PET Food Processing - June 2018 - 30


The new
primarily pet treat
processing plant in
Harvard, Illinois, was
designed to be flexible in both the type
of products that can
be produced and in
what volumes.

ing lines, one for pouch sizes from 1 lb. to 50 lbs. and
one for pouch sizes of 4 oz. to 4 lbs., and a Niverplast
CombiPlast machine that integrates case erecting and
bag placing in one.
"It's always been our theory that we need to be flexible
in the way that we make baked and now extruded products, and the same thing goes for packaging," Stricker
says. "We want to be a resource that brands can turn to
for many different products."
In packaging, the company has more than tripled
its capacity. "A lot of the functional PetDine products
we make are packaged into plastic jars," Berglund says.
"We'll package into about anything except glass or cans."
All products pass through Fortress metal detectors,
some before packaging and some after depending on the
packaging materials used. The availability of packaging
materials often determines product output. Each package is unique to each customer and sometimes can take
6-8 weeks to receive from printers.

The right space
Having more space for access to ingredients was a key
driver in the layout and design of the new building.
Ingredient storage is now separate from warehouse
space. The company stocks about 1,000 different ingredients on Bradford Systems moveable racks. They have
room for almost 1,800 pallets which is a 50% increase
from conventional pallet racking in the same space.
With the space-saving moveable racks, they gained an
extra 600 spaces.
"Our biggest gain in efficiency has been just having
more space," Stricker says. "Which has enabled us to
have all of the ingredients in one place with easy access
to processing. Our cold extrusion used to be across the
street from us, and we had to move ingredients back and
forth. Being able to have everything in one building has
really improved our efficiency."
With 80,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space available for customer storage and B2B fulfillment and 10 bays for incoming and outgoing trucks, Pedigree Ovens and The Pound



Bakery can be a full-service company again, plus some.
The previous 50,000-sq.-ft. facility is now being used for
direct-to-consumer ecommerce fulfillment for brands
they manufacture. With all of these extra fulfillment services offered in house, as well as their centralized Midwest
location, Pedigree Ovens and The Pound Bakery offers
brands the opportunity to save money on shipping and
other fees by having them manage their logistics.
The company currently employs 140 people with the
labor equally divided between production and packaging. Much of the new automation eliminated physical
work but the increased output creates a greater labor demand in packaging. "We're lucky that we have a really
good, core workforce," Berglund says. "We have good
retention and a great group of employees that we really
depend on."
Every opportunity to gain efficiency was embraced
from the building construction to the custom selection
of equipment. "We moved from a metal building with
insulation and an external and internal wall which isn't
ideal," says Jared Gratz, chief operations officer, Pedigree
Ovens and The Pound Bakery. "Our new building is a
concrete structure that is designed better for food safety."
The company recycles or reuses whatever it can. Efficient
use of energy was a priority from automatic-shut-off
LED lights to recirculating air from the hot processing
rooms to heat the warehouse area.
Having the flexibility to run a wide range of batch
sizes only works if it can be done efficiently as well.
"Kurt put a lot of effort into planning the equipment
so it's flexible for us, and we can do those small minimums without having a lot of scrap," Berglund explains.
"There aren't many other manufacturers of our size that
also produce as low of minimums as we do. We try really
hard to remain flexible in our production amounts."
Being flexible seems to work. Berglund says the company is projecting a 50% growth for 2018 and looking to
double their business by 2019. "We're really excited for
the future growth of our company and the new services
and capabilities we've added."

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PET Food Processing - June 2018