Target Ag Production LLC, an agricultural enterprise from Othello, Washington, has opted for Modesta’s solutions to keep their factory in line with HSE requirements. By adding a chain filter that ensures active cleaning of the product and windsifting along the conveyor belts, their onion shed is cleaner than ever before.
Founded two decades ago by Kerrick and Larry Bauman, Target Ag Production LLC has made a name for itself as a shipper, packer, and distributor of the freshest onions for a fair price and with the best service. They ship their onions to clients all over the United States and Canada and offer many different types of packaging, ranging from small consumer packs to big bags. Target Ag Production LLC takes care of the complete process: from growing and harvesting to processing, storing, packing, and shipping. Larry is still active in the company, which is now managed by his son Kerrick and a faithful team that makes it happen each day. The Baumans have been investing in state-of-the-art technology from the get-go. ‘We’ve always been forward thinkers, adapting to technological innovation early on,’ says Larry. Their newest dust extraction solution, supplied by Modesta, is in line with that strategy.
Dust extraction as a strategy
‘Dust extraction is often underestimated,’ says Sjoerd van Diepen, Technical Sales Advisor at Modesta. ‘It’s not the first thing one thinks of when building an agricultural factory, but no one likes to work in an environment filled with onion skins, leaves, and dust.’ That’s why making dust extraction part of the strategy from the beginning is crucial, he explains. ‘It’s important to take the air balance into account when deciding on the lay-out of a factory. We make sure the airflow goes from the clean parts of the factory – packing, for instance – to the uncleaned parts – the parts where the onions are stored, cleaned, and sorted.’ Furthermore, Modesta’s active cleaning strategy separates dust and skins from the onions before sending them to the packing line, which doesn’t just lead to a cleaner factory floor but also allows for a cleaner product, increases capacity, and reduces wear on machinery. Click the image to enlarge and scroll through the gallery.
With Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) regulations getting stricter every year, Target Ag Production LLC takes these challenges very seriously. ‘We’re very concerned about the people who work in our packing shed: we want them to work in a healthy environment. It’s one of the main reasons we invested in a new filter,’ says Larry. To ensure a clean, efficient, and safe working environment for employees and management alike, he knew it was crucial to invest in innovative technologies. That’s why Larry and his team started working together with Modesta in 2011, when they purchased their first filter for their consumer packing line. In 2020, they installed an Airlock filter, resulting in a 11 772 cfm dust extraction capacity. Now, with their new chain filter that was installed in 2023, they increase their capacity to 65 000 cfm. ‘We really like working with Sjoerd, who has extensive knowledge about the onion business,’ says Larry. ‘That’s why we’ve never really explored other options for our dust extraction.
‘We’ve made two major improvements to the way dust is managed at Target Ag Production LLC,’ explains Sjoerd. ‘Firstly, we actively return filtered air back into the factory to ensure the right airflow. This helps prevent dust and dirt moving to the clean parts of the factory.’ This prime solution is quite unique in the United States, giving Target Ag Production LLC a head start on competitors. Secondly, Modesta has installed a windsifting solution along the conveyor belts. Instead of feeding the grading line with boxes or a truck, Target Ag Production LLC chose a conveyor belt solution to take the raw material from storage to the grading line. With the belts covering around 100 yards, this used to lead to a lot of dust and onion skins on the factory floor. Sjoerd: ‘By adding windsifting along the entire trajectory, we prevent onion skins and dust from contaminating the working environment.’
The right choice
The difference between the situation before and after is clearly noticeable: Target Ag Production LLC now enjoys a much cleaner factory. ‘It’s definitely a lot less dusty and there are fewer leaves and skins scattered around, so the air quality has improved,’ says Larry. He points out another advantage that comes along with a cleaner factory floor: ‘In the old situation, we’d have to spend a lot of time to clean our production environments at the end of the day. We’ve cut the cleaning time down a lot.’ Lastly, the new chain filter leads to a cleaner product, allowing the company to appeal to a larger client base. ‘The equipment works and is very well-built,’ Larry concludes. ‘With Modesta, we’ve made the right choice.’
To contact Modesta directly, use this link: Contact — Modesta Filters | Empowering clean air