Many of our customers have asked us why it was possible that the city of Salinas, California, became the place where GSE was born. Apart from being famous worldwide because we used to have a facility building loaders there and STEINBECK stories, it is also famous for providing the whole of America with the best farm produce. Farm produce played an important part in Cochran-Lantis' history because it was loaded onto trucks using conveyor belt machines. Our former factory in Salinas used to manufacture conveyor belt machines.
Rumor has it that during a nice Californian weekend, an employee of a very famous airline, still located in San Francisco, was cruising in the countryside in Salinas and got the idea to use these conveyor belt machines to load baggage into airplanes. The history of the 'Belt Loader' had begun.
Joe COCHRANE created COCHRAN Equipment January 3rd, 1956 to build the first belt loaders specifically for airport use. COCHRANE Equipment went on to manufacture some catering trucks but in 1966, COCHRANE designed its first loader for the new B747. Facing an increase in business due to the Jumbo aircraft revolution Joe COCHRAN decided to look for financial support to help development his company.
After some years of exceptional development worldwide, the company was sold to AMSTAR group in 1971. It was sold again six month later to WESTERN GEAR Corporation and was renamed "COCHRAN WESTERN". During the next 12 years, the company grew significantly and produced many new products.
The 808 was designed in 1975 with the famous Flat Top Chains that significantly improved transfer system reliability.
In 1979, the first 818 was produced with the original Grasshopper lifting device that brought the clear deck feature. This is still a major feature in TLD loaders. The 828 was the first loader to be designed with wide option for B767.
In 1980, Bing LANTIS was appointed by WESTERN GEAR as General Manager of COCHRANE WESTERN for around one year. When the Western Gear group was sold, COCHRAN WESTERN was for put up for sale and Bing made an offer.
In 1983, Bing LANTIS purchased the company from WESTERN GEAR and changed its name to The LANTIS Corporation in 1984.
In 1992, after several successful years of leadership in the loader market, LANTIS Corporation was sold to TLD, a specialized group in GSE that offered the company financial capability as well as an extensive worldwide network.
After another name change to TLD LANTIS, focus was placed on the Worldwide loader market and manufacturing of Transporters and Belt loaders ceased.
By combining together the benefits of Flat Top Chains, Grasshopper lifting device, new Multi Directional Wheels and fully proportional hydraulic controls the LANTIS 828 loader was born and introduced into the market in 1995.
Later, the LANTIS 929 Series loaders (33,000 lbs and 44,000 lbs main deck loader) were introduced to the market in 1996 and the LANTIS 121 (66,000lbs) in 1998.
At the beginning of 2002, TLD decided to stop production in the historic Salinas facility. TLD has kept a presence in Salinas with a TLD Spare parts Hub and Service center.
Although production of TLD Loaders has stopped in Salinas they are still being produced in TLD's newest facility situated in Sherbrooke, Canada. This move has been done without affecting customers or product quality.
The next time you have a salad, think about Cochran belt loaders loading lettuce onto trucks and TLD Cargo Loaders loading and unloading lettuce from aircraft all around the World!