Plant expansions expand production and efficiencies for two food facilities, Blue Diamond almond marketer and processor and Velvet Ice Cream.
Blue Diamond Growers, the world's largest almond marketer and processor, recently unveiled its new 48,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art bulk storage warehouse, Warehouse 7, in Salida, Calif. At 100 feet wide, 480 feet long, 60 feet tall and extending 32 feet into the ground, the bulk receiving warehouse was engineered to store up to 60 million pounds of almond meats, increasing Blue Diamond’s receiving capacity by 33 percent. Though it currently stores only nonpareil almonds, Warehouse 7 contains three separate storage areas for storing different varieties of almonds.
The new facility also was touted for its innovative design and features, through which wait time will be reduced for trucks bringing in almonds after harvest, and the warehouse can accept both bulk and box deliveries at the same time, allowing for more efficient delivery methods. The new warehouse was specifically engineered to improve almond handling and efficiency, dedicated exclusively to gentle, hands-free processing from time of delivery to finished package, the company said. A 26-degree sloped floor allows the almonds to free-flow out the bottom to conveyors controlled by computers. Conveyor belts carry delivered almonds to the top of the warehouse, where they undergo a quality check and feed directly to the main plant for further processing. For more information, visit: http://bluediamondgrowers.com/.
In October, Velvet Ice Cream opened the largest expansion capital improvement in the company's storied 102-year history. Last August, Velvet broke ground on a new 23,000-square-foot expansion, with price tag of more than $3 million. The expansion added a new state-of-the-art warehouse freezer distribution facility to Velvet Ice Cream's central Ohio plant at Ye Olde Mill in Utica, more than doubling the company's freezing and picking capacity. On the heels of significant expansion into the Kentucky and other markets, demand for Velvet Ice Cream has grown, taking the company from $25 million in revenue in 2009 to more than $30 million in 2014. As a result, last summer, Velvet was nearly at capacity with its former distribution facility.
Features of the new facility include a new freezer distribution addition keeps Velvet Ice Cream at 20 degrees below zero and holds 3,200,000 cartons of Velvet Ice Cream – equal to 1,920 pallets and 80 truck trailers filled with Velvet product.
Velvet Ice Cream worked with the Licking County, Ohio firm Robertson Construction as general contractor for the project, which took 14 months to complete. Currently employing a staff of 125, Velvet's new distribution facility initially will require the addition of eight new employees in its picking and shipping operations. However, the development enables the company further to expand production as new accounts are acquired, which is expected to increase future employment. The project also uses the latest green technology, minimizing the company's environmental footprint via environmentally friendly design, motion-controlled energy efficient lighting, state-of-the-art insulating panels and high-speed automated doors.