Gloucester, MA is the location of not only America’s oldest seaport and the birthplace of the US fishing industry, but also Gorton’s Seafood. Gorton’s originated as a father and son duo in 1849 under the name John Pew & Sons and has evolved into the most recognizable and bestselling seafood brand in the US. Operating out of the original 1906 building, Gorton’s prides itself on its heritage and quality products.
The third floor of Gorton’s seafood production facility had been out of commission for the last decade, but was remodeled to make room for a new fry line. Rob Sinico, senior innovation project engineer for Gorton’s, has worked with Northeast Process Systems Inc. (NEPSI) for years, choosing it for nearly every mechanical repair Gorton’s has needed. So when it came to remodeling the 20,000-sq.-ft. facility, Sinico trusted NEPSI’s suggestion to use Viega ProPress for stainless.
“We look at NEPSI as a supplier and installer to recommend the latest and greatest to us,” Sinico says. “We use their expertise in the field to tell us what’s new and what products are out there.” NEPSI installed 10,000 ft. of Viega ProPress for 304 stainless fittings with piping in one half- to three-in. sizes for applications including compressed air, hot and cold water, and a water/glycol mix. NEPSI chose stainless knowing it would stand up to the chemicals used for cleaning the seafood facility. Everything that can be—even the floor drains—are stainless steel. NEPSI also used Viega’s three-piece ball valves for shutoffs throughout the facility.
“Almost all of our machines and equipment are stainless steel,” Sinico says. “Because we are in food production, it has to be highly sanitary and easy to wash and clean. We use corrosive chemicals to do that, and the stainless holds up. When employees wash, they wash floor to ceiling, so wherever the pipes are, they’re going to get hit.”
According to Sinico, NEPSI also chose stainless because it was better suited to the application.
“Once you go stainless,” Sinico says, “you should never have to repair or replace that again. So it might cost more upfront, but in the long run, we knew we’d never have to touch it again.”
In addition to the quality being more valuable than the upfront cost of the fittings, Sinico says knowing that the connections are secure is important and ensures safety.
The installation time was also a consideration because the new system had to be put in place without disrupting Gorton’s production schedule. The Viega ProPress allows work to be done while the production line is running.
Additionally, Gorton’s went the extra mile and installed a fire protection system utilizing Viega ProPress for stainless steel, which exceeds the company’s current Good Manufacturing Practice standards. Along with exceeding the requirements, the project was completed in four months.
“It’s pretty impressive when you go out and look at that floor,” Sinico says. “Everything is neat. Our entire electrical conduit is also stainless, so aesthetically it looks nice. And it’s all durable, and that was the main driver for going with stainless. I can certainly say, big or small, we use Viega systems. That’s our standard.”