Row By Row / December 2023

Olimac Factory Expansion to Double Capacity

Product demand has grown exponentially.

If there’s a common goal among farmers in the U.S. and those around the world, it’s getting the most yield — the most return — from every field of corn they grow. And increasingly, one of the common ways for achieving that goal is to use Drago corn heads from Olimac to harvest it.

Demand for this exceptional yield-saving and durable corn head has grown exponentially.

Based in Margarita, Italy, Olimac is the parent company of the Drago GT and Drago Series II corn heads sold in the U.S. A recognized brand in the corn growing regions of Europe, Asia and Australia, as well the U.S., Olimac has become one of the world’s premier corn head manufacturers.

Manufacturing capacity to double

Demand for Olimac corn heads have steadily grown since 1954, when it introduced the world’s first “integral head” that could both pick and shell corn. Production capacity steadily grew and then doubled when the industry’s most sophisticated and automated manufacturing and assembly plant opened in 2013.

And today, just 10 years later, an expansion of that same facility will double the production of Olimac’s corn heads once again. The expanded plant will be online before the end of this year.

Keeping the pipeline full

“Olimac is working to keep up with growing demand for its products,” says Dustin Bollig, farmer and vice president of sales and marketing for Dragotec USA. “Not only will production double, but they will also inventory nearly two years’ worth of parts to mitigate any disruption of raw materials such as we experienced during the pandemic.

“More than simply expanding the physical footprint of the original plant, Olimac is upgrading the robotics and automation of the original facility, too,” Bollig says. “For example, they significantly increased the speed of parts production by upgrading their laser cutters from 10-megawatts — which were already very fast — to 15-megawatt lasers, which are super fast.”

“Olimac worked with seven different robotic companies to facilitate the production of their corn heads from design, to manufacturing through assembly,” says Bollig. “Without question, it will be the most automated facility of its kind.”

Consistent quality

“The overall intent of the upgrades isn’t just to increase capacity or the speed of production, but to assure its products continue to be the highest, most consistent quality possible.

“What is uncommon in manufacturing today, is the fact that Olimac builds almost all of its parts within the same plant that assembles them, including the tooling of all gears and components,” says Bollig. Certain processes, such as the application of chrome on the pins of its gathering chains can’t be done in house but must still meet Olimac’s industry-leading specifications for durability and performance.

Total control

“Olimac has nearly total control of the materials, specifications and tolerances of every part that makes up their corn heads, including the extraordinary effort to measure each mechanical component for the correct dimensions — and that won’t change,” Bollig says.

“The expansion couldn’t come at a better time,” he adds. “Not only will we be able to meet the increasing demand for Drago corn heads, but we will also continue to deliver the exceptional quality our owners have learned to expect.”

For more information on Olimac’s dedication to quality and performance, check out the factory video that highlights the precision manufacturing of the original factory.