Major US manufacturer Martin Engineering includes equipment
for handling cargo by rail in its product range. The company’s
railcar connectors connect cars to under-track material
handling systems quickly and easily. Installed between the tracks,
Boot-Lift® connectors form the link between the railcar and a
plant’s under-track conveying system. Powered by air, they raise
the unloading boots to the gates for clean, efficient and safe
unloading of bottom-discharge hopper cars. They improve ease
of use, and allow one unit to fit multiple car bottom designs.
Railcar openers: these improve railcar unloading efficiency
and allow workers to open hopper car gates simply, without
crawling under the car. The MARTIN® Railcar Opener and
MARTIN® Gate Jack™ Railcar Opener are rugged, air-powered
designs that open gates without gang tactics, stoop labour or
crawling under the car, avoiding damage to gate or mechanism
and without excessive noise.
Railcar vibrators: these help load cars to full capacity and
boost material flow rate during unloading. The Brute®
Motor-Driven Railcar Vibrators use an electric or pneumatic
motor-driven eccentric that delivers a powerful rotary force to
help achieve maximum car fill during loading and greater
efficiency during unloading. The lightweight MARTIN® MP3
Railcar Vibrator provides quiet power with a
unique urethane wedge bracket that reduces
noise and makes mounting easy. For an
economical solution for improved railcar
unloading, the MARTIN® PR-3™ Portable
Railcar Vibrator features a powerful 3-inch
piston and rugged wedge bracket for easy
The equipment offered by Martin
Engineering is suitable for handling virtually
any dry bulk commodity. The company’s major
clients include producers and handlers of
cement, clinker, coal, petroleum coke, grain,
biomass fuel and other dry bulk materials,
including plants, shipping terminals and storage
Like other major manufacturers, Martin
Engineering must strive to remain competitive
in a market where there is increasing
competition for global markets, from both
domestic and foreign suppliers.
To do so, it continuously carries out
research and development in its Center for
Innovation. Work at the 22,600ft2 (2,100m2)
facility concentrates primarily on fugitive
material control and flow management, with
researchers able to develop and test new
products and technologies under full-scale
process conditions.
In the facility’s bulk materials laboratory,
researchers analyze particle size, shape, density
and distribution, giving them an ability to
model and predict flow behaviour over a wide
range of conditions.
The metals laboratory is used to study
materials of construction, helping equipment
designers evaluate commonly used materials,
guiding improvements and investigating new
structures. By testing hardness, impact
resistance, flex and abrasion, scientists work to
improve impact resistance, wear life, corrosion
resistance and load-bearing performance.
The centre also houses a polymer laboratory to assess the
performance of ‘softer’ components, such as urethanes, rubber
and plastics. By understanding properties such as modulus, flex
and tensile strength, researchers can find the best match for
specific conditions and material characteristics.
To confirm that solids handling equipment will perform even
under worst-case conditions, the facility includes an
environmental lab that can test materials at temperatures
ranging from –73°C to 190°C (–100°F to 375°F). Samples
exposed to severe conditions can then be analyzed by any of the
other three labs to develop a comprehensive understanding of
behaviour and performance in real-world operating
Another way of remaining competitive is through key
partnerships and acquisitions, such as the recent purchase of
Cougar Industries (Peru, IL), a respected and wellestablished
manufacturer of industrial vibrators. Cougar
Industries designs and manufactures an electric line of single
and three-phase vibrators in a wide range of force outputs.
The firm also manufactures piston, ball, ring and turbine
pneumatic vibrators and a complete line of hydraulicallypowered
The resulting combined resources allows Martin
Engineering to meet a broader range of application
requirements with a wider variety of product options. The
move also provides access to a proven product line for 12V
and 24V applications, opening new markets and
opportunities. For more details on this acquisition, please
see p35 of this issue.
Recent technological developments at Martin
Engineering include:
  a new type of belt cleaner, one that could deliver a high
level of performance but would be available at a lower price
point than premium cleaners on the market at the time.
The programme resulted in the 2009 commercialization of
a new product line that directly addresses those goals,
broadening the range of affordable belt cleaning options.
  a new style of scavenger conveyor design that captures dust
and carryback which would otherwise be lost, instead returning
it to the process and reducing waste. The new design helps
prevent fugitive material from encapsulating belt cleaners and
other components, minimizing dust and reducing potential
hazards to maintenance personnel.
Founded in 1944, Martin Engineering is a major force in making
bulk materials handling cleaner, safer and more productive. The
company is headquartered in Neponset, IL, with global reach
from operations in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Indonesia,
Mexico, South Africa, Turkey and the UK.