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Microwave Defrosting Project, Electronic Weigh Scale, Digital Batching System, Ladies Dressing Room, Sub Station Blow up, Taste Testing Product, and MORE.

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Frozen Beef Project

Notes from Bob Karn September 19 2023

JMS has been known for the excellent quality of its products. Not so well known is that the company was a great innovator with equipment and infrastructure to help reduce costs and improve quality and productivity. For example: Early in 1971, JMS was importing frozen beef from Australia. Defrosting it was time consuming and expensive. According to Fred jr., "We can import frozen beef from Australia and land it at our back door for less cost than we can get a cow from Elmira!". That started a search for better equipment that resulted in Dave Schneider & I going on a trip to the Raytheon factory in Boston. We were to check out their 75kw (75,000 watts, average household microwave aprox. 125 watts) microwave defrosting hardware. The Raytheon guys laid out the “red carpet” for us and took us to a high-class restaurant in Boston ( Pier Four Restaurant) but half-way through our working dinner, a table behind us was being served a flaming dessert. (Cherries Jublee) The waiter spilled some of it on Dave catching him on fire! All of the waiters were about 5 feet tall and Dave towered over them as they were trying to put him out. The entire restaurant went quiet and Dave just stood there on fire. That image still makes me laugh all these years later. JMS did buy a high-powered microwave unit for that frozen beef.

This "N" That at JMS

Notes from Bob Karn October 3 2023

Main Floor Ladies Change Room

Good companies have good people working there. JMS was no exception. In the late "60"s, early "70"s our world was a different place ! For example, I was trying to up-date the electrical system within the plant as more equipment was arriving fairly often. I was following the route of a conduit trying to find out where it went and what it was feeding. I saw that the conduit entered the women's locker room, Well, Mable Bowman, a strong- willed person was the matron in the late "60"s. She saw me looking up at the ceiling and wondered what I was doing. So far, normal stuff. Then it happened; Mable said "I will take you in there". "Come with me" and "man coming". It was shift change-over time, the dressing room was full and in I went. No one screamed at me, no one rushed to cover up but I got roasted in about 3 seconds flat! I was totaled out in a panic. To be honest, I saw only what any one might see at a beach today. I tried to keep this misadventure quiet but no joy. I had many relatives and friends from our church working at JMS. That story made the rounds and every one had a good laugh but at my expense.

The Forth Floor, Roast and Jellied Meats

The cook room for rolled ribs was up stairs and I didn't have any real reason to go there for electrical work. Walter Wolf, a fellow member of my church knew me and on the rare time I went into that area of the plant, Walter insisted that I try the latest batch of ribs. Wow, just an awesome taste. I made a point of trying to find electrical work in the cook room!.

Maintenance Working Weekends

The maintenance crew had a lot of weekend work as the equipment was either running or being cleaned. As a courtesy to the men on maintenance, the Saturday noon meal was provided free. There was an old pipe-fitter who was a former navy cook. He would come in, work for an hour or so then start the meal preparation. Maintenance was served awesome meals; the meat selection was never an issue. Many Saturdays, Norm would come in to ask if the meals were okay and would often thank every one for taking time out of their week end for the company.

Honesty was genuine and taken for granted.

Your word was your bond. One Saturday late, we needed an electrical part so I called a MacDonald Electric guy. He said come to the back shipping door. He let us in and said "take what you need, pull the door shut when you leave and we will settle up the paper work on Monday". He went back to his party and we went back to JMS to finish the job. Impossible now but fairly common back then.

Burns Meats

Burns maintenance would often call our maintenance stock room looking for a burnt-out motor replacement or whatever they needed at the time. We always helped out and said as often as not "when your done, return it or replace it".
JMS took new employees on a "probationer's tour" of the plant if you stayed working for more than three months, I got to know Herb a little and he showed us newbies the production machinery. A few months later I was up near a smoke house and Herb just happened to be there. "Hey Bob, come here". He asked the operators if any smoke house was ready. He opened a door, smoke poured out, Herb reached in with his long and very sharp knife and cut off a piece of ring bologna. I never tasted any bologna better than a freshly smoked one. It never tastes that good again. The smoke house operators gave Herb a hard time joking with him. It was an incredible work environment that is so rare today.

New Equipment

JMS was adding so much machinery due to such rapid growth that the plant's infra-structure was being stretched thin. I designed and asked Roberts Electric to install a new electrical sub station system for the new office tower. The final day arrived to energize the new equipment. I asked the Roberts foreman if every thing was ready. "Yes". We went to the yard 13kv (13,800 Volts) sub station between the plant and the powerhouse. It was a crowd, we had an Ontario Hydro engineering person, the local electrical inspector, Walter Fedy was represented by their electrical engineer, Jimmy Maurer our electrical foremen and I think Bud Steinberg plant engineering supervisor and I. Jimmy asked "Are we all clear?. The Roberts guy said "yes" and Jimmy closed the high voltage switch to energize the system. There was a small explosion where we were standing and the entire plant went silent! It was the worst of a sinking feeling as the noise from the plant and powerhouse went from loud to dead quiet in about five seconds. Most every official person left the scene quietly and quickly. A brief check of the electrical work just completed revealed that a set of grounding cables (used for safety when working inside a high voltage cabinet) were left connected to high voltage terminals. There was nothing left of these heavy cables but the interior of the cabinet was plated a beautiful copper colour. It was an amazing scene. Jimmy Maurer said "Well that didn't work, lets replace the fuses and try again!. Breath-taking in every way. JMS management did not ask who to blame but thanked mostly Jimmy and I to a lesser extent for getting the plant up and running so quickly. Another example of an awesome senior management team.

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Bologna Packaging

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One of the new slicers Mid 1970's

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Guess! the product&$63; Photo by Quebec TV.

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Anco Bacon Slicer

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Anco slicer with new control system.

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Loaf being loaded in. Flippers visible.

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Mean Looking Anco Blade.

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Slicer. Photo by Quebec TV.

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Weight Profile, Computer generated and printed on dot matrix printer, well before desktop computers.

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Oscilloscope I used to capture the package weight profile. Approx ½ second per package.

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Meatloaf Moulds. Photo by Quebec TV.

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IBM System 7 computer in 1971. Cell phones today have much more power.

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Slicing Project

Notes from Bob Karn September 19 2023

This project idea came from someone in production and was endorsed by management in 1971. They were looking at wastage in the huge volumes of sliced meat being produced. The actual weight of the package must be at or above the weight stamped on the package. The over weights averaged ¼ ounce or more per package. One- quarter of an ounce times the number of packages is a huge quantity of meat and lost profit. We had to create a way to weigh each group of slices very fast (roughly every ½ second) followed by a correction to how fast the slicer was feeding the meat loaf through the slicer blade. That description was the easy part. I selected the hardware to accomplish this control problem to be a high-speed computer located in a room in the office. The technique was called “direct digital control” and was very rare in any industry and no-where in the meat industry. The project pushed the limits of the computers of the day. It was approaching viability and was considered a success but not yet practical at the time. The JMS “Slicing Project” write-up was published in the ISA 1973 book: “Instrumentation in the Food & Beverage Industry” from a paper I gave in Montreal. An IBM document, “The Slice is Right” article written by IBM appeared in “Data Processor” 1973, Volume 3. This effort was typical of the behind the scenes work intended to help improve production at JMS.

Memories from Bob Karn Electrical Engineering Department

West Block Extension

Notes from Bob Karn September 19 2023

The JMS management determined that an expansion to production was needed and could not find an off-premises location that worked; hence the West Block Extension project was started. We hired a consultant for the building design and construction. The JMS Plant Engineering was tasked with providing state-of-the-art processing and supporting production equipment. We selected new wiener and bologna making and packaging equipment. A spice blending room was also included. The centre-piece to provide the volumes needed was the automatic batching system. At the time, it was the first in North America. It consisted of four large silos for lean ground beef, fat, lean ground pork and rework. The third floor had the intake for the silos. Each silo had a pump at the bottom with a pipe leading into a blender. Everything was on loadcells to measure weights. Spices and water were added by hand but everything else was automatic. The system was operated from a stainless-steel desk full of pushbuttons and timers, etc. Such an innovative project had a few hiccups on start-up. The first load of ground beef had a few bone fragments in it. The beef silo pump jammed at which point we learned that a jammed pump was not in our plans. We had to take the side plate off the pump which allowed the entire silo full of meat to flow out onto the floor. We then learned what's involved with shoveling a few thousand pounds of beef into carts. Heck & darn! This was a leading edge facility that was completely designed by JMS.

Memories from Bob Karn Electrical Engineering Department

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