By: Sharon Spielman
When the Flory family built
a barn in Salida, Calif., in
1909, to raise dairy cows,
one might wonder if anybody
knew that more than a century
later the same family would be
running a successful metal fabrication
and OEM farm equipment
business from the very same location.
Read on for the Flory story.
At Flory Industries, the mission of the company is to establish
long-term relationships with its customers by providing
quality products, parts and service in a professional and
timely manner, according to Ben Eller, finishing department
manager at the company.
Flory Industries is a maker of nut-harvesting equipment,
with sales worldwide for harvesting almonds, cashews,
chestnuts, figs, hazelnuts, macadamia, pecans, tung nuts
Their manufacturing facilities and offices are located on
the original property purchased in 1909 at 4737 Toomes
Rd. in Salida, California. “We have been repairing and
building farm machinery since 1936, and now concentrate
on building nut-harvesting equipment, flail mowers and
vineyard equipment, as well as offer custom contract metal
fabrication,” Eller says.
From Milk to Nuts
During the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Florys had a
100-cow grade “B” dairy. As far as is known, they were the
first family to have milking machines in this country. “We
were also the first to have a farm tractor in our area and the
first to convert from steel tractor wheels to rubber tires—
thanks in part to Harvey Firestone,” Eller says.
The dairy operation eventually expanded into custom
grain and bean harvesting that grew to 15 harvesters.
Howard Flory designed and built the two bean harvesters
for use in its harvesting business, and the machines lasted
from 1935 to 1974—a total of 30 harvest seasons. In 1961,
the first Flory pick-up harvester was built. It was a small
three-point mounted, tractor-powered harvester that was
primarily used for almonds.
As the industry grew, so did Flory with the production
of a self-propelled harvester with a 4-ft pick-up width. As
the speed and cleaning efficiency continued to improve
in harvesters, there was a need for faster, more efficient
sweepers. Flory met that need in 1972 with a self-propelled
heavy-duty sweeper, which featured a hydrostatic transmission,
large diameter five-bar sweeper reel, and engine
crankshaft-mounted blower fan. Sweepers have continued
to improve over the years with more power, larger blower
fans, and simplicity of design to the current sweepers with
diesel engines, Eller explains.
Flory Industries has been and will continue to work
diligently to meet the challenge of providing safe, quality
equipment for use by today’s nut grower. The goal is to
improve its equipment to better address the competing
pressures that farmers of the 21st century now face.
“It is our intent to assist in being good stewards of the
land,” Eller says. With this in mind, Flory has actively
focused on the dust issue within the nut industry since the
early 1990s. One of the design goals of many of its projects
since that time has been the reduction of dust emissions.
Additionally, Flory is committed to continuing to apply
new technology to its equipment in an ongoing effort to
further reduce emissions. “Our goal is to work alongside
the grower, and with current researchers, to contribute to
the common good of the entire industry,” Eller says.
Because Flory is committed to being a good steward for
the land, it was a natural progression for them to consider
powder coating to finish their equipment. “Our decision to
move to powder coating was based on cost savings, quality,
durability, and the ability to increase our capacity in light
of the challenging environmental impact parameters we
work in,” Eller reveals. Flory anticipates its annual volatile
organic compound (VOC) emissions to be reduced by
almost 90 percent. “We powder coat every part that we can,
which would be nearly 95 percent of our parts,” he says.
Parts such as hydraulic components or items with sealed
bearings attached are still liquid painted.
According to Eller, the decision to powder coat was a
more-than-five-year project, although its final research,
purchase process, and building construction/equipment
installation was right at 18 months. “We spent quite a bit
of time researching and planning, visiting other manufacturers
and coaters, and came to the point that we thought we
knew how we would handle and process our parts with
what type of equipment,” Eller explains. “The key phrase
here is ‘thought we knew.’ We made the decision to hire
a consultant that could look at our operation and give us
more direction. We consulted with Michael Cravens of
Powder Finishing Consultants out of Yorba Linda, Calif. His
complete report and suggestions for equipment and process
handling were really close to what we had arrived at. We
made some adjustments and moved ahead. Our decisions
on individual equipment pieces were a culmination of much
research and visiting other manufacturers and coaters who
had purchased and were operating similar equipment from
the companies we were considering.”
Finish durability and quality, cost of coating, and the ability
to assemble coated parts right away were the additional
factors for Flory’s decision to switch to powder, he says.
New Powder Line
As for the powder coating line itself, Flory runs a manual
batch system. Eller says that most of their parts are
mild steel and blasted with steel grit media. “We do this
blasting in an 18-ft x 30-ft AFC Airblast full floor recovery
blast room using Schmidt 6.5 cu-ft pressure-blast pots. Our
small parts are blasted in a Grit Guy Pro 6048 direct pressure
cabinet using the same media,” he explains. Parts are
then treated with a two-stage manual phosphate wash on a
30-ft x 60-ft full recovery wash bay and the solution is filtered,
treated and returned to use again by its CPR Systems
equipment manufactured by T. George Podell & Co. out of
South Bend, Ind.
Eller goes on to explain that parts are then dried/
prebaked and cured in one of two 12-ft x 30-ft x 10-ft
batch ovens manufactured in Norco, Calif., by Industrial
Process Equipment Inc. Unless specified differently, Flory
typically uses Axalta’s Alesta TGIC polyester powder,
which is manually applied using Gema Optiflex 2 equipment
inside their Spray Systems Inc. 17-ft x 30-ft powder
booth. Eller explains that they do have some contract
customers who also specify Cardinal powder. Liquid paint
is applied in an 18-ft x 30-ft side down-draft spray and
bake booth manufactured by AFC Finishing Systems in
All this equipment was installed inside a new 20,000
sq-ft building on the original Flory property, and they
began powder coating in April 2016.
Because many of the parts that Flory makes have machined
surfaces that must be masked and threaded fasteners
that must be capped or plugged, as well as many shafts that
later have bearings and set collars installed on them, Flory
uses plastic plugs, caps, and 3M “easy remove” duct tape
to protect these areas when blasting and silicone products
from Echo or Caplugs and 3M green high-temperature tapes
during the finishing process.
Service, Community, Success
In addition to its OEM machinery and contract custom
metal fabrication and finishing, Flory also offers a service department.
“As a manufacturer, servicing the machinery that
we produce and sell is our top priority,” says Eller. “We are
committed to honoring our customers’ needs.” The company
also can service and repair a range of industrial equipment
as well as Ag equipment. “We are committed to 100
percent customer satisfaction as our No. 1 priority, through
quality service in a timely manner,” Eller says. In addition to
servicing its own products, Flory also offers the following:
- Trouble shooting and repair of hydraulic systems.
- Service and repair of tractor implements.
- Service and repair of commercial lawn and garden
Service and repair of gasoline and diesel engines
- Honda Engine Dealer
- John Deere Service Center
- Kohler Expert Dealer
- Kubota Engine Service Dealer
- Stihl Power Equipment
- Wisconsin Authorized Service Center
According to Eller, Flory is committed to the principle
of continual improvement. “We strive to build quality and
repeatability into every process. With the latest in machine
tool technology and personal attention by team members,
we provide our customers with outsourcing reliability.”
Flory Industries also is involved with its community in a
variety of ways. For instance, on April 8 of this year, Flory
participated in the Love Salida rally, where they joined
community volunteers to engage in various clean-up and
improvement projects around Salida. Soon, a team of Flory
owners and employees will complete a landscaping project
at the nearby Dena Boer Elementary school.
In addition to being a good neighbor, Flory also strives
to bring equipment solutions to the marketplace that address
sensitive environmental issues such as the burning of
tree prunings and the dust generated during nut harvest.
When asked what attributes to Flory’s success, Eller says,
“Flory Industries strives to foster long-term relationships
with our customers and vendors, delivering quality and
innovative products, parts and service, while providing a
workplace in our community where one can be proud to
say they a part of the Flory Team. At Flory, we recognize
our success as God’s blessing on our business and we strive
to be good stewards of that blessing, allowing Flory to
serve our employees, our community and our industry well
into the future.”
Sharon Spielman is editor of Powder Coated
Tough magazine. She can be reached via
email at email@example.com.