2012 - Volume #36, Issue #6, Page #40[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Big Dairy Equipment For Small Herds
“I used to own the Choreboy milking equipment company and was bored stiff after I retired,” recalls Ron Napier, Kleen-Flo. “A friend suggested I make butter churns for people with a few cows or goats. Then I added cheese vats and pasteurizers. I just respond to what people want.”
Napier runs his business out of his home. He uses several different fabricators in the U.S. and internationally. He works with them to get equipment that meets the required codes, but is small scale in size. Butter churns start at a 12-gal. volume. He makes small, automated container fillers, including a butter cup filler, yogurt filler and more. The equipment is priced to match the quality standards it meets.
A yogurt filler designed to fill a single size carton, whether 4, 6, 8 or 32 oz., is priced at $17,500. One designed to fill multiple size cartons is priced at $22,500. A 35-gal. cheese vat is priced at $3,900.
“A lot of small scale equipment is inexpensive, but it’s cheaply made,” says Napier. “Mine is made with heavy, 10 gauge stainless steel and dimple plated. I sell really good quality.”
He advises against buying used equipment when starting out. It will likely require more knowledge to get it in shape and keep it maintained than will new equipment.
Napier continues to adjust his equipment offerings to meet customer needs. He’s adding reverse osmosis equipment to allow the production of higher solids fluid milk and, with the addition of a vacuum pan, the production of firm (Greek-style) yogurt without additives. He’s also introducing a hermetically sealed, 3-A compliant milk separator, homogenizers for ice cream and bottled milk, and equipment to make ice cream mixes. He’s working on multi-purpose equipment, such as a 3-in-1 bulk tank, pasteurizer and processing tank for making cheese, yogurt or other cultured products. He expects a small model to be priced at around $19,900.
“Most small operators have limited room, and this will replace three different pieces of equipment,” says Napier. “It’s still on the drawing board, but I’m working with a fabricator who makes equipment for large food processors and pharmaceutical companies.”
While Napier intends to continue serving small-scale operators, his focus is no longer just on low-cost, entry-level operations as it was originally. He has expanded to include producers processing up to 1,000 gal. of milk daily with special attention on sheep and goat owners.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Kleen-Flo Dairy Equipment, 10180 S. 100 E., Lynn, Ind. 47355 (ph 765 874-1292; email@example.com; www.kleenflo.us).
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