A Conversation with Our Partner, AFS

Recently, we sat down with a long-term partner of ours, Automated Food Systems (AFS). Based in Texas, AFS designed and built the world's first automated corndog production system.

To learn more about AFS and why they partnered with Drake to provide high-speed sausage loading options for their customers, we spoke with Chris Consalus, Vice-President of Marketing at AFS, and Robert Walser, President of AFS.

Drake: “Thank you both for making time to speak with us today. Drake and AFS have a great partnership going back many years. Why don’t you tell us about it?”

Robert: “Probably the best place to start is at the very beginning. My uncle, Glenn Walser, founded AFS back in 1976 when a customer requested that he improve their existing corn dog frying system. And it was a success. The customer was able to reduce labor costs and they were happy.”

Chris: “AFS products became prominent in the market pretty quickly when customers needed a stick inserted into a food product. Over the years, Glenn and the rest of the AFS team kept making improvements to our corn dog processing systems and they got bigger, better, and required less people. We were able to automate the infeed so that sausages were pulled into the fryer automatically.”

Drake: “That’s great that things were going well. What prompted AFS to partner with Drake?”

Robert: “Our customers kept asking us to make our corn dog systems faster and faster. By the mid-to-late 1990s, we were feeding the sausages into our top-end fryer so fast that it began to damage product. We realized that we needed a better way to quickly feed our corn dog fryers. Sorting sausages is not our specialty, but it is Drake’s. We were exposed to Drake and their expertise through another project. That introduction instigated a long and mutually beneficial partnership that has now spanned almost three decades. Our equipment worked great together. It was an instant success.”

Chris: “It’s not just your equipment, our relationship with Drake’s people has also been great. I’ve worked here since 1999 and we have no complaints. Your Drake CS-900-CD Corn Dog loader automatically feeds sausages onto our infeed conveyor at high speeds without damaging product. When we pair your equipment with our equipment, the handoff between them is seamless. In fact, when we sell our largest corn dog fryer, the PTL-2600 automated corn dog system, we state that it requires a Drake CS-900-CD Corn Dog loader for automatic processing.”

Drake: “Wow! We are glad you think so highly of us. The feeling is mutual.”

Robert: “Chris touched on this, but I would also like to add how great your people are. Every Drake technician I have encountered for over twenty-five years has been really knowledgeable, great to work with, and always willing to help. I started my career at AFS on the shop floor in 1987 and worked my way up. I know the value of a good, strong partner. You guys are always fast and responsive to any of our needs and get things done quickly. I like that. Our partnership has been a good marriage between AFS and Drake.”

For more information about AFS, click here.

Drake & AFS – Your Partners in Automating Corn Dog Processing

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