Just Bag It - A Closer Look
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SECTION: A Closer Look

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Just Bag It

Written By: Mary Sedor

Article Date: 11-01-2006
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

From filling sandbags to bags of compost, Sandbagger's machines do it all.

Whether for roadwork projects, disaster preparation, or rising floodwaters, when you need sandbags, you need sandbags. One of the problems with requiring sandbags is the effort and time it takes to fill them. Often, filling sandbags requires a team of people using shovels, bags and ties. The process is long and arduous.

The Sandbagger Corp. of Wauconda, Ill., manufactures a stand-alone sandbagging machine capable of filling 1,600 bags an hour. In addition, the company also offers the MultiBagger, which is capable of filling bags of both sand and compost.
The Sandbagger Corp. began in 1993 by Stacy Kanzler. She was watching the floodwaters rise on the Mississippi River when she came up with the idea of a machine that could fill sandbags thus the Sandbagger was born. In 2002, Tim Vandergrift, president of The Sandbagger Corp., purchased the company. More than 700 machines have been sold worldwide.

The Sandbagger is a freestanding machine with a 2-cubic-yard hopper and four chutes at the bottom. When you step on the pedal, a gate opens up and the product goes into the bag. When the fill height is reached, the pedal is released.

Four models are available: two are gravity-fed and two are motorized. A motorized version of the Sandbagger can fill up to 1,600 bags an hour. And it's lightweight and portable, fitting easily in an 8-foot pickup bed for transport. The Sandbagger Corp. also manufactures a trailer specifically designed for the Sandbagger.

The MultiBagger has a 2-cubic-yard-steel hopper with three filling stations and can fill 1,000 bags an hour.
"The machines are designed to be user friendly and easy to transport," says Vandergrift.

The Sandbagger Corp. prides itself on being a one-stop shop, which means you can also purchase bags, ties, stitchers and scales to go with the machines.

Does The Work Of 40

One of the many benefits of this machine is that it's designed to take the stress out of filling sandbags by eliminating the need to bend down.

"The old-fashioned way you'd strain your back trying to fill that many sandbags," says Vandergrift. "Instead, with our machines everything is done at standing height so there is less chance of injury."

The machines also cut labor costs and the amount of time required to complete a project.

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has told me the Sandbagger does the work of 40," says Vandergrift.

The Sandbagger would have been an invaluable tool for those areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, says Vandergrift. Unfortunately there were not any Sandbagger machines in operation in that area at the time.

"The Sandbagger is really a key ingredient in preparation for rising waters," says Vandergrift. "I hope dealers in hurricane affected areas will understand how beneficial this machine is and will participate in our dealer network or purchase machines for their own use."

The Sandbagger is used by construction, barricade, erosion control and pipeline companies. Every barricade has a sandbag on it, and Vandergrift says the barricade company uses the Sandbagger to fill their own sandbags. Prior to purchasing the machine, they were filling 200,000 sandbags by hand.

United Rentals also uses the Sandbagger, says Vandergrift. They usually rent a machine, fill 10,000 sandbags in two days and return it, he says.

"United Rentals is able to fill as many sandbags as they need in an entire summer in two days," says Vandergrift.
In California, laws require pea gravel instead of sand in the bags. When building a house, contractors are required to surround the house with sandbags to prevent runoff into the sewer system. The MultiBagger is the best choice because it works well with pea gravel.

"The Sandbagger Corp., while it lives up to its name, offers more than just a machine to fill sandbags," says Vandergrift. "In addition, the MultiBagger is capable of filling pretty much anything you would put into a bag and sell, including crushed glass, cold patch, mulch, compost, fertilizer and salt. The Sandbagger Corp. makes bagging these items easy."

Dealers Wanted

Currently The Sandbagger Corp. is in the process of establishing a network of dealers throughout the country.

Vandergrift says the company would like to establish distribution immediately in areas that can see instant results, such as Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

According to Vandergrift, the machines are profitable and ideal for rental. Because they are easily transported, end users or municipalities can easily rent the machines and return them quickly.

"I rent out of Chicago," says Vandergrift. "I just rented to a guy in Texas and he's had to pay for the shipping. If we had distributors set up in his area, the customer would save money and the dealer would be able to get the business."
Vandergrift emphasizes that The Sandbagger Corp. will fully support its dealers.

"I'll do whatever it takes to help my dealers be successful," says Vandergrift. "If they want me to help with a tradeshow or do demonstrations, I'll fly anywhere to do what it takes to help them be successful."

The reason Vandergrift says he's interested in AED dealers is because of the level of service they provide.

"I met Dave Gordon, AED's Director of Membership & CONDEX, a few years ago," says Vandergrift, "and I walked the AED Annual Meeting & CONDEX. I talked to other manufacturers and realized that AED members have the same goals, values and standards I do."

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