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The Keebler elves' magic secret.

For 100 years, Thomas L. Green & Co. has built the machinery that makes cookies, crackers and chips.

Cookies, crackers, chips, brownies and toaster pastries can disappear quickly. But the machines that make them seem to last forever.

Thomas L. Green & Co. Inc., located near downtown Indianapolis, has been making and installing snack-food automatic-production-line equipment since 1893. "Building the highest quality equipment you can" is the business' mission, says Todd Lugar, the company's director of business development and the fourth generation Lugar in the business. A testimonial of that quality can be found in Mexico, where a 1912 basic spindle mixer is still in daily use.

A list of some Green equipment--such as dough mixers, dough rolling and cutting machines, ovens, cooling conveyors and packing tables--gives a simplified view of snack-food production processes. Another piece, the dough laminator, reveals a basic difference between cracker and cookie making: A dough laminator folds cracker dough over--three, six or even eight times--because layering provides texture (cookies are not laminated).

Such equipment can produce thousands of pounds of food products per hour. Can you imagine ovens longer than 300 feet? Green & Co. makes them.

An inside joke at Green & Co. says the company has never built the same machine twice. That may be close to true--the firm works closely with customers in designing equipment to fill both production and space requirements. An extreme example of individual design happened in Hong Kong, where ground space is difficult to come by. There, Green installed a five-story operation; baking ingredients start on the fifth floor, and the product moves downward during the various processing steps.

Open to new product ideas, Green designers helped develop the toaster-pastry process in the 1960s. And the company was involved in the beginning of automated pizza-production lines.

In Bluffton, Keebler produces baked and fried snacks--Pizzerias, Tato Skins and pretzels--using Green equipment. Keebler's Kurt McClellan says the company is happy with the machinery, some of which was made in the late 1960s.

With Green machinery, the Richmond Baking Co. makes crackers and cracker meal. The eastern Indiana company has cracker-forming equipment dating back to the '30s, and the oldest mixer is from the '20s.

Specific Richmond Baking Co. products include Golden Harvest graham crackers (available at General Nutrition Centers), and coatings for Holly Farms chicken and shrimp and Wendy's fish sandwiches.

There are just a few companies in the world that make a complete line of commercial snack-food production equipment, and Green & Co. is the only one owned and operated in the U.S. Most Green customers are in the Western Hemisphere; places where the company has made sales include the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, the Caribbean Islands, Venezuela and Japan.
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Title Annotation:Thomas L. Green and Company Inc.'s food processing equipment
Author:Keaton, Joanne
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Jun 1, 1993
Previous Article:Schoop's Hamburgers: "best burger in Munster" is a growing franchise.
Next Article:A lot of King Kong jokes.

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