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K-State Today

October 7, 2011

Engineering success: Advanced Manufacturing Institute helps Hutchinson company profit

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

For one Hutchinson-based company, getting help from Kansas State University's Advanced Manufacturing Institute has increased its bottom line and added jobs to the community.

Shield Agricultural Equipment, also known as Shield Ag, has been designing, manufacturing and distributing innovative agricultural equipment for more than 50 years. The company approached the Advanced Manufacturing Institute for engineering assistance with a fertilizer coulter assembly. The institute reverse-engineered various parts of the machine, breaking it down to draw, measure and input part information into an engineering program so that the design could be adjusted and improved upon more easily in the future.

The success of this project has resulted in a new business opportunity for Shield Ag, which has generated a large volume of sales. The company also created eight new jobs and an ancillary business since launching the coulter assembly product line six years ago.

"The coulter line project has dramatically increased sales and allowed us to expand our staff," said Mike Bergmeier, president of Shield Agricultural Equipment. "We're not Boeing or Beechcraft, but in this economy, eight full-time jobs against an existing payroll of about 32 people is good job growth. We are extremely pleased with the results and will work with the Advanced Manufacturing Institute on future projects."

In addition to its engineering services, the Advanced Manufacturing Institute helped Shield Ag with entering the product market.

"There was a ready market at the time and Shield Ag could not access it without AMI's engineering," Bergmeier said. "AMI created the opportunity for Shield Ag to enter a new market more quickly and by doing so we started off on the right foot with creating customer relationships."

Find more information about Shield Agricultural Equipment and the coulter assembly at http://www.shieldag.com.

The Advanced Manufacturing Institute is a part of the K-State College of Engineering, a Kansas Department of Commerce Center of Excellence and an Economic Development Administration University Center that provides engineering and business services. More information about the institute is available online at http://www.amisuccess.com.

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