has designed a better box for cherries.
The West Michigan firm, which is part of the Hudsonville Lumber family of businesses, has a new, patent pending cherry tank design that brings strength and efficiency to a product that takes a beating from the harvest and storage of thousands of pounds of cherries produced in the state of Michigan.
The tank is the first to pass the state of Michigan's Calibration Testing of Cherry Holding Tanks for Volumetric Measurement in nearly 20 years, says Ben Dozeman, president. "We wanted to take the old tank that had pieces and parts welded together and make something stronger, better, and last longer. Our new tank is better designed and engineered," Dozeman says.
Dozeman says it was feedback from the growers that helped shaped the new design: "I asked every grower what they would like to see different. Rust was a big issue. Where there was weld there was rust and damage over time."
He says he worked with Proos Manufacturing to build the tank. "I sat down with the head engineer and told him what I wanted. I came up with the vision, he came down with reality to make a stronger tank with less welds," says Dozeman.
Designing better products for cherry harvest and storage is big business. Dozeman says the tanks are primarily for tart cherries, of which Michigan is responsible for almost 75 percent of the nation's harvest, but that the tanks can be used for sweet cherries, too.
Hudsonville Lumber currently employs 10 people and sells wooden produce boxes to orchards and retailers, and Hudsonville Products has a team of three. This is the first product that Hudsonville Products has brought to market, and Dozeman says the focus will be on selling it throughout state and then nationally before he goes back to the drawing board with more designs.
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Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor.