Winning Combination

Westfalia merges old and new technologies for United Dairy Farmers.
An amalgamation of the “old and new” is helping to bring efficiency to a warehouse facility in Erlanger, Ky., owned and operated by Cincinnati-based United Dairy Farmers (UDF), manufacturer of frozen desserts since 1939, with a line that includes Homemade Brand Premium Ice Cream, and United Dairy Farmers milk & ice cream products.  
The plant upgrades, completed by York, Pa.-based Westfalia Technologies, a leading provider of warehouse and plant automation solutions, utilize its Savanna.NET® Warehouse Management System (WMS), and also represent the first non-Westfalia storage system retrofit in the U.S. market, interfacing the new software package with an existing Woodson storage system.
The existing storage system, which replenishes pick lanes and fills pallet orders, along with its accompanying control software, were installed as part of a 1995 expansion at UDF’s Erlanger facility, a warehousing and distribution center.
According to Dale Torline, systems manager for UDF, a company-wide directive to update support hardware subsequently prompted the exploration of new software technologies. “The Woodson system ran on the database side of the Progress platform, and it was prompting us to upgrade at the server level, as well as the database level,” he says. “Although our plant system was functional, it was based on a non-supported platform. So although we opted to keep the warehouse equipment and crane hardware, a major component of our legacy modernization strategy was new control software.”
Savanna.NET is a modular WMS software system, and can be adapted to existing or new systems. The tabbed data grid view user interface eliminates the need for complicated menus or layers, and is based on actual objects. It was designed using Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and Version 2.0 of the Microsoft .NET Framework (UDF is running Savanna.NET on SQL Server 2005). It can be readily adapted to all customary ERP (enterprise resource planning) and PLC (programmable logic controller) systems so that all existing technology/hardware and hardware/software interfaces can remain in full use. “We chose Savanna.NET because it delivered the combination of cost-effectiveness, support and functionality we were looking for,” Torline says. “We also knew that Westfalia had experience with Woodson systems, and also had a number of employees who were formerly associated with the company, which made the transition much easier.”
Torline also notes, the systems have continued to work in tandem successfully. “We’re an i Series/ AS/400 shop, so everything is very integrated,” he says. “Anyone can access a live snapshot of the inventory in the Westfalia system, so that interface has worked out very well.”
Future upgrades will include the full order-pick module.
“This installation was a real ‘litmus test’ for Savanna.NET” says Ryan Smith, vice president of technology for Westfalia Technologies. “Not only for the effectiveness of the software itself, but also for its effectiveness in being able to integrate with an existing system. Westfalia will continue to provide comprehensive updates to the program in order to bring customers increased system flexibility and user-friendliness.” — Westfalia Technologies Inc., 3655 Sandhurst Drive, York, Pa., 17406, phone: (717) 764-1115, fax: (717) 764-1118, Web site: www.westfaliausa.com
Merger Provides ‘One-Stop Shop’ for the Dairy Industry
Westfalia Technologies’ recent merger with Deam Co., a Toronto-based manufacturer of stainless-steel packaging and materials handling equipment, is expected to have a great impact on the dairy industry as a whole, say Westfalia president Dan Labell and Fred Beer, head of the new Deam Systems division and former president of Deam.
“Dan and I have had a 10-year relationship, and during that time, we’ve seen traditional dairy processors evolve into major food service entities,” Beer says. “We saw a need to provide a full spectrum of equipment and services to that changing market.”
Labell adds: “It obviously strengthens our presence in two core industries, dairy and food processing. By combining our respective technologies and product lines, we can now deliver end-to-end solutions. We’re essentially a ‘one-stop shop.’”
The merger created Deam Systems, a new division of Westfalia. All equipment is now manufactured at the headquarters in York, Pa. Sales and marketing operate within the current Westfalia structure.
The Westfalia manufacturing group now provides engineering, custom design, maintenance services and a full range of items that any dairy processor would use. Deam’s case packing and materials handling systems complement Westfalia’s robotic palletizing, ASRS, high racks, PLC base controls and WMS.