Darren Nelson Discusses the LORD Corporation – TRIBINE Partnership

Working with Partners You Trust is Key to Product Development

Darren Nelson, a TRIBINE Mechanical Engineer and farmer is working closely with LORD Corporation and answered some questions about the relationship and TRIBINE product development.

( 03/21/2018 ) Written by: Teresa Mann(LORD)

Having almost reached our 95-year anniversary, we have worked with organizations big and small during our history. We are proud of the long-term relationships we have built with many OEMs – we’ve worked with some companies for decades – we share great excitement when we get to work with a new organization and help provide solutions as they launch in the marketplace. Such is the case for the team at Tribine. Both the name of the company and their first harvester product, the Tribine can unload a full load of grain – more than 1,000 bushels, in a mere two minutes. Filling a whole semi-truck at over 500 bushels per minute is a clear benefit to farmers and these speeds are enabled by significant improvements in the distribution of power, operator control, and auger systems in the harvester.

A long-time player in the combine and harvester industry, LORD is excited to partner with Tribine in their first product launch and we believe there are lessons learned in product development that will benefit all. To this end, we sat down with Darren Nelson, mechanical engineer at Tribine, to discuss some tips for product development in today’s world.

Tell us a little about Tribine. What makes your company and approach special?

Tribine is committed to delivering a world-class harvester to progressive corn and grain farmers. Our machine has double the grain holding capacity and double the unloading speed found in today’s largest combines. This allows farmers to more efficiently harvest high yielding crops, like corn, and large acreage fields. Our owner and founder, Ben Dillon, developed the vision for the Tribine starting in the early 1990s and built four proof of concept machines before opening the engineering and manufacturing facility in Newton, Kansas in 2015. Personally, it is exciting to be part of this company. I have additional perspective as a fifth-generation farmer and combine owner in addition to my role as an engineer for Tribine, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring this machine to market.

What is your biggest challenge today?

Delivering the product from engineering to manufacturing, while continuing to make functional improvements is a top concern. The fundamental trend for higher yielding corn will move farmers toward the Tribine. However, in the near-term, low net farm income continues to suppress machinery sales.

When did you first start working with LORD?

I first started working with LORD in 2006 at a different OEM. When we needed an engine coupler solution, LORD was the first supplier I thought of as the company offers a simple and robust solution at a good price point.

Why did you select LORD? What is key to selecting a supplier? 

I have always received good service from an engineering perspective and even though we are a small company, we still receive the attention as if we were a big customer to LORD. Obviously, we need the solution to work. However, it is also crucial that work with suppliers who can provide product with a reasonable lead time at a cost that allows both of us to profit.  We need our supplier relationships to be partnerships.

Any final words of wisdom for those considering venturing out to do something new?

Yes!  We benefit greatly from living in the “golden age” of engineering and manufacturing. Never before has there been such availability of engineering tools and major machine components. For example, new tire technology allows our machine to carry more grain while limiting compaction, and computer controllers with simple programming interfaces allow a single software engineer to develop a safe machine control system. However, with all these amazing options, it is more important than ever to work with partners you can trust.

The original interview can be viewed on the LORD site below