As well as offering equipment testing, the center provides processors with engineering and product R&D expertise.
Toward the end of 2019, Wenger began renovating its Technical Center, remaining entirely operational during the entire process. To do this, the new facility was built on top of the existing one, which was later torn down once renovation was completed. The renovated facility now serves as a complete agrifood laboratory will full-scale equipment designed to simulate a real-world pet food and treat production environment.
New and existing Wenger customers are invited to the Technical Center to test new systems, product formulations and processing methods. The company showcases its single- and twin-screw extruders, high-intensity preconditioner, horizontal dryers and other equipment offers, providing customers a view on how each piece of equipment performs.
Unlike some other technical centers that demonstrate industry equipment, Wenger’s Technical Center features real-time scalable testing. The equipment in the center represents full-scale, commercial versions of nearly every piece of equipment Wenger manufactures, all pieced together so customers can understand how all the equipment works together to create a finished pet food product.
During demos, customers can view the entire piece of Wenger equipment via cameras spread throughout each piece of equipment, from extruder and convection roaster (CVR) into the dryer and out in a complete finished product.
During the renovation, Wenger also upgraded its digital communications technology to now feature a state-of-the-art media center, The Galen J. Rokey Education and Outreach Center, which provides visitors with the capability to be more interactive during demonstrations and product test runs. While production runs are being tested, cameras can provide a live stream to members of the visiting company not in attendance. Test runs are also recorded and archived for future use.
Wenger’s equipment can produce a wide range of extruded pet nutrition products, from complete-and-balanced kibble to treats both with and without special inclusions, like freeze-dried carrots, to help create more premium products.
According to Wenger, demo runs are just a portion of what the Technical Center offers processors. Customers not only have access to equipment but can also consult engineering experts to help them test, analyze and produce product prototypes. This can help them processors decide the necessary processes to successfully and efficiently manufacture various pet nutrition products.
Among its many plans for the future, Wenger is further expanding by offering mixing and blending capabilities at its Technical Center. This addition will ensure the facility offers a complete range of product testing capabilities to pet food and treat processors.