattern even finer and maximize the nutrients going back into that soil,” explained Coalson.

To further optimize the value its equipment can bring to farmers every day, Artex Manufacturing partnered with Raven Technologies, a leader in the digitization and control of flow dynamics, which provides farmers with real-time data and precision-rate control. Together the two companies are using automation in the interest of improved ease of use and accuracy. As Coalson noted, “the farmer knows exactly what material is going out, how much is going out per acre,” which more efficiently uses resources and results in optimal nutrition, performance and profit.

Having broken into the market making big industrial spreaders, over time, Artex Manufacturing has been able to scale down the design of its equipment, ensuring the same level of quality throughout its product offerings. As Chett Bisel, Plant Manager, explained, “Whether it’s our big 30-foot spreader with steering and brakes or our SB300, the construction materials are basically the same.”

To be the best, Artex Manufacturing recognizes that you need to use the best materials and you need to acquire the best talent. Bisel noted that while finding skilled labor is a challenge across a number of industries and sectors, it is especially challenging for Artex because of the caliber of talent the company demands. “They can’t just be good at what they do,” he says. “They must be great, and they must truly care and be passionate about their trade.” The team includes welders, construction engineers, paint technicians, product engineers, and administrative, sales and IT professionals, a team that continues to grow.

Bisel added, “We have plans for continued expansion and organic growth within our company and facilities to match the demand of our products. As more and more farmers turn back to the renewable resources of land management, natural fertilizers continue to grow in popularity and keeping up with production needs is an ever-evolving goal.”

This a sentiment shared by the entire Artex Manufacturing team. As Coalson explained, “The whole organic and renewable resources [sector] really continues to play a big role in things which is what farmers are starting to use. It’s something they have on hand if they have livestock. They feed the livestock and the livestock continue to make manure, so they can spread it out over the field over the course of the season.”

The market as a whole is certainly cause for optimism. According to Guetter, “There are definitely some big opportunities and it just keeps growing. We’ve seen substantial growth over the last few years and that isn’t letting up. People are going organic to save money on their operation.”

As this organic trend continues, Artex Manufacturing is identifying opportunities to expand its dealer network to ensure that anywhere people farm naturally using manure as a fertilizer, they have access to the best of the best when it comes to equipment. Long hours, full days and tough jobs everywhere don’t stand a chance against equipment built this tough.

Artex Manufacturing is as tough as the equipment it builds and plans to be around for the long haul. “There are always challenges in business, but every challenge can be overcome and turned into a positive,” said Guetter. “With the right team, the right mindset, we’ll always bounce back. Dairy markets drop; corn prices fall. Farmers are the most resilient group of individuals out there.”

Farming, like all business, is fraught with challenges. Weather, pests and contaminants, markets: there are countless uncertainties that can hinder profitability. But thanks to Artex Manufacturing, equipment doesn’t have to be one of them.

Closing the Gap

A lack of skills training has been an issue for decades but is fast approaching a crisis worldwide. High schools have been reducing or eliminating shop classes for years; experienced workers of the baby boomer generation are retiring, and guidance councillors have long discouraged students from entering the manufacturing sector in favour of white-collar careers.

Past Issues

May 24, 2019, 10:50 AM EDT