This article was written by Groz-Beckert and profiles one of its interesting customers in the USA.
The secret to their success is evident as soon as you walk into the building. Nestled among the palms of Southern California, you will not find this is a typical textile operation. This is a gourmet knitting mill. No t-shirts or sweaters here. The same machinery used in the production of apparel has been adapted to the food industry.
Jif-Pak Manufacturing in Vista, California has become one of the leaders in the knitted netting and casings for meat and poultry products. Food companies use these knitted casings to give their meats or poultry products unique flavours together with a distinctive appearance. Started in 1990, Jif-Pak has developed this seaside location into a global supplier for the food industry.
Jif-Pak operates from a 75,000 square foot building producing innovative nettings and casings for some of the largest processed meats manufacturers in the world.
The company has developed a process in which the knitted casings are impregnated with smoke as well as other scents and flavors that permeate the product they wrap. From hardwood, cherry to hickory, these are only some of the smoke flavours available. Visitors can also pick up the smell of honey, garlic, and pineapple and this is just a sampling of the flavors, which can be added to the knitted casing. The choices are said to be endless.
Jif-Pak produces netting and casing in much the same way apparel is manufactured. The main difference is the regulations from government agencies that oversee food production. Many of the oils, chemicals and processes used in apparel production are not compatible in the food industry. This requires a degree of expertise and engineering that departs from the typical jersey and rib mill. Being a knitting mill charged with producing food grade products is no small task and no small investment.
Jif-Pak has a technical department that can handle almost any request for shape, colour, flavour, and pattern and produce a product, which will be attractive as well as fragrant. The visual appeal and fresh cured aroma draws the customer in. This is the one of the market advantages Jif-Pak enjoys.
This mill is never satisfied with the products they produce. Every day, new ideas from customers as well as engineers are being investigated to see if a new product is just around the corner. Maintaining a successful worldwide distribution network requires consistent quality and constant advances in current and new products for the market.
While the apparel industry is withdrawing and shifting production capacity from the USA in many sectors, the production of technical and industrial textiles has a promising future also outside the low-wage countries. With its innovative strength, Jif-Pak is a fine example here. Groz-Beckert is supporting the company with high-quality knitting machine needles and system components as well as with expert consulting as to optimal use of the needles.
Author: Billy Hunter