Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream's Bakersfield, CA, plant was honored as Food Engineering's (FE) 2006 Plant of the Year in a special awards presentation at the Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference last month. Held at the Sanibel Harbour Resort in Fort Myers, FL, Dreyer's Capital Engineering Manager Doug Bame accepted the Plant of the Year Award trophy from FE's Editor in Chief Joyce Fassl.
"If officials at Dreyer's and Nestlé wanted a symbol of their frozen snacks' merger, they couldn't do better than the expanded Dreyer's plant in Bakersfield, CA," Fassl told the crowd of nearly 250 attendees.
Dreyer's had not built a new plant since the late 1980s and the Bakersfield project gave Dreyer's manufacturing team its first blank canvass to implement design improvements and processing systems in a 332,000-sq.-ft., $100 million project.
For nearly 30 years FE has recognized outstanding examples of food and beverage facility design and construction with the annual Food Plant of the Year award, including the 1989 award winning Nestlé Carnation plant in Bakersfield.
In adding a second processing room, engineers extended a service corridor in the existing plant an additional 300 feet, modifying tilt-up panels installed in 1988 to create a unified processing area. While ice cream novelties are manufactured in the older section, 56-oz. cartons are the focus in the new area. Designed for five high-volume carton lines, the room also hosts a line producing Dreyer's popular Dibs® novelties, and a seventh production line soon will be installed. Throughput is projected to be 90 million gallons a year.
When Dreyer's $180 million Laurel, MD, expansion project is complete next year, Bakersfield will be edged out as the company's largest ice cream plant.