Furmano Foods has deep roots with Key Technology

21-05-2020

Furmano Foods started 99 years ago with just 360 jars of tomatoes, and has grown to become a nationally recognised name. Their tomatoes, green beans, legumes and ancient grains, which are packed either in cans or pouches, go to market under the Furmano Foods brand and private labels. Over the last two decades, Furmano has turned to Key Technology for vibratory conveyors with sanitation. They run Key’s Iso-Flo shakers on processing lines throughout their facility, and added a lengthy Marathon shaker in 2019 to distribute green beans to cutters.

Jeff Bradigan, facilities and maintenance at Furmano Foods, explained: “Our operation is difficult in a few ways. First, we have limited space, so our systems need to be compact. Also, our processing plant is wet, steamy and hot, which can challenge equipment. The ongoing labour shortage presents another problem. Our Key shakers help us overcome all these obstacles. They fit into our tight facility and hold up very well in the harsh environment with no issues. We depend on them to have great uptime and be easy to use, so we can quickly bring new operators up to speed.

“We have been buying equipment from Key for decades. There’s a reason we keep going to them – they make the best vibratory conveyors out there. We have a few older shakers from other suppliers, and we’re slowly replacing them with Key to improve our efficiency. For example, our old green bean distribution shaker didn’t work well. The chutes would plug up and operators constantly needed to adjust them. We wanted a new system they didn’t need to fight with, so we went to Key because they really know what they’re doing.”

Available in lengths from 30-100 feet or more on a single unit, the Marathon at Fumano is 52 feet long. It conveys and distributes green beans from the snippers to 13 downstream cutters. Furmano’s Iso-Flo systems are installed on their tomato, green bean and legume processing lines, and include options for dewatering, de-juicing, scalping, grading, fines removal and more.

Marathon and Iso-Flo have been recognised for reliability and sanitation, and Key has been continuously improving their designs to exceed rising food safety standards. In addition to stainless steel construction, smooth beds and StrongArm spring arms that have helped support Key’s vibratory conveyors over the years, new Key shakers also feature no-pinch slide gates, stainless steel motors, self-draining surfaces and the elimination of laminations, as well as an option for 100% continuous welds, depending on the finish. Every element of every Key system is designed for performance and sanitation.

Featuring independent frame-mounted drives and spring arms assemblies, Marathon and Iso-Flo distribute energy equally to all parts of the bed in a controlled natural-frequency operation. This operating principle minimises the vibration that is transferred to structural supports and the floor, which improves installation flexibility, cuts the cost of installation, reduces energy use and quiets operation.

Bradigan added: “Gentle handling is very important to us with certain products. Diced tomatoes, for example, are easy to damage. Our Iso-Flo systems do an excellent job of de-juicing and keeping the product flowing without degrading the dice, which protects both our product quality and yield. Yield is one of the key performance indicators that we track on all our lines, and our Key shakers help by minimising product spillage. Less product on the floor means more packaged product to sell, plus it creates a safe work environment, since tomatoes in particular can be slippery.

“There are many things that make Marathon and Iso-Flo vibratory conveyors stand out – longevity, sanitation, simple maintenance, gentle handling and more. We only have good things to say about our many years collaborating with Key. They’re experts and we trust them completely. We plan to go back to Key for more shakers in the future.”