Recapping several new facilities, technical centers and innovation hubs that were announced or opened in 2020 to drive animal nutrition research forward.
BIOMIN, an animal nutrition company based in Beijing, unveiled a new animal nutrition research laboratory on Jan. 15, a result of a partnership with ERBER Group, an Austrian company developing sustainable animal nutrition solutions. The lab and partnership were supported by the Institute of Animal Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
Read more about this facility here.
In early February, Wenger Manufacturing Inc. announced plans for a $13 million, year-long project to expand and modernize its Wenger Technical Center in Sabetha. The facility, used for continuous development, innovation and testing of cutting-edge extrusion technology, has remained operational throughout the renovations, the company said. The upgraded center is expected to be completed by the end of 2020 and has remained on-schedule despite COVID-19 complications.
On April 22, Shick Esteve opened its expanded Linxis North American Technology Center in Kansas City, designed for testing and demonstrating the company’s ingredient automation, dough technology and process management equipment. The nearly 15,000-square-foot technology center is an expansion of its previous 3,500-square-foot testing laboratory. The facility offers temperature-controlled joint testing, as well as a training and education center.
Bühler Group cut the ribbon at its Food Application Center (FAC) in Minnesota on June 19, where it will collaborate with food and feed industry customers, start-ups, members of academia and other partners to develop sustainable solutions for the North American market. Specifically, the company will use the new state-of-the-art application center to turn raw material crops such as pulses, ancient grains, beans, oats and others into flours, snacks, extruded products and even plant-based protein analogues.
On July 2, Coveris, a European flexible packaging solutions provider, announced the opening of its new Pack Innovation Centre in Halle, Germany. The facility spans more than 4,300 square feet and features the company’s state-of-the-art packaging equipment, including a thermoformer, tray-sealer and its form-fill-seal systems applicable for a variety of industries, including pet food and treats.
GEA Group held the grand opening of its Pet Food Experience Center (PEX) in Galliera Venata, Italy, on Oct. 1, where the company will drive innovation, know-how and technical support for research and development in the pet food processing industry. The facility spans 1,000 square meters (more than 10,700 square feet) and will employ 30 people, including process technicians, analysts and mechanics to develop and test new products. It is equipped with a laboratory housing equipment for chemical, chemical-physical, rheological analysis and nutritional testing.
Less of a technical center and more of an innovation center, Plug and Play partnered with Cargill and Hill’s Pet Nutrition in July to establish an animal health and agriculture center in Topeka, Kan. The companies will work with startups to develop new technologies and products in those two industries. Plug and Play held its inaugural pitch competition event at the Topeka center in October, albeit virtually due to COVID-19 concerns.
Kemin Industries broke ground at its new quality control (QC) laboratory in Des Moines on July 15, where the company will showcase the integrity of its finished products and analytical capabilities. The 15,000-sq-ft facility represents an $8 million investment from Kemin, which expects the QC lab to open mid-2021. The QC lab will feature a Central Analytical Laboratory for Target Analytes and Xenobiotics (CALTAX), where more than 30 scientists from Kemin’s pet food business, human and animal health and nutrition unit and food technologies division will test raw materials for dioxins, pesticides, antibiotics and other hazards.