If you want to get David McNamer energized, start talking about customer service.  The manufacturing manager for G.C. Evans, a manufacturer of cooling, heating and pasteurizing equipment, notes that although customer service was a key part of the company’s business model, it had experienced challenges as its relationships with major bottlers had deteriorated, largely due to inattentive customer service.

Gerald McNamer, David’s father and owner of G.C Evans, immediately set out to rectify the customer service issue and identified opportunities for using the company’s core competencies in order to expand the product line.

“Servicing the customer in a timely manner was 95 percent of what it took to bring back the proper level of trust,” David McNamer explains. “Ten years ago, we had eight competitors in the beverage arena. Now we have two or three. This is largely due to our insistence on superb customer service.  It’s what we demand of ourselves and what we expect of our suppliers.”

This challenge led the company to re-evaluate its supplier partnerships. “Due to the challenging economic conditions that unfolded that year, we had to take a close look at all of our suppliers,” David McNamer says. “We decided to give NORD Drivesystems a chance, and were in for some very pleasant surprises. Not only were the units less costly than comparable competitor’s units, they were really high quality and well-engineered.  But what impressed us most was the level of service we received from NORD. It’s really critical that we get the proper engineering support from our drive supplier and, with NORD, we got that. A NORD application engineer met with us early in our relationship, which had never happened with our former supplier. To our delight, as we transitioned more to NORD, we were always dealing with a single engineering contact who knew us, knew our business, had been to our plant and always delivered the right solution to every specific drive challenge. Today, I never worry if a drive from NORD is the right one for the application. We provide the right numbers in terms of desired drive performance, we get the right drive, period.”

Customizing operations

NORD also created a personalized form for G.C. Evans allowing the company to provide the data required to size the drive, get quotes together and deliver the solution on an expedited basis.

 “Drives on our pasteurizers have to be, in essence, failure proof,” says Jason Jones, director of engineering at G.C. Evans. “If this pasteurizer stops, our customer loses product, and that simply cannot happen. That’s why we trust NORD drives for every machine we make. For this particular pasteurizer, we have also incorporated GRIPMAXX bushings on the driving roller, which has to be removed every few years to service the bearings and for maintenance on the sprocket teeth. A traditional keyway-secured bushing may be quite problematic, since constant washdown can cause fretting and corrosion in keyways, making them very difficult — and sometimes expensive — to remove. With GRIPMAXX, the hollow bore simply collapses onto the shaft. Removal of the shaft is grab-a-wrench simple.”

G.C. Evans also needed to explore drive options for its conveyors. The company found that the reputation of its custom NORD-driven infeed and outfeed conveyors had spread, ultimately resulting in the development of a substantial business in ‘boutique’ conveyor systems designed for unique needs where very high-quality conveyors are needed. 

These drives have considerations quite distinct from their coolers, warmers and pasteurizers.  In addition to chain pull, torque and horsepower, sizing considerations also include speed, speed through corners, and backline pressure that becomes an issue as products accumulate, slow down or stop on a continuously moving belt.