Beacon II Keeps Ice Cream in Premium Condition

J&S Dairy, located in Traverse City, Michigan, began as a small wholesale dairy distributor in 1973. Company owners Jim and Sonya Johns leased space in a local warehouse to keep a variety of dairy products, including cheese, eggs, milk and ice cream, before the products were shipped to major grocery stores throughout Michigan.

However, when J&S expanded its company to include premium ice creams, such as Ben & Jerry’s, Edy’s, Homemade and Ashby Sterling, the Johns made the decision to build their own freezer warehouse.

To complete this project, J&S called on Dan Walters, owner of Grand Traverse Diesel Service, Inc. Walters had been servicing J&S’s Thermo King refrigeration trucks for more than 20 years. Walters was also a licensed mechanical contractor, so selecting him to build the new facility seemed an obvious choice.

Walters then contacted John Semeyn, owner of Midwest Refrigeration, who in turn called on Bohn sales representative, Ken Applegate.

The building was built in four sections, including an office space, a cooler (for milk and other non-frozen products), a 40 x 40-foot warehouse for storage and a 40 x 60-foot freezer. Walters suggested building the warehouse so that if J&S Dairy wanted to expand (in about three years or so, they estimated), it could easily be converted into freezer space.

Walters installed four Bohn 22-horsepower units in the freezer. Walters, Semeyn and Applegate selected Bohn because of its reliability and superior quality. “When it came to choosing equipment, we chose Bohn,” said Walters. “This facility holds premium-quality ice cream, and so we needed a premium-quality freezer. We did not want to cut corners. We looked at other, less expensive equipment, but we realized we needed quality.”

Bohn equipment also was selected because of its ability to keep the freezer at a constant temperature of -25°F. “With ice cream, it’s critical to maintain a temperature of -25°F to prevent it from melting,” said Applegate. “The Bohn and Beacon II systems are doing that fantastically.” At J&S, the Bohn systems must work extra hard to maintain this temperature, because freezer doors are constantly being opened to load the ice cream onto any one of the company’s 12 trucks.

“The constant opening of the freezer doors and the air distribution associated with that can be very taxing on the equipment,” said Applegate. “J&S needed some-thing dependable, and got it.” Although Jim and Sonya expected to turn the warehouse into freezer space in approximately three years, their business grew faster than they had expected. Nine months after the warehouse was built, Walters converted it into freezer space. He installed two additional 22-horse-power Bohn units along with the Beacon II system, and set the temperatures at -25°F.

Applegate recommended the Beacon II because it provides cost and energy savings, as well as convenience. The Beacon II Smart Controller’s easy-to-read LED display and control pad could be easily installed in the Johns’ office, which allows them to read and adjust the temperature of the box without leaving their office. With the modem communication option, Beacon systems can even be monitored and adjusted from off-site.

Beacon’s Smart Defrost system provides cost efficiency by defrosting the system on an as needed basis only, as opposed to a set defrost schedule found in a conventional control system.

“The Beacon II allows Sonya and Jim to monitor the box temperature, check the number and time of defrosts, and adjust the superheat readings all by touching a button,” said Semeyn. “Anything they want to know about that system is at their fingertips.”

The Beacon Smart Controller system also will alert the Johns to any malfunctions so they can immediately call someone to fix the problems.

Walters admits he was a little apprehensive about installing the Beacon II system since he hadn’t done so before. However, he found it to be very easy. “It was a piece of cake,” said Walters. “The installation of the equipment was the easiest thing about this job.”

Jim and Sonya Johns are extremely satisfied with their Bohn and Beacon II systems. In fact, they plan to have their four original units retrofitted to the Beacon II systems soon.

“They [the Bohn and Beacon II systems] are awesome,” said Sonya Johns. “When you’re in the ice cream business, you know how important it is to be able to rely on your refrigeration system. Now, we never have to worry about our ice cream getting soft. Ice cream should be delivered to the grocery store hard as a rock. With Bohn and Beacon II, we know it will be.”