Driven by Service - Driven by NORD
Customer Service is the corner stone of G.C. Evans and its business practice. David McNamer, Manufacturing Manager of G.C. Evans, is passionate about service, because this manufacturer of cooling, heating and pasteurizing equipment for the food and beverage industry owes its very existence to a total commitment to customer service.
Focus on the Customer
G.C. Evans started in the food and beverage industry over 65 years ago manufacturing hot water solution heaters. Over the years the company has grown to also manufacture everything from cooling tunnels and pasteurizers to shell and pallet handling equipment with intentional efforts to provide their customers with the best products and services available. G.C. Evans’ central location in Arkansas allows them to easily serve domestic customers across the country as well as abroad. No job is too large or small for G. C. Evans and their customers always come first.
Focus on the Project
During a site visit, two gigantic pieces of equipment were nearing completion. The first was a cooling tunnel, the second one a pasteurizer. Both machines are driven by a single one NORD CLINCHER™ gearmotor operating huge amounts of products. Characteristics of the machine are:
- NSDX3 protective coating
- Oil sight glass
- filling with food grade mineral oil
Gerald McNamer immediately set out to rectify the customer service issue, and also identified opportunities for using the company’s core competencies in order to expand the product line. Cooling tunnels were added in order to solidify the company’s place in the food processing market, as well as pasteurizers that melded their expertise in both heating and cooling into one integral unit. While virtually every unit manufactured is custom engineered to a specific need, common to all is a commitment to deliver the most responsive customer service possible, from initial design through installation and follow-up service. David McNamer states, “Ten years ago we had 8 competitors in the beverage arena. Today, we have two or three. This is largely due to our insistence on superb customer service. It’s what we demand of ourselves and, it’s what we expect from our suppliers.”
In the late 1980’s, David’s father, Gerald McNamer, purchased the small company, which was in bankruptcy at the time, by assuming the company’s existing debt. Gerald McNamer saw the potential and began restructuring and mending customer relationships to put the business back on track.
Although G.C. Evans mostly uses NORD products, this was not always the case. David reports: “When I started working for the company, we only implemented drives of a NORD competitor. In 2008, I was responsible for purchasing. The economic challenges that came to light this year made it necessary to critically examine all our suppliers, including those for drives. At that time, Steve Bolton, a sales manager at NORD DRIVESYSTEMS, called me and introduced the NORD drives. We decided to give them a try and were pleasantly surprised. Not only were they lower cost than the drives from competitors, they also impressed with their high quality and sophisticated design. What impressed us most was the support we received from NORD. Technical support from the drive manufacturer is extremely important to us, and that’s what we received from NORD. In the early stages of our collaboration, Steve Bolton sent NORD’s application specialist Jim Alt to us. None of our previous suppliers has ever sent a specialist to us. And since we switched to NORD completely, we have always the same contact partner there, much to our delight.”
The Director of Engineering at G. C. Evans, Jason Jones, made some important observations regarding the critical nature of drive dependability, as well as ease of maintenance. “Drives on our pasteurizers have to be, in essence, failure proof. If this pasteurizer stops, our customer loses product, and that simply cannot happen. That’s why we trust NORD drives.”
NORD drives are standard on all G.C. Evans products, including the smaller drives used on conveyor systems which bring product to and from the processing unit. NORD Helical-bevel integral gearmotors with keyed hollow bores are used for their infeed drives, and NORD MINICASE® units drive the dynamic transfer service belts.
During a site visit, two gigantic pieces of equipment were nearing completion. The first was a cooling tunnel that moves 20,000 jars of jam weighing a total of 50,000 lbs. with a single NORD CLINCHER™ gearmotor operating at a 2500:1 gear ratio and moving at 0.6 RPM. This drive incorporates a multitude of options that are necessary for the sanitation demands of food processing applications, including NSDX3 protective coating, filling with food grade mineral oil, AUTOVENT™ and an oil sight glass.
The second was a pasteurizer intended to pasteurize cans and bottles of fruit juices. The conveyor belt is 16’ wide and 84’ long moving at a pace of 45 minutes of package transit time. Here again, one NORD CLINCHER™ integral gearmotor is used, this one operating at 0.7 RPM. Jason Jones states, “For the pasteurizer, we also have GRIPMAXX™ bushings on the driving roller. This roller is removed every few years to service the bearings and for maintenance. A more traditional key-way-secured bushing may be quite problematic, since fretting and corrosion make it very difficult (and sometimes expensive) to remove. With the GRIPMAXX™, the hollow bore simply collapses on to the shaft. Removal of the shaft is then grab-a-wrench simple.”
Great customer service and absolute equipment reliability remain the keys to success at G.C. Evans. “Think about it,” explained Dave McNamer. “If a beverage pasteurizer were to have a drive failure, you’re not only talking about lost product in the unit, but stopping a production line to the tune of potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour. I don’t want to worry about our drives and I don’t want our customers to either. That’s why we choose NORD.”