MAY 2012

A Closer Look E-mail the author

Sebright Products
Brent Sebright • 800-253-0532

Before Sebright Products was born, the company existed as a service company that built power units for compactors. In 1984, the company started selling its own 2-yard compactors.

But compactors were a common enough product, so about five years later, Sebright developed and patented a machine for paper mills that could “de-liquify liquid” from the mill to bring it up to 50 percent solid content so it could be used for manufacturing cardboard.

In 2000, the company started selling a belt filter press made from stainless steel. Sebright said that the existing belt filter presses at that time were made from mild steel, but they were being used in wet and corrosive environments. A stainless steel unit was more durable. Another new product was the Xtractor – a machine that “deliquified” cans and plastic containers. Sebright explained that in the beverage and dairy industries, products that were past their expiration date were returned to the manufactures for disposal. Full containers couldn’t be recycled, so they needed to be emptied in order to reclaim the aluminum or plastic. The Xtractor removes and contains the liquid, leaving the solids clean enough to be recycled.

Another product is the densifier, which compacts polystyrene. Sebright said that the densification isn’t about recycling, but is about making shipping to the recycler less expensive. A truckload of polystyrene that might weigh 4,000 lbs. in its original state could weigh 40,000 lbs. after compacting.

Some of the large machines the company builds can take 400 to 500 hours to build – it’s not a fast process. And it’s not repetitive – the company designs and builds custom machinery to fit customers’ needs.

Sometimes those needs mean that machines need to be designed to fit into existing space inside a building. “You have to fit the cubby hole they give you,” Sebright said.

To help the company build the machines and to help customers visualize the machine in their facility, Sebright is working with 3-D software, but it is a long process. “You can’t scan a 2-D drawing and make it 3-D,” he said. “You have to draw it.” They’ve been working on making all their products available in the 3-D software for the past seven years, but Sebright feels that it’s worth it – both for the company and for its customers. “When they see a picture and recognize their building, it becomes real to them,” he said.

Since the company builds custom machinery, their customer base is very diversified, from paper mills to dairies to beverage companies to department stores. One interesting machine was built for use in the hazardous waste industry and had to be explosion-proof.

Another specialized machine was built for a baby food company – this time not for recycling, but to empty large bladder bags filled with mashed potatoes. The machine was more efficient at squeezing out all of the potatoes, and reduced the food waste by a significant percentage.

Sebright explained that there are actually two different companies in the Sebright family. Sebright Products manufactures compactors and densifiers, while Bright Technologies focuses on the manufacture of most of the stainless steel product lines. Sebright’s brother, Stuart, runs Bright Technologies.

The company employs 73 people, some of whom have worked there for their entire working lives. He said, “Our middle management has never worked anywhere else.” Many of those employees started working for the company right after high school and have been with the company ever since.

The company’s executive vice president, Lee Murray, has been with the company for 30 years. Another key player in the company is Sebright’s brother, Dave, who is the general manager and chief financial officer and has been with the company since 1983.

Sebright said that when he talks to a customer about what needs to be done, he’ll bring the concept to his team and ask them, “Could you build a machine like this?” and “ninety-nine and nine-tenths of the time” they come up with a way to build the machine the customer needs.

“That’s our best asset,” he said. “We’ve got some great people.”