Iowa company uses innovative construction method

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - At a southern California factory, a 311-foot conveyer weighs, inspects and packages 800,000, 3-pound bags of Wonderful Halos per day, or 19 million of the mandarin oranges.

The 640,000-square foot complex, the size of 11 football fields, was built two years ago by Younglove Construction for Paramount Citrus, which markets Halos to grocers nationwide.

Younglove, a little-known subsidiary of Sioux City-based Klinger Companies Inc., specializes in design and construction of processing and bulk handling facilities for the food and grain industries.

Recognized in the industry for its slipform method of concrete construction, the Sioux City Journal reports ( ) Younglove regularly travels the country to work on a wide range of ag-related projects, from grain elevators and ethanol plants to feedmills and seaport terminals. Customers range from small farmer cooperatives to large agri-business conglomerates.

In recent years, Younglove has expanded beyond its Midwest roots of building structures to warehouse or mill crops such as corn, soybeans and wheat.

Besides Halos, the company has built processing and packaging plants for consumer foods like pasta and pistachios.

Rebounding from some lean times during the Great Recession, Younglove has flourished lately, on the strength of an economy fueled by record commodity prices, exports and farm income.

From 2011 to 2013, the contractor averaged nearly $90 million in revenue, the best three-year showing in its 118-year history.

“The last three years have been very good for us,” said Mike Gunsch, who recently retired as Younglove president after 44½ years with the company.

In comparison, Younglove revenues were around $30 million in both 2008 and 2009, in the aftermath of a global financial crisis that plunged the U.S. economy into a deep recession.

Two years ago, Younglove’s volume hit a record $107 million, as the contractor placed an all-time high of cubic yards of concrete, Gunsch said.

During 2012, Younglove completed its largest project ever, a $72 million expansion of United Grain Corp.’s terminal at the Port of Vancouver, Wash. The project created four million bushels of storage to allow the terminal for the first time to export corn and soybeans to Asian.

As part of the United Grain project, Younglove built the largest slipform structure in North America - a concrete silo that climbs 346 feet into the air, or the equivalent of 20 stories.

With the slipform method, concrete is poured into a continuously moving form. As workers standing on platforms insert steel reinforcing rods into the wet concrete, hydraulic jacks slowly raise the forms at a rate that permits the concrete to harden by the time it emerges from the bottom of the form.

“It’s a 24 hour-per-day process for as high as you need to go,” Gunsch said. “Sometimes it takes a long as two weeks. Most of them typically take a week.”

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks