WILD Flavors VP finds creativity at PTX

David Haase, Vice President of Operations at WILD Flavors, North America, is in the middle of a number of demanding automation projects. While he has a small staff of engineers, his group often doesn’t have the time to explore creative solutions to their many design challenges. Two or three days at PTX—away from the plant and everyday issues—gave Dave and his Director of Engineering, Steve Eberts, time to clear their minds and work with engineering experts in automation to brainstorm new and creative solutions to overwhelming process design problems.

Before coming to PTX, suppliers’ high-level engineers were keyed into Dave’s projects and by the day of the meeting, were fully prepared to spend 50 minutes of quality time discussing solutions to WILD Flavors automation problems. Together, they developed entirely new ideas that no one had considered before. Whether it was a need for a nitrogen system, milling equipment, magnetic extraction system, energy-saving lighting, or robotic packaging machines, Dave and Steve found the experts they needed at PTX’s carefully-matched meetings. These meetings are fine tuned to bring solutions to a processor’s problems in much less time than other methods, such as receiving sales calls, trudging through trade shows and surfing the Web, with the following outcomes:

  • PTX meeting results in big money savings on nitrogen system—Buy and store nitrogen or make it yourself? Which is the most cost-effective? In a PTX meeting with Parker Hannifin, Dave and Steve decided to take Parker’s advice and make their own nitrogen. According to Dave, “We now have Parker’s system operating inside our plant…We don’t have to order nitrogen. Once a year we buy filters, but that’s it. The savings are significant.”
  • PTX helps Dave find equipment he didn’t know the supplier offered—In a meeting with Admix, Dave and Steve were looking for the latest technology in milling equipment, but also found a powder wetting equipment solution to help with emulsions.
  • PTX points the way to stronger magnets to remove metal fragments—In a meeting with Eriez, Dave found a solution to his existing magnet problem. “We found our existing magnets were only about one-third the strength of a rare-earth magnet, so we’re going through an updating of the magnet traps in our system.”
  • PTX meeting finds robotic solution—Dave wanted to mix and match container sizes per skid. ABB Robotics helped Dave find a practical solution. “Here we had a situation where I felt I wasn’t ready to say no,” says Dave. “I knew there should be technology out there. I just didn’t know where to go…This level of research isn’t something we do every day. We used PTX to help us find a solution.

The bottom line: PTX saves time and money  Besides discovering a new technology that can be applied to a specific processor’s challenge, a real plus that comes out of spending time with suppliers at PTX is finding that the same supplier may have other technologies that can be applied to automation issues that were put on the back-burner waiting for the appropriate solution. The time spent collaborating at PTX has paid for itself in so many ways, but for Dave, it’s now his primary way of gathering valuable information.

“What we found beneficial with PTX is that their staff interviews processors and lines up suppliers. When we finally sit down to talk to the suppliers in a 50-minute face-to-face session, it’s a tailored presentation. We’re ready for them; they’re ready for us, and we get really good quality time. I’m not sitting there for 20 minutes waiting to get my two minutes from sales guys.