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Q&A with Lucas Bell, General Manager Spray Dynamics

Lucas Bell, General Manager of Spray Dynamics, a subsidiary of Heat and Control

Lucas Bell got his foot in the door at Spray Dynamics by sweeping shop floors back when he was in college and immediately took an interest in the engineering and manufacturing areas of the business.

Once Lucas joined Spray Dynamics as a Mechanical Engineer, he worked in project engineering for about 18 months before moving into the manufacturing manager role. After being in that role for 2 years, it opened up the opportunity for Lucas to eventually lead both the manufacturing and engineering groups, giving him a broader view of the business.

In 2011, Lucas became responsible for all operations of the Spray Dynamics product line and filed that role for six years, assuming the position of General Manager after the retirement of Spray Dynamics founder, Dave Homeyer at the end of 2016.

Being involved with multiple facets of the business during his tenure with the company, as well as proactive preparation by the group for the retirement of Dave, has allowed for a smooth transition of leadership at Spray Dynamics.

Lucas Bell has spent his career designing and manufacturing top of the line equipment systems for the food and beverage industry.

Seasoning system of Spray Dynamics

After graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering (ME) and working in the beverage brewing / packaging industry, Lucas joined Spray Dynamics in 2007. With his engineer’s attention to detail and persistent focus on effiency, streamlining processes and thinking outside the box, Lucas helped drive Spray Dynamics’ efforts towards assisting snack processors improve product appearance and quality, with a variety of cost-effective applicators for dry and wet seasonings and coatings.

Lucas helped drive Spray Dynamics’ efforts towards assisting snack processors improve product appearance and quality

The company expanded to serve bakery, cereal, and other food / non-food markets, all while developing ever-higher capacity snack coating systems.

As an industry leader, Spray Dynamics joined Heat and Control in 2011 and continues to develop equipment for in-kitchen and on machine seasoning applications under Lucas’s direction at its St. Clair, Missouri headquarters.

What market trends are driving development at Spray Dynamics?

We are continuing to see a consistent growth in the snack industry, as well as renewed growth in the pet food/litter and agricultural industries. We are also starting to see increased interest in drying applications for a variety of products that span across multiple markets

Can you give a ‘sneak peak’ of new developments on the horizon that you can speak of?

We are working on a few developments this year. The first involves improving dry powder applications and the second involves taking rotary drying technology to the next level.

One of the new developments at Spray Dynamics involves dry powder application...

During your time with Spray Dynamics what changes have you seen?

I’ve been with the company a combined tenure of 10 years now and have been involved in the growth of our business’s product line. We have doubled our staf numbers and increased annual sales three-fold. We have really streamlined some of our best business practices and manufacturing techniques and workflows over the years to aid in our ever increasing workloads.

Why should food processors’ choose Spray Dynamics equipment?

Our extensive process knowledge in the industry, as well as our high standard of quality, customer service and ability to be extremely felxible with custom solutions really gives us an edge over the competition.

We help our customers develop new processes and/or assist with optimising existing processes to improve efficiencies and save time and money.

Can one seasoning system do it all or is equipment product specific?

While we make our machines as flexible as possible for our customers to get the biggest bang for their buck, each equipment system is custom designed for the product and process at hand.

There are several systems for similar products that have an overlap of design to increase the flxibility, but base product type, bulk density, shape and rate, as well as the corresponding liquid and dry application types, rates and ratios needed fully define the correct system required for each application.

Tell us about the new ‘look’ team.

We have a very tight-knit team at Spray Dynamics which includes a management group that has the mantra to LEAD and work hard alongside our employees. We firmly believe that each employee in our company makes the facility run optimally every day and each member of the Spray Dynamics team brings something to the table.

Our strengths are relentless energy, transparency, communication and the culture to do the right thing every time. While we always push to be happy, we are never satisfied and are constantly looking for ways to improve ourselves, our product line, our processes and our relationships in the industry.

Spray Dynamics new facilities

Spray Dynamics' team at the site of the new facilities

Spray Dynamics’ new facilities will be located in Union, Missouri, USA, and will initially employ 50-60 personnel with the ability to expand to over 100 employees in the years to come.

The building will be located on a 13.32 acre green field site and the total manufacturing and office areas will be approximately 103,000 square foot (9570 sqm).

This facility will offer the latest in manufacturing capability, modern office and engineering space, product testing rooms and also allows for future site development. Completion is expected by end 2017.

More on Spray Dynamics' new facilities