Brenton Engineering was founded in downtown Carlos in 1987. Initially there was an idea for a new product: a cable-car lift that could be used on steep lakeshore banks. However, the company was soon asked to manufacture a custom packaging machine. Before long orders for specialty machines began to come in, thus setting the course for the company's future.
Brenton Engineering soon outgrew its downtown location, and in 1991 moved to a 20,0000-square-foot building at its present location on County Road 13, just east of Carlos Corners. Over the years, the business was sold a couple of times and the building was also added on to several times. In 1998, Pro Mach, the company's current owner, purchased Brenton. Pro Mach, a leading provider of integrated packaging products and solutions, is made up of 10 different divisions throughout the United States.
Brenton Engineering specializes in what is know as "end-of-line packaging" - or in other words, the final packaging before a product is shipped. Using the example of a product such as bottled water, Brenton can design and build a machine to wrap already-filled bottles in plastic shrink-wrap, and a machine to stack those cases on a pallet and another machine to wrap them with stretch wrap, making the bottles ready for shipping.
In addition to end-of-line packaging machines, Brenton also builds robots that can be used for case packing, palletizing, material handling and painting. Brenton is well know as being able to find solutions to tough problems that other companies may have failed at, such as integrating several existing machines.
The ability to take several existing machines (even if they aren't made by Brenton) and integrate them to work as a unit is one capability that makes Brenton unique and differentiates us from a lot of our competitors. Brenton can also retrofit older machines to help them meet the current needs of the companies that own them.
Brenton sets itself apart in being able to complete most machines fairly quickly - usually within about six months of getting the order. During that time, employees design the entire machine, build most of the parts in the company's machine shop, assemble the parts and test the final machine. In addition, we also write instruction manuals, and help customers with start-up and training.
Growth and economy
One of the ways Brenton has stayed healthy over the years is by becoming more diversified in the products it offers. Although Brenton began with all custom products, in the past 10 years it has added a few standard products. These have included the Robocaser (a small, low-cost, case packer), Currie by Brenton palletizers, and the Orion stretch wrapper. However, we still specialize in custom machines.
One of Brenton's most significant expansions occurred in 2007 when it doubled its size by adding an additional 72,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 20,000 square feet of new office space.
With its additional office space, Brenton has also taken on the role of being the business center for all the Pro Mach end-of-line companies.
Plans for the company's future include looking at new ways to approach green initiatives and making machines more economical to run. Additionally, Brenton has recently developed new products, such as the small, slower speed BantamPro ELS case packer, to help smaller companies economically upgrade their hand pack operations.
Locally, Brenton also has a big influence, as it employs over 175 people who live within a 50-60 mile radius of the Alexandria/Carlos area. Brenton has a low job turnover, with the average employee having been with the company for about 12 years.
Employees have a wide range of specialties, including sales, marketing, support, designing, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, fabrication and assembly.
History of Innovations
- 1987- Brenton Smith founds Brenton in Carlos.
- 1988 - Case packer product line.
- 1994 - Automatic magazine loader.
- 1997 -Industry First All Servo Case Packer.
- 2000 - Shrink wrapper product line.
- 2000 - Robotics line developed and experienced robotics team hired for robotic packaging applications, including palletizing systems.
- 2002 - Custom robotic automation line for assembling doors and windows.
- 2005 - Acquired Robocaser case packer.
- 2006 - Currie by Brenton conventional palletizing and material handling machinery acquired from Currie Machinery Company
- 2007 - Building expansion to provide 72,000 additional square feet of manufacturing space and 20,000 square feet of new office space
- 2008 - Began manufacturing Orion stretch wrapper in Alexandria facility
- 2009 - Added powder-coat facility.