Case Studies & Field Reports

Facility overhaul provides improved equipment maintenance

Baked bean processor chooses motors and gears based on their longevity.

Left: Baldor-Reliance motors and Dodge TIGEAR-2 reducers are used on high-speed conveyors throughout the Bush Brothers’ Chestnut Hill plant. Right: A Standard E Washdown Duty motor was selected for running the blancher. Source: Baldor-Reliance.

Bush Brothers & Co. produces more than 40 products, including its famous baked beans, marketed under the Bush’s Best brand name. The majority of the company’s production comes from its Chestnut Hill, TN, facility where millions of cans are produced per week in a state-of-the-art facility that underwent a complete overhaul in 2004.

Michael Rife, the plant’s maintenance planner and buyer, was a member of the design team that helped plan and implement the plant expansion project at the Chestnut Hill facility. One of the team’s responsibilities was to find the best motors, gearboxes and bearings to use throughout the new facility.

“We had the opportunity to travel around the country, visiting the best plants in all types of industries,” says Rife. “After our research, it was clear to us that if we wanted our plant to be among the best, we needed to specify Baldor-Reliance and Dodge products.” Key factors in the selection included application specificity, longevity and maintenance.

“We chose products based on what we felt was a good total cost of ownership strategy,” Rife explains.

Rife and his team selected the correct style of motor for particular applications. Baldor-Reliance motors throughout the plant include standard washdown duty to paint-free and all-stainless steel motors. For example, Standard E Washdown Duty motors were selected for running the blanchers. Maintenance-free operation was another key reason for product choices. 

Dodge TIGEAR-2 reducers were selected for use on high-speed conveyors throughout the plant because oil change is unnecessary. “The product comes with the oil already in it and all I have to do is take it out of the box and put it on,” says Rife. He adds that the reducers keep running and the lack of required maintenance saves a lot of time.

The reducers also are equipped to handle harsh working conditions. “These units run in a corrosive environment,” says Rife. “There is the bean juice, the cleaning chemicals, and the high-pressure washdown-it’s all very tough on these products. But we have very good luck with them.”

Rife chose Dodge E-Z KLEEN, polymer-housed ball bearings on all the conveyors because they withstand washdowns and still perform. “We do try to take care of them with a good vibration analysis program, but this is a very good product and we just don’t lose bearings,” says Rife.

Based on his 33 years of experience in the food industry, Rife plans on sticking with his choice of motors and mechanical products. “They are easy to install, easy to maintain, and they last,” says Rife.

For more information:
Kay Cabaniss, 864-281-2486,

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