(Aug. 8) LAKE CITY, Fla. — Dick Mills has used packing line equipment most of his life. In fact, he became so familiar with it as a grower, he decided he could build it himself.

This summer his company, DNL Produce Systems Inc., introduced its latest piece of packing line equipment: a machine that can glue wax boxes for peppers and cucumbers.

“Nobody has been able to do that,” Mills said of the boxes, which are traditionally stapled. “But we can.”

PROTOTYPE TESTED

Mills said a prototype of the box machine was recently tested at Pacific Collier Fresh Co., Immokalee, with good results.

“They liked getting away from the staples so they wouldn’t damage the product,” he said. “Also it reduced insurance costs because there was no chance of injury from the staples.”

Mills said he has had interest from some of the larger paper manufacturers who want to sell the machine to their customers. DNL is expected to begin full production of the machine by Oct. 15.

TRIPLE THE SPACE

Mills said the company experienced its biggest growth when it moved in January from its original starting place in Boca Raton, to a newly constructed, 17,000-square-foot facility in Lake City. Mills said he had to make the move to keep up with his customers.

“This is triple the space of our old facility,” he said. “We wanted to be closer to our customers. Our customer base is expanding out of the south Florida area and into places like Georgia and the Carolinas.”

ALL IN ONE PLACE

In addition to allowing him to be closer to his customers, Mills said, the facility allows his company the ability to manufacture, assemble and run the machines it makes without leaving the building.

“The customers can see the machine set up and running prior to getting it delivered,” he said.

DNL has been expanding its customer line. Mills said customers have come from as far away as New York, Ohio, Mississippi and Alabama.

For more information, call DNL at (386) 755-9930.