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Purdue Food Science celebrates extruder donation from Coperion

The Food Entrepreneurship and Manufacturing Institute (FEMI) celebrated the unveiling of a new ZSK 27 Food Extruder in Hybrid Version at a recent dedication event. Donated by Coperion, a global industry and technology leader in compounding and extrusion systems, and its parent company, Hillenbrand, Inc., the extruder, which is valued at more than $900,000, will expand the institute’s capabilities.  

Designed to the top of its class in both technology and innovation, the co-rotating twin screw extruder opens the door to study emerging markets, such as plant-based meats substitutes, hemp, cereal production, snack foods, pet foods and the exploration of new extruder processed foods.  

“One of the great assets that the Purdue Food Science Department is able to utilize is our history of partnering with leaders in the food industry to increase our research opportunities and our ability to educate the industry leaders of tomorrow,” Senay Simsek, professor and head of the Department of Food Science, said. “The donation of the Coperion Extruder will enable Purdue Food Science to stay at the forefront of food research and technology by providing learning opportunities, training and research for the most important aspect of food production sustainability.” 

extruderbodyphoto.jpgAllison Kingery, managing director of FEMI, said the new extruder replaces the institute's 25-year-old existing Coperion model, allowing for new controls and technology previously unattainable with the former machine. 

“This is a major donation for the students; they will be able to say they have utilized a modern, highly engineered extruder while in school and will be that much further ahead when graduating,” Kingery said. “The students will certainly benefit from utilizing a machine with such an exceptional reputation in the food industry.” 

The addition of the expanded-capacity extruder to the FEMI test lab will not only open opportunities for testing capacities, but also will allow for a full 360-degree loop from development, to research, to design, Kingery said. Nutritional analysis will also be completed on campus from the products produced by the extruder. 

Simsek said the extruder also opens new doors of industry partnership, increasing FEMI's platform as a trusted problem solver in the food industry. 

“As our global population continues to grow, we need to continually innovate to provide sustainable food sources for this population,” Simsek said. “Plant protein, meat analogs, cultured meat and precision fermentation will become even more important in the coming years to sustainably feed the planet.”

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