North Dakota Farmer and Family Invent Aggregate Spreader


Tim Hudson, a local farmer and owner of TJM Trucking in rural Colfax, N.D., had a dilemma. He found himself having to pass up valuable gravel-hauling jobs because of the limited ability of his belly dump trailer.

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Hudson, like other belly dump trailer operators, has to reach a speed of 25 to 30 mph and open the gates in order for the aggregate to spread out on the road surface. In situations such as small towns with gravel streets, farm yards, driveways or winding river roads, and starting from a stop sign, that speed can not only be dangerous, but sometimes impossible.

Hudson needed a method of deploying aggregate from a belly dump trailer at greatly reduced speeds.

Working on a Solution

Hudson went to work on a solution. Cutting a blade out of a recycled oil pipeline and using some extra metal from around his farm, he developed a blade that gives the belly dump operator the option to spread aggregate at not only reduced but safe speeds. Furthermore, the entire invention was attached to a push block, or stinger, that dozers and pay loaders use to push the truck and trailer should it become stuck.

With the invention attached to the rear of his trailer, Hudson began to turn heads as he would spread gravel throughout the region. Customers and other operators began to ask questions about where he acquired this attachment that was affixed to rear of his trailer.

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These inquiries pushed Hudson to contemplate the possibility of exploring what type of market there might be for the product, or even selling his invention.

Hudson enlisted the help of his son Jarrett Hudson, and his brother Dan Hudson, who owns D.T. Hudson LLC, a veteran-owned retail, manufacturing and distribution company in rural Lake Park, Minn. The Hudson team began a rigorous testing process of its first two prototypes.

“We never did offer the first prototypes for sale,” said Dan Hudson. They took what they learned from the first two designs and developed the GT II Spreader. “We wanted to be confident in the design, geometry and settings before we brought it to the public for sale,” he said.

Partners

The Hudson team partnered with MidMach Manufacturing in Jamestown, N.D., to build the new version of the original prototype. MidMach is now the only manufacturing company in the world that builds the GT II Spreader.

Because of its design, the GT II Spreader is also a functional bumper when retracted, providing recommended rear-impact protection. Each unit comes with an adaptor plate so that the GT II Spreader can attach to any trailer that has an existing push block. Another benefit of the GT II Spreader is that it does not add a significant amount of weight. This means that the operator does not have to haul less aggregate.

So far, the Hudsons have sold models to dealers in the local area as well as individuals as far away as Texas. Tim Hudson, who owns two belly dump trailers, has a GT II Spreader on each. “I can’t be without them. They pay for themselves because now we have the option to spread at reduced speeds and bid jobs I would not have normally been able to consider without subcontracting with another company,” he said.

Both Tim and Dan Hudson said they know their product may not be for everyone, but believe there is a definitely a place in the aggregates industry for the GT II Spreader. TJM Trucking has used the GT II Spreader to safely spread gravel in rural towns, by schools, on river roads and into farm yards at reduced speeds for nearly two years.

The Hudsons continue to use, market and sell their GT II Spreader. “It is an innovative product and I get calls every day, sometimes people just curious or wondering why no one had thought of this idea before,” said Dan Hudson. “It has been really awesome to see an idea that came from my brother’s head now out in the marketplace.”

For more information on how the GT II Spreader works, go to www.mygtspreader.com.