BATESVILLE, IND. — Coperion, Hillenbrand and Purdue University held a dedication event at Purdue’s Food Science Pilot Lab to commemorate the donation of Coperion’s ZSK 27 Mv Plus Extruder. The extruder will expand the lab’s testing abilities of alternative protein foods.

Through the partnership, Coperion’s North American customers will have access to Purdue’s pilot lab and food scientists to help them develop and test alternative protein products before they go to market. Purdue students will additionally have hands-on opportunities to utilize the extruder.

“Purdue is known for its leading food science program, and when looking for a school with strong talent to share our highly engineered equipment with, Purdue was a natural fit,” said Kim Ryan, president and chief executive officer of Hillenbrand, Coperion’s parent company. “We are incredibly pleased to have found this partner in our home state of Indiana and look forward to embarking on this partnership with Purdue University and its food science department. 

“By leveraging our respective areas of expertise and collaborating on new endeavors, we can achieve goals that are mutually beneficial and deliver value for years to come,” she added.

Coperion’s extruder is used to make food products including snacks, ready-to-eat cereals, pet food and alternative protein-based foods. 

“As alternative protein products have grown in popularity among consumers, we realized our customers have few options to test their products in food-grade facilities,” said Ulrich Bartel, president of Coperion. “This partnership fills a void in our industry by providing customers with access to essential equipment, but also talented students dedicated to alternative proteins who can aid customers in exploring new food products to meet consumer demand.”

Purdue’s food science faculty performs research in a variety of disciplines, including food processing and technology development, food chemistry, structure and function, and more. The university’s Food Science Pilot Lab aims to advance food manufacturing technology through hands-on training and trials.

“This donation from Hillenbrand will help our food science department serve the land grant mission and the people of Indiana,” said Karen Plaut, executive vice president for research at Purdue University. “Both students and researchers can gain from this state-of-the-art technology which is crucial to new innovation and to prepare our students for competitive job opportunities in food science.”

Hillenbrand has expanded its presence in the food market over the past year, acquiring Linxis Group, Peerless Food Equipment and Gabler. Recently, the company also reached a definitive agreement to acquire the Schenk Process Food and Performance Materials (FPM) business.

Read more news from pet food and treat industry suppliers.