On February 9, EMILI visited MacDon for a behind the scenes tour of one of Canada’s leading manufacturers of specialty agricultural equipment.

The tour was led by Tiffany Dancho (MacDon’s Senior Manager, New Product and Business Development) and Nicole Couch (Event and Promotion Specialist), both longtime MacDon employees.

Dancho’s story, and her longtime connection to MacDon which started decades ago when her family brought a MacDon swather onto their farm is featured in a video created in 2020 as part of MacDon’s 70th anniversary celebrations.

Touring MacDon’s draper line

After stopping in MacDon’s board room for introductions and taking in displays of historical photos and branding that make up the company’s over 75 years in business, the group donned safety glasses and protective ear coverings and followed Dancho and Couch into the plant where MacDon draper headers are manufactured.

Entering the facility, the first thing you notice is almost 2 kilometres of track running across the ceiling. This system moves parts from manual and robotic welding stations through MacDon’s high-tech powder-coat paint system.

MacDon released its FD2 Flex Draper in 2021. These high performance drapers come as large as 50 feet wide, so large that it is hard to imagine them fitting in shipping containers and being shipped across the world but they do. They are sold worldwide through MacDon offices in Canada, the United States, Australia, Brazil, and Europe.

To manufacture just one flex draper from beginning to end requires a wide range of skillsets. This includes manufacturing engineers, software developers, painters, mill operators, procurement specialists, quality control technicians, tool builders, human resources personnel, business development managers, event and promotion specialists, and more.

Collaborating to advance digital agriculture

In early 2023, MacDon committed to supporting EMILI in a significant way to expand technology and education initiatives in the agri-food sector.

Having access to MacDon’s high-performance harvesting equipment and related resources, technical knowledge, and strategic guidance increases EMILI’s capacity to test, validate, and demonstrate the powerful capacity of ag tech tools on Innovation Farms.

“We are extremely grateful to MacDon for being so generous with their knowledge and resources,” said EMILI Managing Director Jacqueline Keena. “This tour was a great opportunity for EMILI to see firsthand the high level of advanced manufacturing taking place here in Manitoba.”