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Goya® Foods is a 70-year-old multi-national, family owned business that specializes in Hispanic cuisine. Its 2,500 employees worldwide produce more than 1,200 products, including condiments, pantry items, beverages and frozen foods. These items are available in local grocery stores and supermarket chains throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the rest of the world. Its manufacturing and distribution centers are located in Secaucus and West Deptford, New Jersey; Bayamуn, Puerto Rico; Seville, Spain; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Angola, New York; Webster, Massachusetts; Bensonville, Illinois; Miami and Tampa, Florida; Houston, Texas; and the City of Industry, California.
Goya is a big business with an intensely loyal customer base. The company’s success is based on high quality products that are the best of Caribbean, Mexican and Central and South American cuisine. Goya’s philosophy on its products is best summed up in its slogan: If it’s Goya, it has to be good.
So when Goya opened its new 138,000 square-foot facility in Houston, the company wanted to incorporate new manufacturing and packaging technologies that would enhance the Goya reputation for quality.
“This Houston plant will be very strategic to our continued growth. We plan to capitalize on our changing demographics and our proximity to the Port of Houston and Mexico to excel our growth,” said Evelio Fernandez, General Manager and Vice President of Goya Foods of Texas. “Our success is a team effort. The entire Goya Foods of Texas family, as well as our quality products, set us apart in our industry.”
Fernandez explains the challenge Goya faced when searching for new manufacturing and packaging technologies. “We needed to set up our processing lines so that they would be efficient, but still maintain the purity and quality that our customers demand,” he said.
Fernandez believed he knew the right company to help take Goya’s quality in its new facility to the next level—Conroe, Texas-based Frazier & Son. Mark Frazier, of Frazier and Sons, has been working with Goya for a number of years, manufacturing and installing bucket elevators as part of Goya’s material handling process.
Frazier & Son has been designing, engineering and manufacturing bucket elevators and net weight scales for over 60 years. According to Frazier, the company’s conveyors keep their customers’ production lines moving with speed and safety. Plus, they are amazingly versatile, which enables them to move almost any type of material. Frazier adds, “Our bucket elevators and conveyors can be customized to suit almost any application.”
When he was asked to bid on part of the line for the new Houston facility, Frazier did so happily. However, the first proposal to Goya was turned down. Frazier explains that, according to Goya, the proposed system was too big and too expensive.
Frazier & Son got back to work and enlisted Erie, Penn.-based Eriez® as its primary partner. The company’s magnetic separation, metal detection, X-Ray, materials feeding, screening, conveying and controlling equipment have application in the food, process, metalworking, packaging, recycling, mining, aggregate and textile industries.
Frazier explains, “We sat down with the people from Eriez and ‘brainstormed’ how we might combine our elevators with Eriez vibratory feeders/screeners and metal detectors. We came up with an integrated system that would allow Goya to move a product – beans – easily and safely throughout the process.”
Frazier explains the process. “We challenged Eriez to ‘think outside the box.’ Eriez challenged us. I call it ‘imagineering’ and it’s good for both companies.”
The result is a product line that moves the beans through the plant quickly, screens for contamination and scans for metal contamination in a smaller footprint than Goya imagined was possible. Goya’s plant handles over 180,000 pounds of beans per day. They arrive via rail and truck and are processed, bagged and shipped directly to supermarkets worldwide. Consider that this results in almost 40 million pounds of beans per year, beans that might pick up metal contamination from a truck bed, a hopper car, or anywhere in the farmers’ fields.
Goya now can process the beans in its plant with the knowledge that any metal contamination picked up in the field or in transport, will be eliminated. They have a materials handling system that is also an investment in preventive food safety as Eriez’ HD Screener helps remove unwanted fine contaminants.
So, how well does the system work? Fernandez says, “Goya packs the best beans in the market. If it is Goya, it has to be good. Eriez and Frazier are helping us maintain our high quality standards.”
“It works so well that we have installed 12 similar systems at other Goya facilities in Texas, California and Florida. They’re pleased and we’re pleased,” said Frazier.
Goya uses the Eriez HD Vibratory Feeder/Screener, model HD66 in combination with Frazier’s bucket elevators. The beans are bagged and then run through the Eriez E-Z Tec® DSP Metal detector.
Eriez High Deflection (HD) feeders/screeners offer superior capabilities. Difficult to feed fine materials such as flour, leafy products like lettuce, and sticky substances such as candies move smoothly and quickly. According to the company, the unique patented Eriez armature design allows for more feed capacity and a 75 percent reduction in power consumption.
The extremely sensitive E-Z Tec Detector identifies ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless steel metal contaminants. The E-Z Tec digital controls make operating the device simple yet extremely effective.
Dave Heubel, National Sales Manager for Eriez, said, “This is a winning situation for all three entities – Goya gets the assurance of efficient, safe product movement. They can rest easy that their reputation for high quality, pure foods will remain intact.”
According to Heubel, there are innumerable opportunities for contamination in food products, such as beans, as they mover from field to harvest to processing facility. “Goya has invested heavily in food safety – so that they don’t have problems with impurities in the products they deliver to supermarkets around the globe. We’re proud to help,” said Heubel.
“Frazier’s and Eriez’ unique partnership allowed our companies to demonstrate the concept that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Although we both provided our own unique equipment to Goya, it was our collaboration and ‘imagineering’ that made this process work so well,” said Frazier.