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Blentech Blog

Process Expo with Ned Connelly

One of our esteemed colleagues, Ned Connelly, joined our Team Orange at the Process Expo for opening day held at McCormick Place in Chicago on Blentech’s booth #2020.  Ned is our regional sales manager based in our East Coast office located in Wilmington, North Carolina that provides superior sales and service to our valued North American customers from Florida to the Midwest USA to Ontario & Quebec, Canada.

Ned brings over thirty years of food processing experience to the table and is the expert on all things Blentech.  Today, he greeted the “First Timers” tour to our booth where he talked about our Innovation Center in northern California, our new technology the CookerCloud and answered a variety of questions about the solutions that Blentech provides their customers.

Blentech is lucky to have Ned as a part of our team and our customers agree; he provides unparalleled value from initial contact to commissioning.  Stop by Booth #2020 if you’re at the show and meet Ned and the rest of our Team Orange from Blentech.

Matt Hartman and Ned Connelly

Team Tangerine: Blentech’s Mechanical Engineering Department

Greetings from Team Tangerine!

Joel Meyn, Daniel Erdman, Jimmy Zertuche, Chris Kelly, Drew Moug, David Ellis

This handsome group of men comprise the mechanical engineering team at Blentech. Recently we’ve been designing a system that will end up being the largest school lunch program in the country, producing up to 20,000 lbs of food per hour. The system is incredibly versatile.  It uses multiple BlenTherms to cook mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, various chilis, sauces, burrito filling… the list goes on.

When we aren’t working on massive systems, we’re creating solutions to problems our customers have not been able to solve before, such as our new, revolutionary sliding cover.  One of our customers realized their ceilings were too low for our traditional opening cover.  Through the use of our Engineering Services we were able to develop a new solution with them and design for them a cover that not only gave them a unique edge but it also reduced their overhead opening height.

 

When we’re not working hard in the office, we’re playing hard. Three of our engineers play on the company softball team, the Agitators. Get it? Great name for a Blentech team!  Chris and Jimmy roam the outfield looking for fly balls and Drew is our short stop. In one of our games, Chris managed to hit two towering home runs to seal a victory. When we’re not playing softball, at the end of the day we gather in the burgeoning local beer scene. Luckily for us, the newly opened Blentech Innovation Center is located right next to Henhouse Brewery.

 

Our team has proven time and again there is no problem the Blentech staff can’t solve. And while our sales team will be off at the Process Expo next week as Team Orange at booth #2020, trust that Team Tangerine will be holding down the fort here coming up with new solutions for your food processing ideas.  Contact us today to discuss your project!

Drew Moug, Blentech Assistant Engineering Manager

Join Blentech at the 2017 Process Expo in Chicago

Orange you glad we are back at the Process Expo?

Blentech is exhibiting at the PROCESS EXPO, September 19-22, 2017, in Chicago, IL and we invite you to join us! You can take part in insightful education sessions and review cost-saving technology demonstrations.  Get connected with 15,000+ food processing experts from around the world—all in one place and one time. It only happens once every two years so don’t miss it!

Two of our esteemed Blentech professionals will be speaking at the show:

 

 

 

Matthew Hartman, P.E., Senior Automation Sales Engineer, is speaking on Thursday, September 21st at 12:30 pm in Theater 2 about “The Coming of Age of Industrial Automation in the Food Processing World.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Zhengjun “Jerry” Xue, Ph.D., Senior Applications Engineer, is speaking on Thursday, September 21st at 2:00 pm at the Feeding the Hopper Educational Booth #3816 on “Design Principles of Sanitary Food Processing Equipment.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Blentech CookerCloud is also a finalist is the Innovations Showcase. Our CEO Daniel Voit and our Director of Applications, Keith Weerts, will be presenting the CookerCloud in the Innovations Showcase Theater on Wednesday, September 20th at 11:10 am.  The CookerCloud will also be presented on our booth #2020 daily at 11 am and 2 pm.  Blentech fidget spinners will be given away to all demo attendees – you know you want one!

 

 

Register today at myprocessexpo.com using our complimentary code! Team Orange is on our way – we hope to see you at the show!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food for Frank and Fifi, Blentech’s Experience with Pet Food

Nancy Corriveau, Director of Operations and Oakley

Did you know that a dog’s sense of smell can be up to a million times stronger than their owners?

Animals are very particular, even more particular than humans, when it comes to their food. This means that the precision and quality of these products are as important, if not more, than human food.

Lumos, Jax and Camo

Blentech believes that better mixing and precision temperature controls goes hand in hand with quality.

It’s what our customers demand and we strive to provide in our technologies. This is especially important for high quality pet food. Blentech follows the same manufacturing precision on pet food cookers that we do in manufacturing human food cookers. Animals are also sensitive to food impurities and pathogens so the quality and sanitation of the equipment processing pet food products must always be at the same level as our human food cookers.

At Blentech, our passion for high quality food never falters, no matter who our end customers are, particularly when it’s our pets.

 

Since the inception of Blentech in 1986, pet food processors have recognized the heavy duty design, reliability and durability of Blentech jacketed blenders and direct steam injected cookers. We’ve run many tests on different pet food applications and it’s been found that Blentech’s horizontal twin agitator system gave the pet processor a much better mixing system than agitated hemispherical kettles. Like our human applications, when it comes to quality pet food, you should not settle for a kettle!

Floyd and Daniel Voit, CEO

 

Blentech has their technologies processing pet food all over the country.

From the production of dog bones on the East Coast to cereal based pet food in the Midwest to meat based moist pet food in Southern California, Blentech cookers are considered the best in the industry. Our Blentech engineers always enjoy visiting a pet food producer because there are often animals in the offices of these processors. In many facilities the management allows the employees to bring their dogs and cats to work with them.

Lumos and Shannon McLarty, Equipment Applications Specialist and Mouse with the glasses.

Here at Blentech, pets are important to us too.

Come talk to our experts at the Process Expo, booth #2020 about your pet food application. Or, find out more about how Blentech’s technologies can make the best food for your best friend HERE.

Blentech Sales & Marketing Team

The Blentech Sales and Marketing team spent a glorious afternoon in the city by the bay.  Although we have satellite offices in Indiana, Arkansas and North Carolina, we take pride in being a Bay Area technology company.  And soaked in the sun and sights of what the Bay Area has to offer!

 

This team of experts will soon be on our way to the Process Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago from September 19th – 22nd.

 

 

To register to attend the Process Expo free of charge, visit this link to use Blentech’s comp code.

We will be demonstrating Blentech’s newest technology on our booth #2020 every day at 11 am and 2 pm: the CookerCloud

 

 

 

For a sneak peek at the Blentech CookerCloud, a cloud-based historian that remotely monitors and collects secure data from food and beverage operations, visit our website for more info:  CookerCloud

Behind the Scenes: An Interview with the Blentech Assistant Shop Superintendent

Mark Cook, Blentech Assistant Shop Superintendent –

1985 to today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What was your title when you first started?

I started as a welder at Custom Stainless first in 1985.  (Many Custom Stainless employees went on to join Blentech when it started in 1986.)  I was working for a dairy equipment company but wanted to take a job closer to home. Now, I’ve worked here for 32 years.

What did you do in that role?

I learned to weld when I was 12 year old.  My father was a welding instructor at Hunting Beach High School.  He also taught adult classes in the summers and when there was space in his classes, I would fill it.  To learn about how the factory worked, much like many new employees, I started in parts.  You learn where all the parts fit into the bigger machines.  Then you move to fabrication and have a good understanding of how it’s all built.  Back then, I shared a work area with Lauren Frederickson.  He was an excellent craftsman.  Both my father and Lauren were big influences when it came to craftsmanship.

I then became Assistant Supervisor around 1989.  I was good with people and taught newcomers to have pride in their craftsmanship.

Today I serve the role as a mentor, educator and guide to our workers to have excellence in their work.   The schools no longer teach industrial arts which I think is a big mistake.  It’s harder to find skilled workers who know their stuff when they come in.  Today, new welders need lots of mentoring and molding to bring them up to the level of standards Blentech requires.

What type of machines were made back when you first started? 

When I started, we made a lot of tumblers and VersaTherms.  Now we do a lot of systems.

Most memorable project? 

The first fusion cookers (Infinity Cooker) needed to be welded inside from both ends or sides and therefore, when they were first designed, the length was based on the length of my arm.   Our engineer, John Lennox, came out and measured the length of my arm and based the first fusion cookers on the size of my arm!  He couldn’t make it longer or I couldn’t weld it!  That length in our designs is still used today.

What advice would you give now to your year one self. 

I would tell my first year self to not give up on the creative part of your job.  It’s the part I enjoy the most. Being creative each day.  I really enjoy what I do here at Blentech.  Our jobs are not cookie cutter.  I never do the same thing each day.  It’s a challenge every week to create equipment that’s unique for each customer and do so with a high level of craftsmanship.  When I’m finished with the job in my area, I go to final assembly and make sure when they put the machine together it all works exactly how it should.

What do you like to do when you’re not at Blentech? 

I’m very much into fitness.  My wife and I both like being active and working out.  I am now a personal trainer and work with others to become fit.  I’m working on getting certifications in weight loss and in behavior modification.  It’s all connected.

What is something surprising that your coworkers might be surprised to learn about you? 

When I served in the army, I served in the infantry and was on a pistol team.  My service time took me to Kansas, Korea and Washington State.

What makes Blentech products different?

Quality.  Our level of craftsmanship is way ahead of our competitors.

Thank you Mark, for your lifetime contributions to our Blentech team.

Mark is one of the many Blentech employees who personify excellence by design.  To find out more about Blentech, listen to our Founder, Darrell Horn, speak about how Blentech has been designing equipment for 30 years that is of unparalleled quality and craftsmanship in our video here .

An Advanced Approach To Growth: Insight Into Sunsof’s Experience With Blentech

There is no question that buying equipment can be an overwhelming task.  Here is just one example of how working with the right company can solve problems through collaboration.

Establishing a relationship by asking questions

Sunsof Inc, an all natural traditional empanada producer out of Miami, Florida, first approached Blentech as a growing company looking to scale up while maintaining their product quality.

 

We took time asking questions and creating a plan of action by listening to determine what their goals were.

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to Edgardo Armando, CEO of Sunsof, talk about how he experienced a process with Blentech that started with a “feeling of support”.

Peace of Mind through Proof of Concept

Testing was an integral part in Blentech’s solution discovery process. We utilized our team of food process engineering experts to ensure success through a trial. Blentech uses testing to better understand your product and needs as well as to focus on your company’s goals. Sunsof’s products are “made with love” and we love what we do so the perfect partnership was built. 

For Sunsof, their goals were to:

– increase production

– save money

– maintain/ increase product quality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edgardo also found value saying, “for us that test stage was key”.  Blentech believes that your food drives your success and that our attention to detail will deliver the best quality. Sunsof worked with Blentech’s food process engineering experts to enhance their procedures to meet and exceed their quality standards. Their product retained the desired qualities in

– color

– particle identity

– texture

– taste

Save time and money

This preliminary testing allowed Sunsof to estimate throughput as well as batch parameters for accurate pricing and ROI.  By reevaluating using the outdated method of kettle cooking in use at Sunsof, the benefits of a BlenTherm were clear. Sunsof was able to experience the quality increases, savings potentials, and reduced stress on labor needs due to automation; first by testing and then by purchasing this equipment.  In working with the Blentech team, Sunsof saw that attention to detail with collaboration prevented expensive mistakes and allowed us to size their equipment correctly. One thing that the BlenTherm does especially well is the ability to cook and chill in the same equipment – an important factor for Sunsof. Using a BlenTherm also allowed for the ability to maintain clean label and wholesome product while increasing automation.

How they grew

We are proud to work with companies like Sunsof and see their company strive and grow. Since installation, Sunsof has increased productions and sales by 30% and continues to grow.  From the beginning Sunsof had growth in mind, “We wanted to make sure this change would also bring us growth… and what is does is just make it easier” – Edgardo Hernandez.

How can we support your expanding business?

 

Find out more about the Blentech Innovation Center HERE then contact us to schedule a trial with us today!

 

 

 

 

 

Blentech Safety Lunch

 

Safety is important at Blentech.  Today we celebrated many safety accomplishments and the one we are most proud of is reflected in the photo above – 1,319 days without a lost time accident! To acknowledge our team that makes safety a daily priority,  every few months we have an all-staff safety lunch and today was a beautiful day in Northern California to have a barbeque.

Our Director of Manufacturing, Jon Valez with the assistance of Erin Whelan, an Applications Engineer, barbecued fresh from the ranch – an employee’s ranch – “gangus beef” hamburgers.  A gangus beef burger comes from a cow that’s a cross between a Galloway and an Angus.

That’s some hamburger!

Our employees were eager to get in line for their fresh gangus burgers topped with sauteed peppers and onions, bacon, cheese, a fried egg, lettuce and tomato all prepared by the Blentech team.

Jon spoke to our team about safety issues that included “Lock-Out, Tag-Out”.  He informed our team that pursuant to our safety policies, our current manufacturing and service team are all trained in Lock-Out, Tag-Out and as new employees come in, they are trained as well.

He also reminded the Blentech team that safety glasses are required at all times in the factory.

Each employee can enter their ideas for the next month’s safety slogan – this month’s winner was Adam Hammack, Lead Welder for “Avoid the worst, put safety first.”

Blentech then celebrated the retirement of our Accounts Payable professional, Rickie Troxell.  We wish Rickie all the best on her retirement!

Blentech and safety go hand-in-hand.  Our team takes pride in making this a daily priority.

 

To find out more about Blentech and our focus on safety, contact us today. 

 

Behind the Scenes: An Interview with our Blentech Shop Foreman

DuWayne Geigle, Shop Foreman – Blentech employee 1986 to today

What was your title when you first started?

I started as a welder in 1978 in the old company before Blentech called Custom Stainless. Then in 1981, Custom Stainless became CSE. In 1986, Darrell Horn (current Chairman and Owner) bought the company and turned us into Blentech and things really took off from there.

What did you do in that role?

I welded hoppers and conveyors.

How many employees were there back then?

Back then, there were 3 welders, 1 grinder and Nancy’s mother worked in the office (Nancy Corriveau, our current Director of Operations). And, there was an uncle who would come in to get equipment ready to ship when needed.  Then, I became a Welder Foreman in 1979 when the current foreman was let go. In 1984, I then became a Foreman.

Back when Darrell started Blentech in 1986, there were 12-15 employees, mostly in the factory. At that time, we only had 2 drafters and 1 engineer, John Lennox.  Now, I’m the Shop Foreman working directly under Jon Valez, the Director of Manufacturing. Currently, Blentech has over 70 employees.

What type of machines were made back then?

We used to build one machine at a time – mainly hoppers and conveyors. Now we build more systems.

Most memorable project?

Double twin agitator rice cooking systems. So huge, like nothing we’ve build before. We made five of those types of machines for a company that produced 11,000 pounds of cooked rice per hour. Also, I remember the first bacon bit machines. They were huge and took so long to build. You couldn’t do much without using a crane.   

 

What would the you in year one not believe you in year nearly 40 would be doing?

My first year self would be very surprised at how many lead men I have working to help carry the load. My first year self would also be surprised I’m still here! I did not intend to stay this long! After I worked here a few years, I took classes at Santa Rosa Junior College to go to the business side of manufacturing. Then, we had two children and that changed everything, as often is the case. I decided to stay at Blentech. A great place to stay 30 years. 30 years that went fast – too fast.

What advice would you give to the you that was just starting here back in those early days?

Try not to do it all yourself for so long. It wasn’t until Jon Valez came on board 3 years ago that I stopped working 7 days a week. Jon forced me to get other lead men to help carry the load of the work.  Now I can rely on Doug, Adam, Mark, Ruben and Ray to take care of details I no longer have to manage.

 

Do you look for our products made on our machines when you are shopping or out eating?

Yes, I’m very aware of foods made on Blentech machines when I am out shopping. I always buy a certain brand of chicken and soup. And, I’m always telling people our machines make that soup! Same with certain types of hummus sold at very popular stores. I’m very proud of that. Proud that Blentech equipment makes a lot of very successful products we all see and use every day.

 

 

What do you like to do when you’re not at Blentech?

I like to go camping, play golf, work in the yard or visit with my grand-kids who live nearby.

What is something that your coworkers might be surprised to learn about you?

Probably nothing. I’m a pretty open book. I’m always out talking to my guys about their families. I listen to their problems and offer advice. Sometimes I don’t know the right advice, but I talk to them about everything.

What makes Blentech products different?

Quality craftsmanship and how safe our machines are. They also cook the products really well for what our customers want. Just this week at our Innovation Center, a customer came for a two-day trial. After just one day, they were so happy with the results, they canceled the test for the second day.

What makes you proud to work at Blentech?

I’m really proud of the first rice system that Darrell and John spent years perfecting. The Japanese said we couldn’t create a rice cooker that made rice as well as their systems. Chef’s from Japan came to see how ours worked and they were quite surprised how great it was. So much so, the Japanese government gave Blentech a certificate honoring us in rice cooking. That’s pretty amazing.

DuWayne Geigle, Blentech thinks you’re pretty amazing and we thank you for your lifetime commitment to our company.  

 

Read more about why Blentech is the right choice when looking for peace of mind through proof of concept at our Innovation Center or contact us today to discuss a Blentech solution for your challenge. 

 

 

 

 

Team Orange at IFT17

Blentech Team Orange had a fantastic first day at the IFT17 show in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Blentech booth #4867.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blentech is also on Twitter.  Follow us @BlentechCorp to see what else we are up to at the IFT17 show – it may have something to do with Elvis.

Stop by and see us at the show!

We have found the Blentech cooker to be more versatile than our standard cooking kettles. Our yields and product quality are excellent with the Blentech technology and the cycle times exceeded our expectations! The robust construction of Blentech equipment is unparalleled..

Bruce Cihonski
of Tyson Foods

Blentech Gets Published!

Blentech is published in "Thermal Processing of Ready-to-Eat Meat Products."

By: Darrell Horn and Daniel Voit