Big Machines of HQ: The Extendoveyor

When we announced our new HQ in Butner, North Carolina, the best word we had to describe our new space was BIG. And guess what? Using that space to create Nuggets requires some equally gigantic, ginormous, gobsmackingly gargantuan — in other words, big — machines. In this series, we’re going behind-the-scenes to learn more about the Big Machines of Nugget HQ. Today’s feature: the fancy (and fancy-sounding) traversing extendoveyor!

What’s an extendoveyor? 

Basically, the extendoveyor is a helpful machine that makes unloading foam from the trucks super fast. It works like this: when the delivery trucks back up to the bays for unloading, the extendoveyor moves from bay to bay to line up just right, and then extends into the truck as the foam is unloaded. Imagine a grocery store conveyor belt that moves deeper into your shopping cart as it empties — cool, right?

The extendoveyor can extend 48 feet deep into a truck, so the person unloading the foam never has to walk with the foam, and instead, plops it right down onto the extendoveyor. Once a truck is fully unloaded, the extendoveyor is contracted, or shrunk, and traversed to another dock. One lucky person gets to drive the extendoveyor, standing on the platform as it moves from bay to bay. Beep beep!

Where does the foam go after it's unloaded?

All foam joins the main channel flowing into HQ until it reaches sensors that measure the height of the foam parcel and automatically sorts it into the correct bay. The sensors are little foam bosses, telling foam where to go and when. Pillows, merge left! Bases, over there! Cushions, single file!

Why do we use an extendoveyor at HQ?

Every day, we unload eight truckloads of foam (!!!) and that’s a LOT of work for our Production Team.

The extendoveyor helps us unload whole truckloads of foam at a fraction of the time and effort that it would take without the machine. We used to use 3x6’ push carts to unload by hand, but now, the extendoveyor reduces walking time, improves the ergonomics of bulky foam handling, increases safety for the Production Team, and overall, speeds up the process so we can make more Nuggets and get them to more Nuggeteers!

How much faster are trucks unloaded with the extendoveyor?

At top speeds, we can unload a truck in 15 minutes. The extendoveyor makes it possible to unload a piece of foam every 1.33 seconds. Did you hear that? Woooosh! That was the sound of yet another piece of foam making its way into the world.

There are a lot of moving parts to making, packaging, and shipping Nuggets from HQ to homes across the country. Our Big Machines series will walk you through how we’ve been able to scale up our production since moving to HQ in Butner. Find past editions of Big Machines on our BIG blog, and keep your eyes peeled for info on our burrito dropper, box sealer, and more, all coming soon!