Smart Machine Technologies Inc

Smart, tailored manufacturing solutions
Written by: 
Molly Shaw
Produced by: 
Eric Colby

Virginia-based Smart Machine Technologies Inc. and division SMT Food and Beverage Systems are world-class leaders in beer microbreweries, contract manufacturing of build-to-print equipment and custom-made machinery. SMT’s highly tenured team, including engineers and machinists, deploys cutting-edge technology to design, fabricate and manufacturing components for a variety of industries from brewing and beverage to energy, mining, paper, recycling, transportation, waste and many more.

SMT conceptualizes, designs, engineers, manufactures and installs solutions from its 100,000-square-foot facility in Martinsville, Virginia. The company launched in 1979, building customized machinery for the textile and furniture sector.

“We’ve been in business in excess of 35 years,” shares Glen Moore, now president of SMT. “For years the company had considerable stake in equipment used in textile manufacturing, but when that market started to go off shore, things changed.”

Investing in longevity

SMT is a survivor in an area that has suffered tremendously from industry going overseas in recent years. “Rather than fade away, we evolved,” says Moore. “Everybody eats, so we began focusing on the food and beverage industry, building tanks and conveyors, and repairing pasteurizers.”

Moore says SMT added the staff, including himself, upgraded equipment and made the investment to come online in the food and beverage equipment world. “I joined SMT in 2012 because my background is in sanitary systems integration and machine building,” he notes.

Moore was promoted from director of engineering to president in August 2014. Ryan Kurlfink, brewery solutions director and award-winning brew master, is another important addition to SMT’s talented line up. As is Fred Castania, senior engineer, specializing in brewery design with extensive experience in macrobreweries as well as small regional operations.

“John Long, SMT’s senior designer, comes from a pharmaceutical background and he brings sanitary expertise, documentation and discipline experience,” notes Moore. “Scot Garrison, a home brewer and well-experienced mechanical engineer heads up the manufacturing operation.”

Business brewing in new markets

With a heavy investment in the appropriate people to get the job done, SMT has quickly evolved into building world-class brewery systems from the small startup craft brewery, to the multi-national household name. “2014 was a record-breaking year for SMT in an area where success is hard fought and elusive,” measures Moore. “We have done this by focusing on our customers and ensuring their success,”

“We still take on custom and special projects, but now SMT leans more toward contract manufacturing and complete microbrewery building,” adds Moore. From small breweries in Portland, Maine, to the largest names in the business, SMT takes care of nearly every step in the setup-production process.

“A few examples are Bombshell Beer in North Carolina, and Newburyport Beer in Massachusetts,” notes Moore. “Starting with an empty facility, we’ll come in and take a look at the layout and we can work with the selected architect or provide one. SMT provides the complete package, all of the grain mills, augers and mashers, tanks and various processing vessels, kettle whirlpools –whatever it takes to brew.”

“The finish product runs through a heat exchanger and sanitary piping and then goes into fermenting vessels –we do all of this as well,” adds Moore. “All of the vessels are ‘Made in USA,’ here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Martinsville.”

“SMT even invites customers to come to our site to see the system before we ship it,” continues Moore. “We offer a trial or ‘water’ brew to simulate right in our facility. Then we tag, disassemble and send the system to the site. We send our brew master to help with the first batch and guide the customer every step of the way.”

Since launching this arm of the company Moore says business is figuratively brewing over. “SMT is a force east of the Mississippi in building microbreweries and performing upgrades and change outs at some of the larger, national player facilities,” he details.

Contract manufacturing

While SMT’s brewery business continues to boom, the contract manufacturing arm is still strong and steady. “Another area of the operation focuses on contract manufacturing of large equipment,” details Moore. “We have the oversized facility, equipment, and skilled workers to build sophisticated equipment that many fab shops couldn’t touch. Our high bay room is 150 feet long, with 30-foot ceilings and a 35-foot overhead crane.”

SMT has completed a range of projects for major manufacturers all over the USA, Mexico, Canada and Europe. “We build large diesel engine powered pump skids used in flood control and irrigation as well as stainless bar screens for wastewater treatment facilities and pasteurizers for food and beverage customers,” says Moore. “We also still build some large textile equipment and ship it overseas to customers who need real value, not just the lowest price. Presently, contract manufacturing comprises a little more than 65 percent of our business.”

Hitting the ground running

Contract manufacturing has provided a solid platform for growth as SMT looks to reach record success in the brewery business. “I see our future in the brewery industry moving into packaging –canning, bottling, kegging- the full service scope; that’s right in our wheelhouse,” considers Moore. “We’re also seriously considering branching into wine and distilled spirits.”

After some market changes and an unsure outlook in years past, SMT has found its footing in food and beverage equipment manufacturing. “While 2014 was an excellent year, we are not at capacity; there’s plenty of room to grow,” assures Moore.

Smart Machine Technologies Inc. and Food and Beverage Systems continue to bring high-quality American-made manufacturing and custom-crafted solutions to meet brewers’ needs and better other industries.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Williams Supply Inc.