Chile – sand screener

Back in February, our equipment team was working to prep our old sand screener to ship it to our affiliate farm, Cranberries Austral Chile (CAC).

Ernie, who was the lead on the project, put in a lot of time making the necessary repairs for easy maintenance when it gets down to Chile. “We want to make sure it’s in great shape for those guys,” he said at the time. “…Basically, we’re going over it and making sure everything is right and that it’s running well.” He also mentioned that actually getting it into the shipping container was going to be a project in itself, and he was absolutely right!

Coco Mercado says, “We did a lot of prep work. All the bigger stuff wouldn’t fit inside the container, so we had to disassemble all the big pieces and make absolutely sure all fluids were drained in order to pass through Customs.” Supervisor Carlos Baez says it took the entire day to disassemble everything, but it is about ready to go! “It’s going to be a tight fit, I can tell you right now,” he says. “But I took a lot of pictures as we were taking everything apart, so once it arrives they should be able to put it back together pretty easily.”

Facilities and Equipment Manager Louis Cantafio is pleased the project is just about wrapped up. “The biggest challenge was getting the conveyor off, but the worst is over,” he says. “Once it gets down there, CAC has the bigger challenge in putting it back together!” CAC, however, has been fantastically helpful about project details. “I thought I would need to research shipping companies, but they have people they deal with all the time and took care of all the transport logistics; it was great.” He’s pleased that this project is wrapping up so the team can turn their attention to some other big projects: in addition to sending some other equipment down to Chile with the screener, the team is working on several maintenance and building projects right here at home. “We’re doing a lot of work on the pump houses making sure they stay in compliance, we got the new Hydremas, we had some involvement in the camp reno, and then we’re pouring bases for new pump houses and rebuilding engines for the bog renovation project. We have a lot going on!”

“But ultimately, CAC is going to be able to increase their efficiency in processing sand, and that’s a job well done for us,” Louis says. “My team always does whatever it takes to hit our targets.”

Winter update – Equipment

Our team continues to work on our winter targets for sanding and bog renovation, which in turn keeps our equipment team hustling! Says team member Ernie Waszkiewicz: “The weather can take a toll on the trucks; there’s a lot of hard starting. But that’s something we expect, so we can just keep clicking away on that as well as the rest of the routine.” In the meantime, team member Coco Mercado, who is acting as equipment supervisor while Carlos Baez is on vacation, is keeping track of service calls and making sure he and Ernie respond as quickly as possible.

The biggest ongoing project our equipment team is working on is prepping our old sand screener so we can send it down to CAC in Chile. Ernie, who is the lead on the project, has been putting in a lot of time making the necessary repairs for easy maintenance when it gets down to Chile. “We want to make sure it’s in great shape for those guys,” he says. “We’re putting on new fittings, new hose, new valves…a different style that operates with toggle switches. Basically, we’re going over it and making sure everything is right and that it’s running well. We’re cleaning it up a little and retrofitting some return lines to make things as easy as possible for the guys down there.” Getting it to Chile is going to be a project in itself: “We’re going to have to disassemble it some so we can fit it in one of those overseas boxes! It’s going to be a challenge; I think we’re going to have to get it over to the platform at the packing house and load it from there.”

Prep for reno and fall planting is coming along as well. Lots of 4-inch underdrain has been delivered and is waiting for the next phase:

And welder Fred Henschel is working on the planting cages for the new wagon. “With the old cages, we needed someone to physically hook the chain to the top; this new design should work so that the person running the machine can just hook it up themselves with the equipment,” he explains. “Then we save time and labor; no one has to sit on the trailer and wait and they can be out there on the planter.”

The cages will be ready to go well before planting. The screener project is to be done by mid-month, and our team will keep doing whatever it takes to make sure it’s ready!

From Bill’s Desk: “Whatever It Takes”

Our newest feature: the first in an occasional series of entries by CEO Bill Haines.

At Pine Island Cranberry we believe in doing what ever it takes to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. In fact, “Whatever It Takes” is one of the six core values that guide everything we do. This week three of our team demonstrated the kind of dedication it takes to put that core value into action.

The first day of harvest, our Sim Place well went out of commission when the harmonic balancer (also known as a dampener pulley) broke. It has been a dry August and September; our reservoirs are not as full as we would like. The well was crucial to flooding our Panama bogs for their first harvest. Louis Cantafio, manager of Equipment and Facilities, immediately went into action. He dispatched Ernie Waszkiewicz to remove the radiator from the engine to gain access to the balancer. In the meantime, he used every resource available to find the part. After locating one in northern New Jersey that afternoon, he made a four hour round trip to retrieve it. While waiting for Louis to return, Ernie rigged lights to make it possible to repair the engine and put everything back together after dark.

While this was going on, supervisor Matt Giberson, leader of the Blue harvest team, was successfully doing everything possible to flood the Panama bogs for picking. The team hit its target.

When Louis arrived with the balancer, he, Ernie and Matt went right to work. At 9:30 PM, I received a laconic text from Louis stating simply, “Well running”.

I am very proud of the effort, professionalism and dedication they displayed the first day of our 2013 harvest. They are perfect examples of the entire Pine Island team’s determination to do “whatever it takes” to be the best in the world at what we do. I am lucky to have such a team.