SAGE Center gets first donations

Paul Barnhill of Meritech, Golden, Colo., instructs Dave Carlson of Portland about using the Clean Tech 500 EZ hand-washing system at the Northwest Food Manufacturing & Packaging Expo in Portland on Monday.

PORTLAND — Members of the SAGE Center’s planning committee have obtained offers of the first donations for the agricultural visitor attraction.

Six committee members visited the Northwest Food Manufacturing & Packaging Expo and Conference on Monday in Portland. They spent more than half a day visiting vendors at the trade show. The majority of the booths and exhibits offered products and services related directly to the food manufacturing and packaging industry.

Key Technology of Walla Walla, Wash., was among the vendors that displayed equipment in the Oregon Convention Center.

“This is one of our more important shows,” said Randy Unterseher, senior director of marketing. “It’s the largest regional show in the United States for this kind of equipment.”

Unterseher and another half-dozen Key Technology employees visited with passers-by as they stopped to admire the two large stainless-steel machines the company promoted.

One was an optical sorter that this year features remote connectivity. Unterseher explained that means company technicians can troubleshoot equipment problems online instead of requiring a service call.

“We’re leveraging the technology of the Internet to help our customers optimize their production,” he said.

Also on display was a “smart shaker” a device built to convey products without using belts or other rotating devices. Unterseher said the Horizon conveying machine “has true horizontal motion,” which he demonstrated by placing a boxed deck of cards and a few poker chips on the shaker table. They scooted from one end to the other as the machine slid them forward without vibration.

Unterseher said the value of Key Technology’s conveying table is it moves products from one place to another without shaking off seasonings or other coatings.

Other Key Technology employees said the company has several display models of food processing equipment it could donate to the SAGE Center.

Committee member Kathy Neal also obtained an offer of a donation of a child-sized hand-washer from employees of Meritech of Golden, Colo.

Neal said a Meritech salesman volunteered to demonstrate the company’s hand-washer, which sprays soap and a fine mist of water over hands placed in two chutes.

“He picked up on the fact that we are focusing on educating children and adults, and immediately offered to donate a child- sized hand-cleaning station to the facility,” she said.

Excavation for the Sustainable AGriculture and Energy Center nearly is complete along Interstate 84 east of Boardman. The Port of Morrow expects to advertise for bids this spring and to begin construction this summer on the 20,000-square-foot structure.

When completed, it will be a visitor center for all ages that will illustrate agriculture, food processing and energy production at the Port of Morrow and surrounding area.

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