The processing and distribution of grain and feed for tens of millions of chickens requires efficient, dependable equipment and infrastructure. So, when Harrison Poultry President/CEO David Bleth and his team set out last year to design and build their new state-of-the-art feed mill in Crawfordville, GA, they knew exactly where to turn for simple, reliable mechatronic drive solutions for their conveyor systems, elevators, mixers, and screws.
Harrison Poultry chose NORD DRIVESYSTEMS as the preferred gearmotor supplier for their $52 million dollar facility for several important reasons. NORD distributor partner Campbell Sales in Athens, GA has been a strategic integrator and supplier to the various Harrison facilities for many years, so it made sense to stick with the proven NORD products, service, support, logistics, and expertise which Campbell provides.
"Will Campbell talked me into installing a NORD gearbox at our old feed mill in Winder, Georgia,” says David Sailors, operations manager for Harrison. “That was twenty years ago, and those units are still running. We've bought several others since then with the same results.”
So, with Campbell Sales on board, at that point Sailors, Harrison’s Corporate Project Manager Nick Strange and the rest of the Harrison team set out to design and build an ultra-modern facility with the capacity to support their grain and feed processing needs for the next twenty years and beyond. Hogenson Construction was selected as the general contractor for the massive project.
The Harrison, Hogenson and Campbell teams worked together to specify, size, and select NORD gear reducers and Nord MAXXRIVE industrial gear units. Nord application engineers then worked directly with the various world-class USA manufacturers who would eventually provide the mill systems and equipment, in order to provide guidance on design, assembly and commissioning.
NORD’s Helical Bevel gear units, CLINCHER Parallel Shaft gear units, and MAXXDRIVE industrial gear units offered several product advantages for Harrison.
The NORD solutions eliminated the need for outdated shives/pulleys/belts/guards, etc. They also use a direct-drive concept that is much safer and more efficient. It was also more cost effective for Harrison due to reduced maintenance and service requirements commonly attributed to belts and pulleys. Fewer moving parts also enhanced the overall reliability and reduced the number of wear parts that needed to be stocked.
For this project all NORD gear units from 3 to 200 hp were equipped with NEMA input adapters for ease of motor replacement. Over 75 different NORD selections were used on the Harrison feed mill project ranging from 4,000 lb/in to 500,000 lb/in torque. NORD’s extensive product offering was also a key factor in the decision-making process and allowed Harrison to consolidate all requirements to one key vendor partner.
“We have enough space to store around a million bushels of grain now,” Sailors says. “There are two pellet lines in place with a total production capacity of 14,000 tons of feed per week, but we can increase that to 21,000 tons by adding a third line. There are also plans to install a pair of silos for soybean meal, giving us an additional 5,000 tons of storage capacity at some point. Aside from all that, we had to construct the loop track coming off the main rail line, which is about a mile and a half long and has two auxiliary tracks that can each hold fifteen C114 railcars. It’s a very impressive facility.
“We have two grinders cranking out 170 tons of corn each hour, and our mixer capacity is 240 tons per hour,” Strange says. “There are approximately 6,000 (combined) horsepower worth of motors here at the mill and 95 percent of them have a NORD gearbox attached. They’re a lot more energy-efficient, something that’s increasingly important these days. We’re very happy with our decision.”
In 1949, World War II veteran and graduate of the University of Georgia’s Agricultural Economics program Harold Harrison spent $1,000 on an incubator to hatch approximately 3,000 chicks per week. By 1955, he was selling 150,000 birds weekly and soon built his own processing plant in Bethlehem, Georgia.
Today, the company has more than 1,000 employees. Harrison Poultry produces approximately 315 million pounds of chicken annually. Their product mix includes whole birds, bulk parts, and boneless chicken, most of it destined for domestic and international customers in either the commercial food processing or restaurant industries. The company known for providing “Golden Goodness” continues to expand and is ranked the 20th largest poultry producer in USA, providing livelihood for farmers, families, and stakeholders around the world.