Pet Food Processing - March 2023 - 61

OPERATIONS
innovation
INCUBATOR
W
While many processing facilities were slowing or even halting
production when the pandemic first surfaced in early
2020, Wenger Manufacturing in Sabetha, Kan., was moving
ahead with plans to construct its new $13 million Technical
Center. The Center, which houses full-scale extruders,
dryers and ancillary equipment to provide a real-world,
scalable environment for researching and developing extrusion-based
products and processes, got a much-needed
facelift and upgrade to become a state-of-the-art facility.
" The Technical Center had been around since 1954, and
it's always been a key resource for the industries we serve, "
said Brend King, vice president and Technical Center director.
" But it was worn out. It had some structural limitations
on what we could do from a food safety standpoint, and it
wasn't well segregated between the human food side and
companion animal food side. Plus, it wasn't big enough -
so we added 60%. "
The decision to renovate the existing facility rather than
build a brand new one came from the company's desire to
keep the Technical Center close to its main manufacturing
plant in Sabetha. It has been highly convenient for the company,
and for its clients and partners, King said.
The construction process to expand the existing
28,000-square-foot technical center began in November
Wenger's Technical Center combines R&D and processing expertise.
By Kimberlie Clyma | kclyma@sosland.com
2019, and while it did experience some delays in 2020
thanks to COVID-19, construction was underway by
July 2022. From the start of construction in November
2019 to its completion in July 2021, the Technical Center
remained operational.
In order to keep the center up and running during renovations,
the new building was constructed on top of the
existing facility.
" A unique feature of our new tech center is that it was built
on top of the old one, " King said. " We did not shut down the
tech center when we built the new one. We built the new
one, and then tore down the old one, and during that time,
we were still conducting test runs for our customers. "
In fact, more than 140 customer test run days were held
during the construction timeframe. In addition, 10 Wenger
equipment R&D projects were tested and verified, and
seven new Wenger process and continuous improvement
projects were completed, tested and verified.
Wenger's Technical Center is a complete agrifood laboratory
with full-scale equipment designed to simulate a
real-world pet food and treat production environment.
Customers are invited to test new systems, product formulations
and processing methods. In addition to demonstrations
and training sessions hosted by Wenger at the center,
The Wenger
Technical Center
underwent a
renovation during
the pandemic
to upgrade its
capabilities and
offerings to
existing and future
customers.
Photos by Nicole Kerwin / Sosland
Publishing Co.
www.petfoodprocessing.net | March 2023 | PET FOOD PROCESSING 61
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Pet Food Processing - March 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pet Food Processing - March 2023

Pet Food Processing - March 2023 - Intro
Pet Food Processing - March 2023 - 1
Pet Food Processing - March 2023 - 2
Pet Food Processing - March 2023 - 3
Pet Food Processing - March 2023 - 4
Pet Food Processing - March 2023 - 5
Pet Food Processing - March 2023 - 6
Pet Food Processing - March 2023 - 7
Pet Food Processing - March 2023 - 8
Pet Food Processing - March 2023 - 9
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Pet Food Processing - March 2023 - 11
Pet Food Processing - March 2023 - 12
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https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-may-2024
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-march-2024
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-january-2024
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-november-2023
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-september-2023
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-july-2023
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-may-2023
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-march-2023
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-december-2022
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-october-2022
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-september-2022
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/-pet-food-processing-june-2022
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-march-2022
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-december-2021
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-october-2021
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-september-2021
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-june-2021
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-march-2021
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https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2018_06_01
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2018_03_01
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