When Keith Foster set out to develop the WALKING FLOOR® unloader, he had one goal: Design the lightest, simplest, most trouble-free self-unloading system yet devised. 50 years later, KEITH Manufacturing Co. continues to help customers around the world make their work more efficient and profitable with its patented WALKING FLOOR® trailer unloading system.
While other versions of moving floor technology existed, it was Foster who focused on creating a 100 percent hydraulic drive unit that was powerful enough to unload a semi-trailer. In 1973, KEITH Manufacturing Co. introduced the first commercially viable moving floor unloading system under the WALKING FLOOR® brand name.
Although Foster passed away in 2006, the company remains family-owned, led by the second and third generations of Fosters. Lindsay Foster-Drago, who servers as president of KEITH Manufacturing Co., explains why developing a dependable system was so important to her grandfather.
“Keith grew up in the state of Oklahoma and, as a farm boy, knew the importance of having reliable equipment. You can’t make money if your equipment isn’t running. And many times being down can end your business.”
He took this notion to heart when designing the original WALKING FLOOR® system and the company continues his philosophy when engineering its products. “We work hard to keep the total cost of ownership the lowest in the industry,” adds Foster-Drago.
This includes building a drive system with interchangeable components so that customers need less parts inventory and offering a two-year warranty on hydraulic valves. The overall design of the system also lends itself to longevity, such as a poppet switching valve that results in lower friction, less wear and a higher tolerance of dirt and foreign material.
The company designs, manufactures and assembles each system at world headquarters in Madras, Oregon. Manufacturing most components onsite means superior quality control.
Durability of WALKING FLOOR® systems is also important because the company supplies customers globally. “With a majority of our haulers’ business being repeat and cross generational, it’s an incredible responsibility and privilege to be trusted by our global customers” says Foster-Drago. “One of Keith’s favorite sayings and mine is, ‘you can’t afford not to buy our equipment.’”
As KEITH Manufacturing Co. marks the 50th anniversary of the WALKING FLOOR® system, Foster-Drago says the company is always looking to the future. “Our focus is on continuing to innovate and make our product even better tomorrow than it is today.”
For more information on KEITH® WALKING FLOOR® systems, visit www.keithwalkingfloor.com or contact the company’s Canadian subsidiary WALKING FLOOR International / Canada Inc. at 519-756-9178 to discuss your material handling needs.