California company produces a rotary milking parlor specifically designed to meet the requirements for the U.S. market.
Source: Ron Goble Associates
HANFORD, Calif. – A new trend is emerging in the dairy industry. Instead of relying on imported rotary milking parlors from overseas, BECO, headquartered in Hanford, Calif., has designed and directed the manufacturing of their own BECO Xtreme Reliability rotary platform (BXR) all in the U.S.A. – "American engineered and American made."
Several years ago, BECO owner, Stan Brown, had put together a special team, convinced that the rotary was the most efficient way to milk cows. He and his team leader visited almost every rotary operation in Central California and they worked hard to find out what was good and what was bad in the rotary world.
Milker Angel Perez works on the new BXR rotary at Delta View Farms near Visalia, Calif.
"We worked to upgrade the overall design and found a New Zealand firm that would work with us to meet our stringent specs," said Brown. "We had a lot of prospects and producers who were excited about the new upgrade to the rotary concept. However, when the downturn of 2009 occurred, most projects were put on hold. By the time good economic health returned to the industry, the New Zealand company that BECO was working with had been sold, and we were determined it was time to take our rotary upgrade specs and do something on our own.
"There were a lot of dealers and dairymen telling us their desire for a rotary specifically designed to meet the requirements for the U.S. market. There was a lot of dissatisfaction for reliability and maintenance costs. We were constantly being asked why rotaries have to be manufactured and shipped from overseas. So we did it. We engineered and built the very first ‘Made in America’ rotary for Delta View Farms, a well-respected Jersey dairy operation in Visalia, Calif."
Dairyman Butch Dias and his sons, Greg and Darren, had been researching rotary technology and began talking with Brown about building them one at their Delta View Farms.
"My sons did the research on our milking parlor project," declared Butch. "They decided rotary was the way to go. We were aware that we were in unchartered territory when Stan suggested his company could handle the upgraded design and direct the manufacture of all rotary components in the USA. Stan not only felt that BECO could offer a superior platform, but could save us money as well. We had learned from a long relationship with Stan and his company that we could trust them when he said they could deliver."
BECO has outfitted numerous milking parlors domestically and internationally. The rotary parlors were all put together the old way – with the rotary structure shipped from an overseas manufacturer. Delta View’s rotary project, however, was different. The newly engineered rotary was designed and manufactured to BECO’s stringent specs here in America. BECO no longer had to rely on imported platforms from overseas designers and suppliers.
"The design work for the BXR was conducted on Solid Works, a three-dimensional drafting platform. This allowed us to see exactly how every piece would fit and work together before anything was actually manufactured," said Brown. They started at the retaining wall, designing piece-by-piece from the ground up, implementing new design changes that BECO had identified from their research of other platforms. The initial ‘Made in America’ project began in February 2013 and took a year to engineer, design, build and install.
"There is a tremendous amount of weight on any rotary structure so we had to embrace all the proven technologies while determining how to fix every weakness we had found during our research," Brown said. "We’ve seen that there can be catastrophic failures and high maintenance costs if not engineered just right and we didn’t want any part of those kind of problems."
And "just right" was exactly what they produced. Darren Dias was milking cows on their new BXR by Feb. 11, 2014, and the transition from their old double-16 parabone milking parlor to the state-of-the-art rotary was seamless and came off without a hitch or a glitch, he said.
The Rotary Puzzle
Manufacturing rolled parts was Brown’s biggest concern ¬– round pieces, they have to be just right. They contracted with a company to handle the fabricating for the stalls, cabinets and major chores for spokes and beams. BECO handled the critical pieces and used local suppliers when possible. Quality was paramount.
"It was a constant evolution to solve challenges as they arose, and our primary focus was to double-check that quality, strength and precision were maintained throughout the entire project," said Brown.
Because of attention to details, Butch had good news for inquisitive dairymen who toured his new parlor and asked how long it took to get the "bugs" out? "There were no bugs to work out, everything came together as planned. We couldn’t be happier," Butch declared with a smile.
The entire project was a coordinated effort between trusted companies and people. JAM Dairy Construction, Inc., of Visalia, provided the building, plumbing and concrete work. BECO Dairy Automation, Inc., of Hanford, handled the engineering and manufacturing of the rotary platform, as well as the milking equipment. Avila Dairy Equipment Inc., of Hanford, was contracted to install the rotary and all related milking equipment. Dan Freitas Electric, Inc., of Tulare, handled all of the electrical work.
"We are often asked if we can build larger than the 50-stall system. The answer is always the same – we can build as large as needed, it is just more of the same heavy-duty components. We actually have the engineering completed all the way up to 100 stalls," said Brown.
"Dealers and dairymen who have seen the new BXR platform have commented that it has ‘set a new standard’ for rotaries," Brown said. "We had the advantage of working on rotary projects over the last 10 years before designing and building our own. Some BXR team members had previously worked for competitive companies and were involved in introducing rotaries here in the U.S. more than 20 years ago. We really had the right team to do this project."
BECO is well positioned to serve U.S. dairy regions. California dealers are in Hanford, Tulare, Fresno, Bakersfield, Merced and Turlock. Outside California they have numerous dealers in the Pacific Northwest, Southwest, Midwest and Eastern regions.
"The word is out and the industry knows we have our own – ‘Engineered in America and Made in America’ – rotary. We will be managing and coordinating BXR rotary projects down the road whether it’s in our own backyard or across the country," said Brown.