Metal detectors made by West Milwaukee-based Advanced Detection Systems (ADS) are used in manufacturing and processing facilities across the nation.
ADS detectors are used in food processing facilities ranging from grain silos and grinding facilities to meat processing plants and facilities that make packaged food. They’re also used in mines and aggregate processing facilities, as well as plastic injection molders who regrind their own scrap plastic.
Food-related production makes up more than 50 percent of the company’s sales, said David Smith, sales manager for ADS.
“Today the big issue is with food safety,” he said. “A lot of that is science driven, but (contamination) falls into the same category and the same people in the plant are responsible for it.”
Consolidation within the grocery industry has helped drive demand for food safety products, and large national chains demand that their suppliers use them, Smith said.
“The product will be passed through a metal detector if a national retailer demands it,” he said.
Patricia Fricano, materials manager with Dings Co. Magnetic Group and Dynamics Group, agreed. The Dings Co. companies and ADS are portfolio companies of Waukesha-based Venturedyne Ltd.
“Processors who cater to the McDonald’s, the Costcos, the Trader Joe’s and the Whole Foods of the world (will use metal detectors),” Fricano said.
For food-related customers, ADS systems are designed and calibrated to detect the smallest piece of metal and any miniscule metal shaving or filing. But for its mining and aggregate customers, ADS’ detectors are calibrated to find much larger pieces of metal, such as a bolt or wrench. The mining and aggregate market makes up about 40 percent of the company’s sales.
“The key in mining is ‘what is going to cause me problems?'” Fricano said. “Damaging equipment downstream is expensive and time consuming.”
The rest of the company’s sales are to plastic injection molders looking to minimize metal content in scrap plastic that has been reground for future use.
ADS has eight full-time workers – about three in assembly, two and one-half in engineering, and another two to three in management. It has access to a much larger workforce because it is one of the Venturedyne companies, which share a 100,000- square-foot facility at 4740 W. Electric Ave.
The three companies have about 75 employees together, with almost 50 working on the manufacturing floor, and share production areas. Fabrication, welding and machining are done in common areas.
Each metal detector is built to order, allowing ADS to customize to each customer’s needs.
Because of the increasing demand for metal detection in the food industry, ADS has seen a 20-percent revenue increase this year, Smith said. Orders from food-related customers rose 30 to 35 percent, while the mining side remained relatively flat.
“The growth on the mining and aggregate side came in 2005 and 2006,” he said. “When we look five years out, we forecast our growth on the food side.”
ADS is hoping for a 30- percent sales increase in 2009, despite sluggish economic conditions. n
Advanced Detection Systems Inc.
Address: 4740 W. Electric Ave., West Milwaukee
Industry: Metal Detection for food processing, mining and plastic regrind industries
Employees: Eight full-time, access to a pool of 75
Revenue growth: 20 percent for 2008
Web site: www.adsdetection.com