Kar's Nuts boosts sales & customer service with new conveyors
Kar's Nuts has a simple formula for success: Consistent quality nut and trail mix products with an emphasis on customer service. That philosophy has helped the 80-year-old Madison Heights, MI manufacturer achieve ten years of steady growth in all 50 states, and now internationally.
In 2004, Kar's Nuts moved to a new manufacturing facility and doubled its production capacity to 24,000 pounds per hour with two Heat and Control nut roasting lines and a FastBack product distribution system.
Since then, another boost in production was needed to supply expanded sales to convenience, grocery, and club stores, and the introduction of its Second Nature™ brand of all-natural snacks.
So Kar's Nuts again called on Heat and Control for a new distribution conveyor system to handle the output of two new blending lines.
"Because of our history with Heat and Control, we were confident in their equipment's reliability and performance," explains Bill Elam, vice president of finance and operations. "They were able to quickly grasp the scope of our project and provide good guidance and input."
Elevating trail mix from the two new blending systems to the packaging platform in the next room is handled by Varilift® bucket elevators. Their unique infeed design eliminates gaps between the buckets to prevent product spills. Ascending buckets remain upright and do not roll back or spill if the conveyor stops. Kar's Nuts uses Varilifts having an S configuration, although the modular conveyor can also be provided in C and horizontal arrangements.
Compact, powerful FastBack 90E horizontal motion conveyors then distribute the product to twelve separate weighing/packaging stations. Pivot gates eliminate damaging pinch points as they deposit product into the FastBack conveyors feeding the weighers.
"The FastBacks have performed consistently well," notes Elam. Since the product does not bounce in the pan, FastBacks maintain trail mix blends and eliminate stratification of the various ingredients. Gentle horizontal motion reduces product damage and prevents build-ups in the pan and unscheduled cleaning downtime.
The two new lines have added about 21,000 pounds per hour of production capacity to Kar's Nuts' Madison Heights plant. "We currently run 20 hours per day, 4 to 6 days per week," says Elam. "We have the ability to move larger amounts of product to one or more lines simultaneously.
Elam adds that Heat and Control's product distribution system has also helped Kar's Nuts strengthen its ability to provide superior customer service: "The new line has added flexibility to our lines and has improved our ability to respond to customer orders."
"Heat and Control personnel were responsive to our needs and provided good supervision during installation and follow-up after the project was complete."
-Bill Elam, VP of Finance & Operations