Across the United States and around the world, the dairy industry remains a significant contributor to the economy.
According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the U.S. dairy sector has grown considerably over the past two years. Responsible for over a million direct jobs, the industry added approximately 60,000 new jobs, saw average wages rise by 11 percent, and increased its overall impact on the American economy by an impressive $41 billion.
Responsible for three percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), the dairy sector is growing as per capita consumption increases—and BouMatic is growing to meet the needs of producers worldwide.
BouMatic means business
The history of BouMatic is one of ongoing innovation and determination. Founded as BouMatic Milkers, Inc. in Ontario, California in 1939, the company relocated to Madison, Wisconsin 22 years later when the Dairy Equipment Company acquired it.
With annual sales reaching approximately US$80 million in 1997—60 percent from outside the United States—the company is growing to this day. Known for its automated milking systems, parlor stalls, animal and equipment hygiene products, integrated computerized management systems, and more, BouMatic continues serving the needs of both domestic and international clients.
Over the decades, BouMatic has led the way with a number of innovations benefiting customers large and small in the dairy industry. These include the electric pulsator, the can milk cooler, bulk cooling tanks, and the Opti-Stor® Heat Recovery System (aka Thermastor).
The Opti-Stor story
“Our Opti-Stor heat recovery system was pioneered by BouMatic for use in the dairy industry over four decades ago,” says a company representative. Helping customers by re-purposing heat energy and reducing utility costs, this innovative system also helps reduce carbon footprints as it transforms waste heat from cooling systems into profits. To achieve this, the double-walled heat exchanger in the Opti-Stor cools hot gas from compressors. This means they run more efficiently and provide free hot water, stored in the system until needed.
One of the advantages of the Opti-Stor Heat Recovery System is that operations of any size can use the product and realize cost savings. “Any business or organization that has a refrigeration system of scale and a need for hot water can benefit from an Opti-Stor system,” says the company. “We have units that accept anywhere from one to six circuits, so even a small convenience store or restaurant can see the benefit. Some customers have experienced up to a 65 percent decrease in water heating costs, with a return on investment in less than two years.”
Along with the Opti-Stor, BouMatic manufactures other state-of-the-art cooling and heat recovery systems. These include the Opti-Kool™ Milk Cooler, Glacier Guard™, ChillGuard™, OptiFlo™ CF, and GlacierChill™, along with BouMatic Plate Coolers and Dari-Kool® Falling Film Chillers.
On the heat recovery side, BouMatic offers the Glacier Opti-Stor heat recovery in a variety of models, which are used in combination with each other to fit the scale of the installation.
The company’s main model—the original Opti-Stor TSII—doesn’t use any electricity. A true heat recovery unit, it operates by running hot refrigerant lines from a cooling system through the plates of the Opti-Stor tank. This, in turn, transfers the heat energy to the tank of water, heating the water for free.
“This reduces the heat load of the refrigeration cooling system as well, saving the business both energy and wear and tear on the refrigeration equipment,” says the company. It also reduces the time and energy it will take to fully heat the water in a water heater if desired.
“We also offer a line of Opti-Stor TS-III tanks, which include a supplemental electric heating element. These units will also continue to heat water to the desired use temperature in addition to the heat recovery capacity,” says the company.
Although BouMatic sells dairy equipment through a dealer network, Glacier Opti-Stor products can be purchased directly from the company. Interested parties can also be connected via BouMatic to one of its Opti-Stor distributors who sell, design systems, and install Opti-Stor products. The company handles a line of over 12 specific tanks, as well as repair parts and accessories.
Originally designed for dairy use, heat transfer technology came about with the need to relocate excess heat from large milk cooling refrigeration systems, and it was repurposed to heat water in a heat recovery tank, which looks like a “big blue water heater.” Dairies could then use this partially heated, free hot water for cleaning tasks. Alternatively, they could continue to heat the partially heated water to the required temperature in a water heater for equipment cleaning, showers, and laundry purposes and still realize cost savings.
“The resulting heat transfer subsequently reduces run-times, wear and tear, and energy consumption on the cooling system hardware, reducing operational expenses,” says BouMatic. “Since this dairy innovation decades ago, our heat recovery base has expanded to restaurants, hospitality, manufacturing, big-box stores, and other large industries worldwide.”
Built to last
All BouMatic equipment is designed, engineered, and manufactured to provide years of worry-free, reliable operation. “We put the components and sub-assemblies through vigorous pressure and quality tests at several stages of production to ensure optimal quality of the final product,” says a spokesperson. “Tanks carry a five-year warranty, and we have very few warranty claims made on our tanks. We find most tanks last over 10 years in the field. As with any water heater, soft water will prolong the life of an Opti-Stor as well.”
Like other sectors today, ongoing research and development is vital to the success of the many dairy operators worldwide. In the case of BouMatic’s Opti-Stor heat recovery system, the company has built upon the same tried-and-trusted design and manufacturing process it has used for decades.
Tanks are manufactured in-house by experienced BouMatic employees, and individually produced at the company’s factory in Madison, Wisconsin. Equipment and many components are sourced from long-time American suppliers. “Many staff are the same people who have manufactured these tanks in Madison for years, making Opti-Stor very much a ‘Made in the USA’ product,” says the company.
Shaping the industry
Although BouMatic has been one of the world’s best-known manufacturers in the dairy industry sector for nearly 85 years, the company still vigorously participates in several trade shows per year. On the dairy side, BouMatic is active in World Dairy Expo, held in Madison, Wisconsin every October. The company also participates in World Ag Expo in Tulare, California each February, and several other events with its dairy dealers each year.
On the Glacier Opti-Stor side, BouMatic takes part in the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago, Illinois in the spring, and has attended the National Grocers Association show in Las Vegas, Nevada as well.
“We are always looking for additional markets and opportunities to showcase Glacier Opti-Stor,” says the company. “Our quality product continues to thrive in a more cost-conscious, energy-conscious, and technology-aware world than ever before. Our goal is that through awareness of Opti-Stor heat recovery, we can explore additional markets and companies who can benefit from our Opti-Stor product.”