Imagine a world where food processing machinery is actually engineered and built by the same people who work with it day in and day out on the plant floor.

This 4x25 pump was built by FMI, Inc., a subsidiary of Beef Products Inc.

Today, a place like that is a reality at a boneless lean beef processing company called Beef Products Inc., headquartered in Siouxland, where the borders of Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota converge.

Over the years, BPI couldn't get what it needed from conventional machinery suppliers in terms of durability and sanitation, so the meat processor took matters into its own hands.

After experiencing too many bearing and shaft failures as well as CIP problems, BPI now produces its own pumps and grinders.

With all processors facing the issue of finding qualified line operators as well as maintenance crews to keep lines running, part of BPI's master plan was to reduce labor and keep its lines running longer. The advantage of building its own machinery, according to Eldon Roth, BPI's founder and president, is that the technology won't burn up parts and equipment will run longer.

Next on BPI's agenda is to supply pumps and grinders, not only to meat and poultry processors, but also to the beverage, dairy, frozen food, soups and sauces segments. BPI's new equipment company is called FMI Inc. While the technology will be expensive, Roth believes there will be fewer replacement part costs over the long run. He says this efficiency will lead to extended runs where both maintenance and sanitation clean up will be scheduled less frequently.

For more information, see FE's February 2004 cover story or call BPI/FMI at 605-217-8000.