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Prater-Sterling Celebrates 85th Anniversary

When Ralph Prater founded the Prater Pulverizer Co. in 1925, he probably would have never imagined how drastically his company would continue to advance and flourish over the next 85 years. The company began with a small hammer mill that Prater himself designed to be reliable, rugged, and adaptable. Using this mill, Prater eagerly responded to the need from his customers in the feed industry by demonstrating that he could effectively produce a more granular product than what they were currently producing at that time.

The demand for Prater’s equipment quickly extended well beyond the feed industry and into a spectrum of industries, such as food, chemical, and minerals, as his engineers discovered that the same hammer mills that effectively milled corn for chicken feed to the customer’s exact specifications could also be customized to fit other customers milling applications for other various industries. With years of growth and notoriety, a much greater demand for other processing equipment grew as well. 

The development of flake breakers/lump breakers, mixers, fine grinders, classifier mills, and more energy-saving designed hammer mills unlocked new opportunities in particle size reduction applications that were expanding well beyond Prater’s original hammer mill design. In addition to particle reduction equipment, other processing equipment was added to the product line over the years, which included a complete spectrum of particle metering and separation equipment. Companies that once relied on Prater-Sterling for designing and manufacturing their hammer mills, now began to depend on the company for more of their particle processing solutions. As numerous safety and sanitary specifications emerged in customer's applications, Prater-Sterling quickly responded by developing food-grade and explosion-proof units to meet their requirements. Today, Prater-Sterling offers a complete range of processing equipment for dry bulk solid materials for sizing and separation, feeding and metering, as well as particle size enlargement equipment and systems.  

With all of these unique competencies in numerous applications, the company had developed the necessary expertise and experience to be able to offer its customers complete engineered systems.  By 1987, Prater Industries (later renamed Prater-Sterling) uncovered another opportunity by purchasing Sterling Systems and Controls Inc. to extend system capabilities by incorporating systems controls as well as batching controls and weighing systems into its diverse product line. In 2004, Prater-Sterling moved from its original 75,000-sq-ft building in Cicero, IL to a new 55,000-sq-ft building in Bolingbrook. Shortly after the move, a new toll/testing laboratory was developed for customers that required specialized toll processing and comprehensive testing analysis.    

Three generations of Prater family members have successfully lead the company along Ralph Prater’s vision by consistently striving to develop superior equipment by designing and manufacturing quality particle processing equipment and systems.    

For more information, visit www.prater-sterling.com.

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