Food and beverage facilities require a substantial amount of piping, in multiple types and sizes, to move product through the various processing stages. But because that product is ultimately for human consumption, the piping isn’t like what you find in other types of manufacturing plants. To learn more about sanitary process piping, we spoke with Jon Yeaman, the owner and operator of Fruition Construction.
Yeaman’s career began in 2004 in the mechanical industry. After eight years in a steady job installing manufacturing equipment, he saw an opportunity to start something new.
Fruition launched in 2013, getting its start working with breweries. These facilities often have limited resources, so initially they rely on hoses and manual labor to move product. As they grow, they can invest in upgrading those hoses and reducing that labor. “That’s when they install more permanent piping, more automation to streamline their process and eliminate labor costs, essentially to speed up production,” Yeaman says.
This type of work — helping processors scale from manual to automated systems — has become Fruition’s bread and butter. Today, breweries still make up about 60% of Fruition’s client base, while the rest of the food and beverage industry makes up the other 40%.
Providing sanitary solutions to keep food safe
Fruition’s business has grown quickly because, in contrast to general mechanical contractors, they’re familiar with the industry’s unique needs.
“Every food and beverage facility has a tremendous amount of process piping to move product from point A to point B,” Yeaman says. “But it isn’t just your standard hot water piping, like in a house or a school, or under the road. It needs to be a sanitary installed application with sanitary stainless welding and so forth. That’s our specialty.”
Keeping production moving, despite time and financial constraints
Another specialty is managing projects with tight deadlines and limited budgets, a skill Fruition mastered through their work with small breweries. “Oftentimes, once funds are allocated for the project, they need it done yesterday,” Yeaman says.
As a small, family-owned company, Fruition can adapt to their clients needs more easily than a larger firm would be able to. “We have a little more flexibility to be able to tweak, modify, and do things to stay within the customer's budget,” Yeaman says.
They can also dispatch employees quickly to anywhere in the country, for example, to perform repairs. “Every manufacturer is trying to produce as much as they can all the time,” Yeaman says. “And the nature of that is, just like anything, if you work it hard, it wears out and breaks down.”
That’s why Fruition offers emergency servicing and repairs to get productions lines back up and running quickly. And those requests come in on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis due to unexpected cracks, breakages, and breakdowns. Urgent equipment repair isn’t inexpensive, but, Yeaman says, “the cost of stopping production is generally significant compared to the cost to rush somebody out there to repair it. Our strong suit is moving manpower in a short time. Our motto has always been that we're a day away from anywhere. If anybody calls we can jump.”
Fruition Construction will be exhibiting at PROCESS EXPO for the first time this year. “We've done a lot of different expos and trade shows involved with the brewing side of things,” Yeaman says. “I would like to be more involved in the rest of the food and beverage industry. We hope and feel that this is one way we can get some exposure and build a new client base.”
To discuss your next installation project, you can find Fruition Construction at Booth #2370.