News of note about the Vanmark Equipment Company.

The World’s Greatest in the Food Processing Industry


Click the image to view our video.

If you’ve ever eaten a french fry, or a potato chip, or a baby carrot, chances are good you’ve eaten something that’s been produced on equipment made by Vanmark.

Vanmark makes equipment for food processors and manufacturers around the world to make the food that we know and eat every day.


Vanmark Equipment begins at the start of a processing line, in a food plant, where products are made for people to eat. Vanmark’s equipment takes the food from the delivery point, stores it in the plant, cleans it, peels it, and has an opportunity to inspect it. Essentially, we make the product ready to go to the finishing processes that create the food products that people buy in the store.

But it’s not just potato chips. Vanmark’s equipment is behind many of the products we consume on a daily basis.

“Vanmark makes equipment that works on not only potatoes, but also things like baby carrots, peppers, onions, beets, sweet potatoes… we do some things for dog treats. But one of the more unusual ones we make is machinery that actually polishes golf balls after they’re molded to take away some of the residue that’s put on during the process of making them,” said Tom Mathues, President of Vanmark Equipment.

Since developing the first potato peeler in 1954, this award-winning company has only continued to build and expand on amazing quality equipment.

“In 1954 an inventor here in Creston created a small potato peeler to work in a restaurant that sold french fries that were hand cut. It ran continuously for over 50 years in that restaurant. That little machine became the start of the company that we work in today,” said Mr. Mathues.

“We continue to upgrade from that, and over time, we’ve built thousand and thousands of pieces of new equipment. We are proud to say that we’ve got equipment that’s been built for more than 40 years still running. Vanmark continues to produce equipment, service and parts for people who want to keep our equipment running,” he said.

“Vanmark’s equipment has been manufactured to high standards within the FDA and also high standards within food manufacturing facilities throughout the world,” said Cory Gardner, Engineering Manager for Project and Technology Services. “Through our relationship, their equipment has lasted decades through many harsh environments throughout the food and beverage manufacturing industry.”

Vanmark’s been in production with peelers and then the equipment that serves those peelers and provides other processes to food manufacturers around the world for more than 60 years.

“We’ve won awards for being Iowa’s ‘Small Processor of the Year,’ we have export markets around the world, we sell in over 60 countries, and we’ve got the biggest installed base worldwide, of machinery of our style,” said Mr. Mathues. “People buy our equipment with a lot of confidence, they use it hard, they run it hard, and they come back for more.”

“We’re proud to be in this business… we’re happy to be building equipment for the older pieces that we’ve sold, and the newest pieces that we’re still developing,” he said. “We have a bright future ahead of us, we think that makes us the ‘World’s Greatest’.”

Helping bring your favorite foods to life, Vanmark Equipment is the World’s Greatest in Food Processing.

Vanmark Celebrates 60 Years


Vanmark Equipment was highlighted in the local Creston, IA newspaper for celebrating our 60th anniversary.
Recently Vanmark Equipment LLC was highlighted in the Creston, IA News Advertiser for celebrating our 60th anniversary. Highlights of the article are written below.

In the year of 1954, in the small town of Creston, IA, a local restaurant was in need of a more efficient way to peel potatoes. With no options available for purchase, the owner decided to take matters into his own hands and invented his own potato peeler. Local investors and potato chip manufactures took notice of this amazing invention allowing the owner of this small town restaurant to form the Veg-A-Peel Company. Within a few years, Veg-A-Peel débuted the Model 96 Peeler, an upgrade to the original design that could handle 2.5 tons of potatoes per hour continuously. To complement the peeler, Veg-A-Peel designed and began to manufacture hoppers, elevators and conveying systems.

The market for industrial peelers was growing rapidly and by 1964 the efficiency and innovation of the peelers was growing as well. This growth allowed the company to add a full line of equipment to support the processors, as well as a formal name change to Vanmark Corporation. This industry soon came to know them as simply, Vanmark.

It was 2008 and Vanmark was celebrating its 50th anniversary. During this time Vanmark became a part of the Grote Company and completed its official name change to Vanmark Equipment LLC, while in full process of launching a line of redesigned peelers.

Vanmark was still hungry for growth, so in 2012 they acquired GME of Boise, Idaho and added the business of hydrocutter production to their portfolio. This opened the door into the French fry industry, allowing Vanmark to expand its processing equipment line. Vanmark President, Tom Mathues stated that, “Vanmark has been a good, profitable company, and we began to look for acquisitions in our segment of the market, which is primarily root crop.” “What we didn’t realize was that, even with our strength in the potato chip business, the French fry guys really didn’t view us as a major player in their industry, … until we got the hydrocutter business,” Mathues said. “This business is absolutely central to producing French fries… And, all of a sudden, Creston started getting orders for our equipment because now thebig processors know we are serious about French fries.”

This year, the company will be celebrating 60 years in the business of innovative equipment development serving the food industry. GME and Vanmark will come further together under the Vanmark nameplate and are looking forward to another 60 years of growth.

NAFTA Visits Vanmark Equipment

NAFTA visits Vanmark Equipment June 2014

Pictured left to right: Mr. Walter Bastian, Mr. Steve Connor, Ms. Patricia Brown-Dixon, Ms. Sara Hagigh, Minister Gilles Gauthier, Minister Ken Smith Ramos, Mr. Joseph Folsom, Ms. Patricia Cook, Mr. Dean Cotton, Mr. Scott Giesbrecht, Ms. Bobbie McFee

Thursday the 27th of June, Creston, IA had some very distinguished visitors. Key representatives of The International Trade Administration (ITA) of the United States, Canada and Mexico came to visit Vanmark Equipment along with some regional government officials representing global trade in the Midwest.

The ITA was in Des Moines for a NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) meeting which touched on topics such as Mexico’s Maquiladora (manufacturing operations that take imported raw materials and produce goods for export), Mexico and Canada market opportunities, and Mexico and Canada border issues. They were en route from the NAFTA meeting in Des Moines to another function in Omaha and elected to visit Creston for lunch at Adams Street Espresso, followed by an extended visit at Vanmark to gain insight about what unique challenges and potential solutions had been found in the pursuit of international trade by a small mid-American manufacturer.

During a plant tour they noted that, among other equipment, machines sold to companies in Mexico and Guatemala were under construction on the build floor. They were able to see how productive and efficient a rural company can be as well as hear the everyday challenges and triumphs Vanmark encounters.

In 2013 Vanmark Equipment was awarded the Global Iowa Excellence in Exporting Award. This award was in recognition of Vanmark’s reach and success in the global marketplace. It was also in appreciation of promoting Iowa and its products around the world and continually enhancing economic development in the state of Iowa.

The International Trade Administration (ITA) provides practical information to help Americans select markets and products as well as ensures that Americans have access to international markets as required by the U.S. trade agreements. NAFTA is an agreement that was signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States with the goal to eliminate barriers to trade and investment between the three countries.

This was a wonderful opportunity for Vanmark Equipment as well as for Creston, IA. The ITA wanted to see what it is like inside a successful rural international exporting company. Vanmark is a great example of that and that was made very visible during this particular visit.

Attendee Titles:

Mr. Walter Bastian, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere, ITA, Dept. of Commerce, Washington, D.C., Mr. Steve Connor, Sales, Vanmark Equipment, Ms. Patricia Brown-Dixon, Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration, Kansas City, Missouri, Ms. Sara Hagigh, Deputy Director, Office of North America, Dept. of Commerce, Washington, D.C., Minister Gilles Gauthier, Minister of Economic Affairs, Canadian Embassy, Washington, D.C., Minister Ken Smith Ramos, Director, NAFTA Office, Secretary of Economy, Embassy of Mexico, Washington, D.C., Mr. Joseph Folsom, SBA District Director, Des Moines, IA, Ms. Patricia Cook, Director, US Commercial Service, International Trade Adminstration, Dept. if Commerce, Iowa, Mr. Dean Cotton, Deputy Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration, Kansas City, Missouri, Mr. Scott Giesbrecht, Canadian Trade Commissioner, The Consulate General of Canada, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ms. Bobbie McFee, Controller, Vanmark Equipment, Creston, Iowa

Congratulations Rich Quinn on his 45th Anniversary

Rich Quinn accepts an award for 45 years of service with Vanmark Equipment.

Rich Quinn accepts an award for 45 years of service with Vanmark Equipment.

We would like to congratulate Rich Quinn on his 45th anniversary with Vanmark!

Vanmark Creston celebrated Rich Quinn’s 45 years of service. Rich started working for Vanmark in 1969 and has been a loyal employee since. Rich is a very hard-working, dedicated employee and does a wonderful job welding. Vanmark greatly appreciates Rich’s commitment to the company and is proud to be able to celebrate this landmark with him.

OPTIMIZE UPTIME – Eckert Machines


Consider the total cost before investing in new equipment.
Eckert Machines
Click HERE to Read Full Article

Vanmark Equipment Receives Global Award!

Pictured, from left, are Jim Wilson, Kasi Jones, Tom Mathues and Bobbie McFee, all with Vanmark Equipment; Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Wayne Pantini, executive director of Union Count Development Association, Friday, April 12th, 2013, during a ceremony for the annual Global Iowa Export Award at South Central Iowa Area Partnership Regional International Trade Seminar in Osceola. (CAN photo by Amy Hansen)

Pictured, from left, are Jim Wilson, Kasi Jones, Tom Mathues and Bobbie McFee, all with Vanmark Equipment; Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Wayne Pantini, executive director of Union Count Development Association, Friday, April 12th, 2013, during a ceremony for the annual Global Iowa Export Award at South Central Iowa Area Partnership Regional International Trade Seminar in Osceola. (CAN photo by Amy Hansen)

If you’ve ever eaten a potato chip or french fry, chances are you’ve eaten food that has been processed by Vanmark Equipment.

“I don’t know that there’s many humans left who don’t fit somewhere into that definition. Even in China, we’re making potato chips and french fries,” said Tom Mathues, President of Vanmark Equipment during an award ceremony Friday at the South Central Iowa Area Partnership Regional International Trade Seminar at Clarke County Fairgrounds events center.

Vanmark Equipment of Creston received the annual Global Iowa Export Award.

The other three finalists for the award were SIMCO Drilling Equipment Company of Osceola, CHS Inc. — Oilseed Processing of Creston and Boyt Harness Company of Osceola.

Vanmark Equipment designs, produces and sells food-processing equipment and parts serving the snack food and food-processor market. Of the 35 countries where Vanmark does business, India has become the largest market for the company.

It also has substantial sales in Australia, Japan, China, Indonesia, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Norway, South Africa, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
“Very impressive,” said Wayne Pantini, Union County Development Association executive director.

The company exports to more countries than it has employees, and it has room for growth! Vanmark has been very fortunate with its business in Creston, IA,” stated Mathues.

Vanmark Equipment, LLC receives Annual Iowa International Trade Award


Osceola, Iowa – The award was presented to Vanmark by Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds at the International Trade Seminar event on April 19, 2013. The Annual Iowa International Trade Award is given to a regional business as nominated by their peers. The winner is selected for excellence and invocation in International trade. Vanmark Equipment, located in Creston, Iowa is the global leader in the manufacture of industrial food processing for a wide range of produce products. Vanmark equipment specializes in peeling, scrubbing and washing, inspecting, storing, conveying and handling product. Vanmark owns GME International located in Boise, Idaho. GME manufactures Hydro-cutting systems.


GME International names Wes Jacobs as General Manager


GME International has named Wes Jacobs as General Manager of its Boise, Idaho facility effective Jan 1, 2013. Wes will replace Bobbie McFee who has been in that role since the company’s acquisition by Vanmark Equipment LLC of Creston, Iowa in January 2012. Bobbie will return to the Creston office to pursue the assignment as Controller of the combined companies.

In his new role Wes will be responsible for all aspects of GME’s business. GME designs builds and sells hydro cutting equipment and service parts to major food processors worldwide.  He will spearhead new activities for improving the efficiency and quality of the GME product lineup.

Wes brings a significant level of experience to this job. His most recent assignment was Director of Engineering for Vanmark’s parent, Grote Company in Columbus, Ohio. Wes has also had general leadership roles with equipment manufacturing companies in his past.

Vanmark and GME are a business of the Grote Company of Columbus Ohio.


Vanmark acquires GME International


United States, January 05, 2012


GME International, the leading maker of hydrocutters and other food equipment used in the french fry, fruit and vegetable processing industry, announced that it has been acquired in an asset transfer agreement by Vanmark Equipment LLC of Creston, Iowa. GME will continue business under the name of GME International from its current location in Boise, Idaho.

“The marriage of GME and Vanmark’s receiving, peeling, washing and scrubbing products will offer customers a more complete solution to their processing line needs,” said Tom Mathues, Vanmark’s general manager. “We will utilize our global sales team to promote both GME and Vanmark products. The new combination will bring added resources to GME’s product development efforts as well as expansions into new markets.”

Part and equipment orders and inquiries will be uninterrupted. GME orders will continue to be serviced from the Boise facility. No layoffs in the current Boise-based staff are planned. GME’s founder and long time president, George Mendenhall, will retire.

“We look forward to the growth that will result from GME and Vanmark working together in the food equipment marketplace,” Mathues added.

Source: Vanmark News

In this Item: Vanmark Equipment LLC,
GME International

Vanmark Designs for Vegetables Peelers Meet Mark, and Then Some


Peelers for root vegetables and produce have been a specialty since 1954 at Vanmark Equipment, and the company isn’t resting on its laurels.

At a modern facility in Creston, Iowa, USA, it manufactures machines used by vegetable, fruit and nut processors throughout the world.

Basic Peeler design has been refined to meet the highest standards in production, durability and sanitation. The rugged construction easily handles the demands of cleaning dirt, sticks and stones from root vegetables such as potatoes, beets and carrots.

The machine uses a customized selection of interchangeable brushes and abrasive rollers to wash, polish, scrub or peel various produce items or shelled nuts. Experienced Vanmark personnel assist customers with the options available to insure that each unit meets exact requirements.

Vanmark also manufactures support equipment, including metering conveyors, vertical lifts, crate dumpers and storage hoppers. With these components, the in-house engineering staff can design continuous flow, completely automated production lines.

Article from Potato Processing magazine


Potato peeling is an active and crucial stage of production and can have a decided effect on the quality and yield of the finished product. Today’s processor is looking for an energy-efficient, versatile peeler that minimizes peel loss and downtime.

Peeling is one of the most important steps in potato processing and optimum yield greatly relies on the efficiency and effectiveness of the method of peeling and associated processes including washing, brushing, scrubbing and polishing.

The peel is removed by the use of heat, chemicals and mechanical abrasive methods. Knife peeling is still used by hand for small volumes or by using drum-shaped mechanized knife peelers.

Historically, common industrial processes were caustic or lye peeling, however today steam peeling and abrasive peeling dominate the market, depending on type and variety of products produced and intended capacity. Today’s abrasive (both batch and continuous) and steam peelers are commonly used by medium to large processors and are highly advanced. Lye peeling involves bathing potatoes in a caustic solutions before both the skin and solution are scrubbed off – a method still employed by fruit producers (peaches) – but less by potato peelers.

Processors are concerned about efficiency in terms of lowest peel loss, highest performance and energy; and reliability and maintainability in terms of the highest uptime and lowest maintenance time. Vammark general manager, Tom Mathues, agrees and adds service to the mix.

“Probably the biggest concern is that equipment will actually do what the manufacturer says it will do. Also, customers want reassurance that the manufacturer will stand behind their equipment and be there for future support if needed,” he said.

“We are experts at troubleshooting and offering suggestions on how to handle roll configurations and pretty much anything that could ever come up. It’s awfully nice to be able to pick up the phone and talk to an expert that can solve a potential problem in seconds.” Vanmark’s general manager reflected.

With strong roots in the potato industry, the U.S-based firm has supplied food processing equipment worldwide for 50 years with recent advancement, including the high-volume Peeler/Scrubber/Washer series. The latest model, the 2920/2922 comes standard with the Innovative Natural Flow Gate witch significantly improves peeler efficiency.

Mathues concedes customers’ growing interest in water efficiency, an area Vanmark is prioritizing in terms of research and development. For example, to combat post-filtering starch clogging, peel residue and waste steam filtering systems are feasible.

“We are working with outside companies to develop more affordable filtering systems targeted specifically at our style of machines. There is no question that significantly reduced water usage and lower waste stream loads are high priorities of nearly every processor. A lot of processors have their own waste water treatment facilities, and recycling water is an ongoing process in the industry,” Mathues said.

Reducing energy consumption can mean better bottom line results and also adds value to a processor’s corporate social responsibility (which feeds back into improved bottom line results).

Mathues said the energy efficiency of peelers has improved and that today not only do all Vanmark peelers have a 90 percent energy efficient motor as a standard feature, which is easily realized in monetary savings, there are several other areas where efficiency can be fine-tuned.

“Bearing drag and peeling surface efficiency all contribute to energy usage,” he said.

“In all of our new designs, our drive systems have been specified with sealed-for-life bearings that have proven to be very durable. This means that bearing wear, which adds drag, is significantly reduced hence adding to energy efficiency.”

Vanmark’s continuous peelers comprise poly chain belting and sealed composite bearings, requiring no maintenance. Poly chain belting and associated pulley profiles are a more refined form of timing belt and have significantly stronger reinforcing belting and a stronger tooth profile. “Together these have made belt failures that occur after a significant run time in the earlier timing belt applications a very rare occurrence,” Mathues revealed. The company has not replaced a poly chain belt due to normal wear failure in our four years of field exposure.

Vanmark’s 2420 series means small-volume processors can use a continuous peeler specifically designed for lower throughput rates; and also gives larger processors the opportunity to try an inexpensive machine for new products or new recipes. Mathues added that it can be handy for large processors during surge situations. Does this mean processors across the board are looking for multi-purpose peelers? “Absolutely,” Mathues enthused, adding that small clients that deal with a variety of products benefit from their equipment’s quick roll changes.

“We can wash and polish potatoes requiring no peel removal for a gourmet potato bar, peel potatoes and carrots for a wholesale distributor in the afternoon, and then wash the little black bumps off the really small cucumbers for a pickle processor, all in the same machine, in the same day,” he said.

“When processors realize how efficient each process can be after a specific setup is developed for a given product, the market often tends to grow based on improved processing costs. This allows the processor to sometimes justify having a specific machine designated for the new market generated. We have some customers who have started doing five or six different products in the same machine and then growing the business accordingly.”

Grote Company Announces Acquisition of Iowa-based Vanmark Corporation


Columbus, Ohio, 1 July, 2007 – Grote Company has announced its recent acquisition of Creston, IA based Vanmark Corporation.  Established in 1954, Vanmark is a recognized  leader in the innovation, design, and manufacture of industrial peeling, washing, and material handling systems for the food processing industry. In addition, Vanmark manufactures unique specialty equipment for other industries which have a need to handle, scrub, wash, treat, size, peel, abrade, texture or polish their products.

According to Bob Grote, Vice President of Grote Company, “ The acquisition of Vanmark fits perfectly within our growth strategy.  At Grote, we recognize the need to further diversify our equipment offering into areas beyond our traditional protein markets.  This strategy includes the acquisition of like-minded equipment manufacturers of engineered food processing equipment.  The Vanmark Corporation scored well in both areas.  We see many growth opportunities for Vanmark and believe that both companies will benefit from this acquisition.”

Vanmark will operate as a business division of the Grote Company under the name Vanmark Equipment LLC.  It will continue to manufacture equipment and operate from its current facility in Creston, IA. Vanmark distributes equipment through a dealer network within the United States, as well as internationally in Canada, Mexico, Japan, India, and South Africa.

For additional information on Grote’s acquisition of Vanmark Corporation, contact Mr. Bob Grote at (888) 534-7683.

Grote Company is the world’s leading manufacturer of precision slicing and application equipment for the food processing industry, with manufacturing and headquarter operations located in Columbus, Ohio.  Grote Company operates world-wide through its international sales and service office in Wrexham, North Wales. Grote Company was founded in 1972 by local business entrepreneur Jim Grote, founder and majority owner of Donatos Pizza.  Donatos Pizza currently operates 200 stores within 5 states in the Southeastern and Midwestern United States.