March 1, 2006
American Conveyor helps dairies increase production.
Ridgewood, N.Y.-based American Conveyor Corp. has been building and installing container-handling systems for many of America’s best-known dairy processors since 1993. From small dairies like Monument Farms in Weybridge, Vt., to exceptionally large operations like Garelick Farms in Franklin, Mass., and across the country from Sarah Farms in Yuma, Ariz., to Velda Farms in Miami and National Dairy Holdings’ Dairyman’s Dairy in Cleveland, American Conveyor has installed hundreds of thousands of feet of dairy conveyor, including tens of thousands for Dean Foods locations around the country.
American Conveyor’s strong customer support, on-time delivery and willingness to manage entire projects — such as Smith Dairy’s distribution center in Orrville, Ohio, including warranting third-party equipment — has allowed the company to experience double-digit growth each year since its inception. While all equipment is fabricated in state-of-the art CIM production facilities at Ridgewood, seven regional sales engineers and nine distributors are located across the country to provide faster and more personalized customer support.
American Conveyor’s competitors say that American wins the business because of its “cheap” price, and when you consider that American underbid the next lowest bidder by more than $100,000 on a just-completed million dollar cooler project at Velda Farms in Miami, it might be true. When you ask American Conveyor’s customers why they got the job, they never say price. They say functional equipment, excellent customer service and delivery when promised.
When Dean’s Garelick Farms was looking for an “extreme makeover” of its shipping and conveying operations, they called American Conveyor, a trusted Dean supplier. The Franklin, Mass., plant processes more than a half million gallons of milk every day and is the largest dairy operation east of the Mississippi. “The new conveying and handling system decreased shipping and handling time by 40 percent and allows us to ship as many as 270 cases of milk, juice and other beverages per minute,” says Cleland Cochrane, Garelick’s plant manager.
Smith Dairy’s plant manager, Karl Kelbly, contacted American Conveyor to explain he was searching for a more efficient way to load trucks to enable them to decrease the time required for load-outsays.
“Now it only takes 16 hours to load-out the same volume of product that used to take 27,” says Dean Reed, Smith’s project manager.
American Conveyor vice president Richard Dauphin says the company is used to solving unusual problems for both large and small dairies. “That’s what we do, but the logistics of a distribution center separate from the processing plant made Smith’s a challenging project,” he says. “By the time the project was finished, their cooler would be expanded by 34,000 square feet and we would design, build and install three unitizers, four de-unitizers and more than 5,000 feet of conveyor. We seamlessly integrated all the parts we built with a third-party’s palletizer, another’s bossy cart accumulation system and two software systems. Seamless integration was important because the performance warranty for the entire system would be on our shoulders.”
Building dairy storage facilities that match the needs of its customers is what American Conveyor is known for, says company sales manager Steve Winning. “Typically a small dairy might choose a basic two-chain loop with a shipping line, a medium-size dairy a multi-loop order and pick system or straight-line drag and drop system with one or more shipping lines, he says. “Higher-volume dairies like Smith’s might choose a grouping system that includes unitized handling, clamp block storage or direct stack load-out, or very high-volume dairies like Wawa, a high-rise storage and retrieval system. And depending on their customers, of course, any size dairy might ask us to build a dolly or a bossy storage system.”
Because American Conveyor understands that downtime for its customers is money lost, the company maintains a full inventory of parts for its competitors’ equipment as well as its own, and we support a regional service team that performs maintenance and repairs around the clock. “We have a reputation that we are very proud of, says Troy Goudreau, American Conveyor’s service manager. “We get new installations up and running without shutting down a dairy’s operations.”
— American Conveyor Corp., 1819 Flushing Ave., Ridgewood, N.Y., 11385,