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Colorado equipment manufacturer has worldwide connections

by Kathleen Thomas Gaspar | April 29, 2011

PUEBLO, CO — With a client base that stretches around the globe, Magnuson Corp. and its parent company, Atlas Pacific Co., manufacture and supply a full range of vegetable, fruit and meat processing equipment.


Ron AndersonRon Anderson
Noting that the distinction between the two companies is that Magnuson sells its equipment line while Atlas leases it, Ron Anderson, sales manager for Magnuson, told The Produce News April 19 that all manufacturing for both entities is done in Pueblo, CO.


Atlas leases processors primarily for cherries, peaches, pears, apricots and apples. Magnuson’s product line includes processing equipment for carrots, potatoes, onions, beets, sweet corn, broccoli, cauliflower, peaches, pistachios and walnuts.

Under the Atlas umbrella, Luthi Machinery handles tuna-packing equipment that is leased, and Brown Industries provides citrus squeezers, also leased under Atlas.

Mr. Anderson said that those machines, too, are built in the Pueblo facilities.

Sales and service offices are located in Europe, South Africa, South America and Asia.

“We also represent other manufacturers,” Mr. Anderson said, noting that Belgium-based FAM, Formit in Finland and the French company Femia are also part of the Atlas family of processor makers.

Magnuson and Atlas have individual sales and service departments and share, on occasion, engineers and designers.

Mr. Anderson said that he has been with the operation “a short 43 years” and began his career as an assembly line worker.

“I’ve done everything but accounting and human resources,” he said of his tenure with Magnuson.

Explaining the companies’ twin histories and his own with them, Mr. Anderson said that Magnuson was founded in 1942 in San Jose, CA, by the Magnuson family. Atlas Pacific was founded in nearby San Leandro, CA, in 1943.

In 1982, after he had joined Magnuson, the company was sold to Filper Corp. and moved to Reno, NV. Mr. Anderson relocated with his family to Reno. Filper manufactured peach-pitters, and Magnuson was by and large a peeler manufacturer.

Atlas Pacific, which initially made apple and pear processors, bought Filper/Magnuson in 1985 and moved the Filper portion of the operation to Pueblo at that time. Magnuson’s side of manufacturing and sales was moved to Colorado in 1992, Mr. Anderson said.

In 1994, Atlas acquired Computer Controlled Machinery, a Minnesota company that manufactured sweet corn processors. That has become part of the Magnuson line of products.

Luthi became part of the company in 2000, and Brown Industries was acquired in 2008.

Today the Filper name is not used, and Atlas is the overall parent company.

“We are always looking at new applications and trying to second-guess what the next new and big product will be,” Mr. Anderson said. “We have had a very good run with the baby carrot line and with potato processors. Pistachios is a growing business now as well.”

He continued, “We work both the Southern and Northern Hemisphere seasons and supply equipment to big processors as well as small, regional processors who themselves supply product to restaurants in a relatively small radius.”

In Colorado, one of Magnuson’s bigger customers is Hungenberg Produce, a large carrot producer in Greeley.

When asked how germane computerization and ever-evolving technology are to the manufacturing operations, Mr. Anderson said, “A lot of our equipment is straight mechanical with belts and pulleys and hydraulics. Most of our equipment is used in the wet, dirty end of the plant.”

He said the United Fresh convention provides an excellent forum for the Atlas/Magnuson family of companies to “meet with clients and see what their changing needs are.”