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Global food processing leader, industry trade association commemorate a century of partnership, innovation, and growth

This year, SPX FLOW celebrates the company’s 100th anniversary as a member of the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA). It’s been a century of incredible growth for both organizations.

Exciting innovations over the past 100 years have significantly improved the quality and flow of dairy products. These innovations created the foundation for what is now SPX FLOW’s Waukesha Cherry-Burrell brand, one of the leaders in today’s global food processing industry. The company’s history is closely aligned with that of FPSA and PROCESS EXPO, which is the nation’s largest trade show dedicated to technology and solutions for the food and beverage industry.

And it all started with milk.

A dairy boom creates an opportunity boom

The history of SPX FLOW’s Waukesha Cherry-Burrell brand reaches back to the 1880s. At that time, the milk industry saw major growth in demand, which drove companies founded by J.G. Cherry and D.H. Burrell to produce increasingly sophisticated equipment to serve the rapidly growing needs.

In the early 1910s, Cherry’s son Howard met C.S. Bassett, who ran the American Bottle Cap Company, a small dairy supply company that sold Perfection Pull Caps and glass milk bottles. Prior to that time, most milk was sold in bulk, meaning milkmen would transport milk in buckets and then pour it into jugs or other containers at their customers’ homes. For convenience alone, milk bottles with caps represented a significant innovation.

But convenience wasn’t the only benefit. Safety was a driving force as well.

Increased demand for milk in bottles as well as pasteurized milk boosted Bassett’s business, and in 1916, Bassett became a distributor for a variety of Cherry-Burrell pasteurization equipment. In 1918, Cherry and Bassett created an independent venture under the name Cherry-Bassett. Ten years later, several companies, including the Cherry Company, the Cherry-Bassett Company, and D.N. Burrell & Co., joined forces as the Cherry Burrell Corporation.

Cherry Burrell expands, eventually joins SPX Corporation

Over the next several decades, Cherry Burrell played an increasingly important role in the dairy industry.

By 1938, more than 80% of all milk bottled in the United States was bottled on a Cherry Burrell filler model. Following World War II, Cherry Burrell built a flourishing trade in homogenizers, ice cream freezers, fillers, and other dairy equipment.

In the 1970s, Cherry Burrell underwent a complete realignment to make its manufacturing, engineering, distribution, and management capabilities more efficient. The company also focused on expanding internationally, eventually putting Cherry Burrell equipment into facilities in more than 70 countries, including China and India, which were difficult to break into at the time.

In 1975, Cherry Burrell was purchased by AMCA International Corporation. It was a first of many mergers and acquisitions that resulted in major expansions of Cherry Burrell’s product lines and geographical market.

SPX Corporation added Waukesha Cherry-Burrell pumps, valves, and process equipment to its portfolio in 2001 with its acquisition of United Dominion Corporation. This dramatically increased their presence in the food and beverage marketplace.

In 2015, SPX Corporation spun off its Flow division into a stand alone company. Today, SPX FLOW, Inc. is a global multi-industry manufacturing leader with operations in more than 35 countries and 8,000 employees. The company has an established reputation of serving customers in the food, dairy, and beverage industries with pumps, valves, mixers, homogenizers, separators, dryers, heat exchangers, and full process systems with its product brands APV, Anhydro, Gerstenberg Schröder, Seital Separation Technology and, of course, Waukesha Cherry-Burrell.

The role of FPSA and PROCESS EXPO

FPSA and PROCESS EXPO also came on the scene around the same time as Cherry, Bassett, and Burrell.

The association got its start in ice cream.

In 1911, the Association of Ice Cream Supply Men was formed to allow companies in the consumer dairy market to share sales tips and promotion ideas. Within a few years, the Association launched the National Exposition of the Association of Ice Cream Supply Men, which over the next 100 years and through many different iterations would eventually evolve into PROCESS EXPO.

In 1916, C.S. Bassett joined the Association of Ice Cream Supply Men with an eye toward networking within the industry and increasing sales opportunities. Soon after, he would be joined by Howard Cherry, and membership in the Association would serve as a catalyst for their growing business partnership. In fact, it was just after the 1928 Annual Meeting of the Dairy and Ice Cream Machinery and Suppliers Association (the successor to the National Exposition) that the creation of the Cherry Burrell Corporation was announced.

Since its founding, FPSA and PROCESS EXPO have been dedicated to supporting suppliers to the food processing and packaging industry through networking, marketing, and educational opportunities. SPX FLOW and its predecessors have long taken advantage of these opportunities to demonstrate their innovation and leadership and to connect with their target audience.

Scott Dillner, SPX FLOW’s Director of Marketing Services for Food and Beverage, commented:

“The format of PROCESS EXPO has always helped to promote our latest innovations and foster an environment of connecting with our customers and channel partners in one place. People travel great distances to attend this event because they know it’s where they can secure the information and technology they need to make immediate positive impacts on their business.”

PROCESS EXPO’s success in bringing the food industry together is evidenced by its long history. Dillner noted:

“The industry has seen a lot of change over the years and trade events have come and gone. The longevity of the PROCESS EXPO is a testament to how well it has continued to place its customer’s needs first which keeps exhibitors and attendees coming back for more.”

And the crowds keep coming. The 2015 show drew the biggest crowds in PROCESS EXPO’s history, and the exhibit hall for the 2017 is already more than 75% sold — a year in advance.

David Seckman, President & CEO of FPSA, commented:

“We are proud to recognize SPX FLOW’s 100 years of membership with our organization. While we live in a completely different world from that time, the reasons for being a member of this organization have not changed at all. Joining FPSA creates new opportunities for one's business be it in sales, operations, or the technical arena. By joining together, FPSA members are stronger and more successful than on their own.”

Recent innovations and looking to the future

Throughout its history, SPX FLOW has developed cutting-edge equipment for the food industry. Here are some of the company’s most exciting recent innovations:

  • Magnetically driven centrifugal pumps, like the Waukesha E-Series. The E-Series sanitary centrifugal pump line from SPX FLOW represents an innovative range of magnetically driven, hygienic pumps for common applications which require low viscous fluid transfer. Total containment of the liquid inside the pump is achieved using a hermetically sealed chamber which isolates the process fluid from the surrounding environment. This eliminates the need for mechanical seals and the associated wear and leakage that would normally be experienced with pumps which incorporate mechanical seal designs. The magnetically driven pumps are therefore not only environmentally friendly (due to no product leakage, or seal flush water to treat), they also contribute to improved process up time in food, beverage, dairy and pharmaceutical plants.
  • APV Cavitator. This technology improves product quality by allowing processors to heat liquids without scaled buildup, and/or the mixing of liquids with other liquids, gasses, or solids at the microscopic level to improve product quality and functional performance.
  • Gappscan leak detection for plate heat exchangers. The Gappscan leak detection service helps processors avoid product contamination and lost production through on-the-spot assessments to detect micro cracks and holes. This eco-friendly technology minimizes downtime by not requiring equipment to be dismantled. It also lowers the total cost of production by boosting process efficiency.

Looking into the future, SPX FLOW will continue delivering on its mission of helping food manufacturers meet their most pressing needs. Dillner says:

“We will continue to work closely with our customers and develop innovative process technologies and services to help them solve their most difficult application challenges in order to maximize plant safety, efficiency, and uptime.”

And, as they have been over the past 100 years, FPSA and PROCESS EXPO will be there to support these efforts. Happy anniversary!

Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, SPX FLOW is a global multi-industry manufacturing leader with approximately $2.5 billion in annual revenue, operations in more than 35 countries and over 8,000 employees. The company's highly-specialized, engineered products and innovative technologies are helping to meet rising global demand for electricity and processed foods and beverages, particularly in emerging markets.

About FPSA
The Food Processing Suppliers Association is the trade association for suppliers to the food processing and packaging industry and the host of the largest and most affordable food processing trade show in the Americas.  Our goal is to provide members with networking, marketing and educational opportunities and to help assure the future of the industry through charitable contributions and educational scholarships.