North America

Wenger Manufacturing expands and upgrades its Technical Center

Wenger Technical Center will remain operational through year-long renovation thanks to innovative building design and construction methods.

Wenger Manufacturing expands and upgrades its Technical Center
February 5, 2020

Wenger Manufacturing, Inc., will expand and modernize the Wenger Technical Center in Sabetha, Kansas, USA, with a $13 million renovation project.

The Wenger Technical Center is a facility dedicated to innovation and continuous improvement of extrusion process systems for food, feed and industrial applications. The Wenger Technical Center houses full-scale extruders, dryers and ancillary components to provide a real-world development environment for extrusion-based products and processes. The center is used by clients, academia and other industry partners for accelerating product development and operational training.

“This renovation is a strategic reinvestment into a facility that has long served our industries as the critical hub for innovation and continuous improvement,” said Lafe Bailey, Co-CEO and president of Sales and Corporate Development. “The Technical Center has held global importance to the extrusion industry since 1954, and we are committed to both renewing, and expanding, the roles and responsibilities that the Wenger Technical Center holds in the industries we serve.”

The new construction will increase the existing 22,000-square-foot center’s capacity by 40%, making the facility more scalable and extending its lifespan long into the future. The modernization will include enhancing preventative measures for food safety, and the added square footage will make the center more versatile. It will expand the scope of market-facing services while also further enhancing existing innovation projects already active in the Wenger pipeline.

The approach to this renovation is unique in that the new building will be constructed over the top of the existing facility while operations continue inside.

The first phase is the construction of a modern, tension fabric structure that will completely enclose the original building. The second phase entails taking down the original steel structure underneath to create a new space with greater height and depth as well as a greatly improved process flow. The larger capacity will fit full-scale, commercial versions of nearly every piece of equipment Wenger manufactures, whereas today it houses six extruders and two dryers.

“This innovative approach originated from our need to build a world-class innovation and development facility, all while maintaining continuity of current customer and Wenger projects,” King said. “That continuity is important because the market relies on this facility to meet their goals, and we are committed to keeping it open throughout this process.”

The project plan was approved and construction began in November. Normal Wenger Technical Center operations will run in parallel with construction until project completion during the fourth quarter of 2020.