The Blade Mount Squeegee
By By Kristy Nudds
An Ontario broiler producer has developed an effective
By By Kristy Nudds
An Ontario broiler producer has developed an
effective solution for removing excess water after cleanout
|The Blade Mount Squeegee can be easily attached to any blade and efficiently cleans water and manure from floors, reducing energy and labour costs.|
Like many poultry farmers, Hans Veurink and his wife Diane were left with the daunting, laborious task of removing a huge amount of water from their barn after cleanout.
According to the On Farm-food Safety Assurance Program (OFFSAP), after broilers go to processing, barns – including walls, ceilings, feed and water lines – must be thoroughly washed out using a high-pressure washer. For the Veurinks’ two-storey, 27,000-square-foot barn, the amount of water accumulated on the floor was excessive.
Removing excess water can be done in two ways – turning up the heat and letting the barn air-dry, which increases energy costs, or using handheld squeegees. Like many others, the Veurinks were using two-foot-wide hand squeegees, a two-day, back-breaking job that left them sore and exhausted.
Hans says he thought the process was ridiculous and that “there had to be an easier way.” So, four years ago, he began working on an invention at his Creekside Poultry farm in Jarvis, Ont., that has transformed the clean-out process for his family and nearly 100 other producers.
What he did is fabricate an extended squeegee that can mount onto any blade implement.
His Blade Mount Squeegee, an ingenious, lightweight attachment, removes water effectively, but most importantly, quickly and without physical exertion.
Made from steel and rubber, the Blade Mount Squeegee weighs only approximately 60 pounds and has brackets that easily hook onto the back of a blade on any type of machine, whether it is a tractor, skidsteer, or four-wheeler.
The Blade Mount Squeegee angles with the blade and applies constant, uniform pressure and can be manoeuvred right up to a wall’s edge, says Hans. He says the attachment is quick to mount (in minutes or less) and can easily be hung on a wall when not in use. Hans says he hears from customers that they are amazed at how well it works, and how much time they save.
|The Blade Mount Squeegee is versatile, fitting onto any blade on a tractor, skidsteer or four-wheeler.|
At first, Veurink, a former dairy farmer from Thunder Bay who relocated to Jarvis eight years ago, used his creation on his own farm, but soon realized that other farmers could benefit. “I wanted to share this with others right away,” he says.
He “did a lot of driving” the first year, starting in his own county and expanding into other counties with high poultry farm densities, cold calling on poultry farmers to try to sell them on his invention.
His efforts were successful, and he sold 30 squeegees in the first year. After several satisfied customers encouraged him to market the creation more widely, he brought the Blade Mount Squeegee to the 2005 Poultry Industry Conference and Exhibition (the London Show), and has marketed the squeegee at each London Show since then.
Since he first started marketing the Blade Mount Squeegee, Hans has sold nearly 100 of them to farmers all over Ontario and several in Alberta with 99.9 per cent positive feedback.
His ingenuity was recently recognized by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), which presented him a Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation and Excellence. According to the ministry, his innovation reduces labour and energy costs, is affordable and makes it easier for farmers to increase the frequency of barn cleanings, improving the impact on food safety and animal welfare.
Customer comments on the squeegee are also testimony to its ingenuity and benefits for the farmer. Satisfied customers have told Veurink that “there is a lot of labour savings with great results,” “it’s well-made, durable, easy to install”, “fast and efficient”, “the floors are so clean” and that the cost is recovered quickly in the amount of time it saves.
|Hans Veurink, pictured here with Ontario’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, Leona Dombrowsky, received a Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation for his unique invention.|
Veurink manufactures the squeegees on his farm and offers them in seven-, eight- and nine-foot lengths, but says he could alter the size depending upon need. He also offers replacement rubber. A seven-foot squeegee costs $450, a nine-foot $500.
He also uses it for pushing manure, which further aids cleanout. He says the squeegee never catches on the barns’ plywood floors. “It works great and saves a lot of time,” he says. Some of Veurink’s customers use it to remove the last bit of dust in the barn, before washing, instead of using the dust blower, as well as for levelling shavings.
Additional benefits of the squeegee include a reduced risk of bacteria because the water doesn’t sit long enough to soak into a floor. He says that there is virtually no residue left and that concrete floors are left clean and dry.
Veurink’s next step is to build a shop so he can manufacture a larger volume of squeegees. He says he sees “more potential” for the squeegee, such as removing ice and slush from lockstone and concrete walkways or driveways, ice rinks, and removing liquid manure on dairy barn floors. “Anywhere where there is a lot of water or liquid, the squeegee can be used,” he says.
With the help of their daughters, the Veurinks have produced a video (which can be ordered from the Veurinks) of the Blade Mount Squeegee in action so that producers can see what it can do. Hans encourages producers to “just try it. It really does make life easier.”
To contact Hans and Diane Veurink for more information, telephone 519-587-4676
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.