The story behind the
on the press brake
By Dan Davis
When economic pundits talk about the inconsistent performance of the U.S. housing sector, they aren’t talking about
chicken housing. That business is doing just fine.
In Lakeland, Fla., Alaso knows this firsthand be-
cause it is one of the world’s largest fabricators of
automated chicken housing. If you had eggs this
morning, the source of those eggs might be living in
one of Alaso’s fabrications.
These housing systems can be a sight to behold.
One “chicken house,” as Nick Millard, Alaso’s manufacturing manager, called it, can be 500 feet long,
60 to 80 ;. wide, and up to 12 tiers high. (Tiers refer
to the number of levels in each row. Typically, these
facilities are arranged into four to five rows of multi-
tiered-stacked cages, similar to the floors of a build-
ing. Tiers are separated by manure-collecting belts
that take the waste from the hens above, allowing
the hens below to remain healthy and clean.) Large
facilities can house anywhere from 50,000 to 1 mil-
Plenty of engineering and G90 galvanized steel go
into these systems. In some of them, everything is
automated. That includes delivery of chicken feed,
medications, and water; removal and disposal of
manure; and collection of eggs. In these larger systems, human hands may never touch an egg.
“Our company looks very heavily into the safety
and well-being of the animal, as well as the ease of
flock management and production e;iciency for
the end user. We want to minimize the amount of labor and maximize production output,” Millard said.
An Interest in Boosting Productivity
Alaso also has the same concern for its own employees and business. It wants to ensure that its employees stay safe and productive as the manufacturer
continues to build its business. (Alaso is recognized
as one of the highest-volume international exporters in Polk County, one of Florida’s largest counties.)
One good example of this was Alaso’s move to
roll forming about 10 years ago. Management recognized that it could increase production output
A new brake with a built-in light curtain keeps
workers safe and boosts productivity at one of
the world’s largest chicken housing manufacturers
Toby Domingues, sheet metal department supervisor;
Nick Millard, manufacturing manager; and Jill Mullis,
press brake lead, pose in front of a 110-ton SafanDarley
E-brake that has helped to boost bending productivity at
Alaso, a Lakeland, Fla.-based manufacturer of commercial
chicken housing systems.