Conestoga has been building manure spreaders since 2002. We started by using regular A36 steel on the sides of our models C-25, C-50 and C-80, and 10-gauge cor-ten on the larger Model C-125. On heavily used spreaders 12 years old or older, we occasionally, but rarely, see one with sides rusted through. Even though we have had very few component issues throughout the years, we have continually improved our spreaders and extending the life of the steel sides has been a major goal.
In 2009, we started using 12-gauge Cor-ten steel for the side construction of models C-25, C-50 and C-80, and 10-gauge cor-ten on the larger Models C-125 and newly introduced C-175. Cor-ten is a corrosion-resistant, copper-bearing steel, also used by the manufacturers of larger spreaders. Our research has shown that the use of this special steel has increased the life of our spreader sides by at least 10 years, bringing their total life, under normal use, to 22, 24, and even 30 years.
As far as the apron chain is concerned, the early ones were made from the same A36 steel as the older sides. We have replaced some of those that have served 8 years without failure, but we weren’t satisfied with that. We began making the apron, both slats and chain, out of stainless steel to increase apron life up to three times what it was with A36 steel. Sure, stainless steel aprons cost more, but they’re worth it because they are the heart of the spreader mechanism and their longer life gives owners three times more downtime-free working hours.