Trends Winter 2012 - Page 6

Bush Brothers builds for the future by Wendy Kinderman B ush Brothers & Company knew designing a modern canning facility on its 60-year-old site in Augusta, Wisconsin, would be a challenge. But with planning, planning, and then more planning, the company now is able to produce, store, and ship tons of beans every week safer, faster, and more efficiently than ever. Bush Brothers, established in 1908, is an industry leader in the production of canned beans. It has two primary manufacturing plants: one in Dandridge, Tennessee, near company headquarters in Knoxville, and the other in Augusta (population 1,567) in western Wisconsin. The recipe for one of its best-known products, Bush’s Original Baked Beans, was developed in Augusta in 1969. “Bush Brothers is a very forward-thinking, very strategic company,” said Dan Tolan, plant engineering manager at Augusta. “We are focused on brand recognition, growing the brand, and optimizing processes for long-term success.” 6│TRENDS The latest food processing technology is hydrostatic cooking, which allows more uniform cooking. The Dandridge plant has converted to hydrostatic cookers, and Augusta will have its first hydrostatic cooker in December 2013. Bush Brothers decided to make improvements not only in production but also in storing and shipping its product from Augusta. The company decided to build a new warehouse that would be large enough to store all of its product on site and also increase its ability to ship by rail. But building a warehouse that large, not to mention adding a new production facility, had ramifications throughout the site – from relocating and upgrading city utilities and vacating a city street to designing a regional stormwater pond and outfall and building a new rail spur. That’s where Ayres Associates came in. The company designed the warehouse and all associated site work to make the expansion possible. “We really like the collaborative nature in which Ayres works,” Tolan said. “We are very lean in our engineering