Whitewater company is key link for tasty Sliders, Big Macs
ELKHORN Fast food fans who enjoy White Castle Sliders and McDonald's Big Macs can thank a Whitewater manufacturer for the taste and consistency of the burgers.
Provisur Technologies is an industry leader in the design and manufacture of grinding machines used by processors who supply ground beef and other food products to the fast food industry. The grinders are precision machines built to exacting standards demanded by the fast food companies.
"The processors come to us and tell us what their fast food clients require," said Provisur Plant Manager Robin Hancock. "They need grinders that can produce ground beef, for example, at a certain consistency, in vertical or horizontal rows and other standards that are usually different and unique to each client. That's our challenge."
Provisur benefits from the vision of Tony Weiler. Sixty years ago, Weiler, the owner of a machine shop in Palmyra, saw a need for meat grinders to support area meat processors. Many of the grinders manufactured by Provisur still carry the Weiler brand.
A walk through the Provisur plant on East Main Street in Whitewater reveals employees working on grinder components. In one area, employees handcraft critical components, including the screw. The handwork might seem as if Provisur is turning back the clock in an automated manufacturing era, Hancock said it's about quality.
"The screw is a key component of a grinder and must be made to a zero-tolerance standard," he said. "The geometry of a screw does not lend itself to machining. It can be done by machine, but these exacting standards cannot be guaranteed."
Provisur employees, call them craftsmen, hand form and finish each screw from multiple pieces. The ridges on the screw are separate pieces of metal welded to a core. The seams, curves and blades are hand polished and finished. Each screw has identifying elements—they are not perfectly smooth—that identifies them as handcrafted components built to zero tolerances.
Where do these handmade screws end up? Meet the Dominator 14 SF, the "Big Daddy" of meat grinders. It is a self-feeding unit capable of grinding 600 pounds of raw beef each minute with the help of a 150- horsepower electric motor.
Provisur says the Dominator 14 SF "delivers best-in-class throughput and greatly improved end product texture." Most end users just want their Big Macs to taste the same every time, and that's what Provisur ensures, Hancock said.
In addition to market competition, a challenge for Provisur is obtaining skilled workers.
"We've been able, so far, to meet our needs, but skilled labor remains a challenge," Hancock said. "This work demands skilled labor ready to meet exacting, zero-tolerance standards."
Sales figures are not publicly shared, but Provisur had a good year in 2012, Hancock said.
"I say good because 2011 was an extraordinary year," he said. "But we remain strong and competitive."
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