Matt Daley, GEA Farm Technologies president
Matt Daley, GEA Farm Technologies president

GALESVILLE, Wis. – Every morning at 6, the manufacturing crew at GEA Farm Technologies in Galesville gathers on the shop floor for a discussion about the agenda and any challenges or ideas.

The discussion will now include the manufacturing of two types of rotary parlors, which are starting to be made in the Galesville plant.
The GEA T8800 and T8900 rotary parlors were previously manufactured in New Zealand and shipped to the United States and Canada. The change is in response to the growing demand for rotary milking systems and logistics in shipping.
Matt Daley, the North American president of GEA Farm Technologies, said it solidifies the future of rotary manufacturing in North America for the global company.
“It makes a lot of sense for us to make this move at this time,” Daley said. “It shows our customers that we’re committed to the U.S. and Canadian dairy industry.”
The first stage of this manufacturing change includes building parlors for North American dairy farms.
“Our production volume depends on the year and the milk price,” Daley said. “But the general idea is to get up to speed here in the next 12 months and then manufacture for other markets that are in close proximity to the U.S. in this facility as well.”
The rotary parlor designs were originally made for New Zealand and German production lines with metric materials. The engineering team in Galesville reviewed every aspect of the parlors between engineering and manufacturing and then evaluated how they could keep the form, fit and function of the parlors using nonmetric materials.
Engineer Keith Nedegaard said it is part of the company’s design anywhere, build anywhere initiative.
“As we move manufacturing over here, we don’t have access to metric materials at least not without some significant cost,” Nedegaard said. “It will be the same product with the same parts, but they come from different raw material sources.”
Collaboration between the New Zealand, Germany and Galesville teams has made the planning process smoother, Nedegaard said.
Disruptions in overseas shipping and rising freight costs had GEA looking for a more viable way to meet the needs of American dairy farmers. Daley said the goods can take months to get from New Zealand to the United States.
“Manufacturing in China or New Zealand and shipping it to the U.S. doesn’t make sense economically,” Daley said. “Then, of course, the freight to ship things in a container from New Zealand to the U.S. is substantial; we’ve got $20-$50 million worth of product en route from one place to the next. We knew we could make smart changes that would deliver a high-quality product to our customers much faster.”
Preparations at the Galesville site included making space available for equipment that will be used in the manufacturing of the rotary parlors. Daley said it is a project worth investing in.
“Rotaries are our future, along with the robotic business, so we have to make a significant investment like we have with the robots for the rotary parlor manufacturing,” Daley said. “We really feel strongly not only in the work ethic of the people employed here but also in the technology that we are investing in this facility so that we will be ready for the future.”
The Galesville site has been manufacturing GEA products for over five decades. The average employee has 14 years of experience. The site hosts training for dealers, service technicians and milk quality staff with their in-house parlor and robotic training facilities and test lab.
When building parlors, raw materials are brought into the facility on a conveyor and cut to length. Then, they are sent to be notched, welded and galvanized. A bigger machine will be used to bend the pipeline that creates the rotary parlors. The team is also discussing the possibility of preassembly on new parlors to make sure everything fits together properly before installation on a farm.
“We’re clearing out space and optimizing our processes in order to accomplish something that we haven’t done here before,” Daley said. “The first rotary that is fully finished in this facility will come off the line Sept. 1.”