Key Technology, a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, is celebrating their 70th anniversary. Since introducing their first automated food processing system in 1948, Key has grown to become a global leader based on the principles of innovation, reliability and superior customer service. Today, Key’s digital sorters, vibratory conveyors and other automation systems define world-class performance.
“In an era marked by rapid technological change, Key’s strategy has remained remarkably consistent over our 70-year history. We attract exceptionally talented people, inspire teamwork and create close collaborative partnerships with our customers to identify and solve their unique production challenges,” said Jack Ehren, president of Key Technology. “With state-of-the-art engineering, quality manufacturing and unparalleled customer support, we’re able to deliver the most value. Everything we do illustrates our commitment to helping processors elevate their product quality while improving their efficiencies and profits.
The company was founded in 1948 as Key Equipment Company by brothers Claude and Lloyd Key and eight other investors focused on eliminating tedious, inefficient manual chores in food processing. That year, a dozen Froth Flotation Cleaners were sold. One cannery manager was moved to write: “We have recovered 100 percent more peas this season than in any other ... our pack is far superior in quality due to these cleaners taking out splits and skins as well as nightshade." And they achieved that with 18 manual workers instead of 42.
Since then, Key has continued to transform the food processing industry. In 1982, they revolutionized french fry production with their ADR automatic defect removal system, which is now used on virtually every potato strip production line around the world to cut out defects. In 1987, they invented the Iso-Flo line of vibratory conveyors, which is the industry standard today. In 2015, Key disrupted things again with their advanced VERYX family of digital sorters. Designed to operate virtually unattended, these intelligent sorting systems remove more foreign material (FM) and defects while eliminating false rejects to maximize product quality and yield.
Today, Key is a trusted partner to more than 3,100 food processors and other manufacturers in 81 countries. Core markets include fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, potatoes, nuts, snacks and meats as well as pharmaceuticals and other food and non-food products.