Extrusion Short Course: NCFIL + Bühler Continue Momentum
January 6, 2023
After the sold-out 2022 Twin Screw Extrusion short course left attendees wanting more, the North Carolina Food Innovation Lab (NCFIL) is teaming up again with Bühler Group to conduct another short course on food extrusion, this time focusing on extrusion of plant-based protein.
From January 30-February 2, 2023, instructors from NC State and Bühler will run this hands-on course in the NCFIL facility on the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, NC.
The mornings will be focused on classroom instruction, and the afternoons will be spent working with NCFIL’s 30 mm - 36 L/D Bühler BCTM PiloTwin extruder. The course will focus on the principles of extrusion, designing extrusion processes for human foods with an emphasis on texturized and high moisture meat alternatives, principles of screw configuration, operations conditions, die configurations, and downstream processing.
Extrusion Course Inception
Building upon an extrusion workshop that Bühler started at the University of Minnesota in 2009 and since 2012 ran at the Bühler facility in Minnesota, “this course is a product of collaboration,” says Jenni Harrington, Bühler’s Director of Sales & Technology Human Nutrition (Extrusion). “We developed a unique program, mixing practical and theoretical sessions. We brought the program to Bill Aimutis, and jointly, we adopted the program to meet the needs of the NCFIL customers.”
Bühler is eager to partner with NCFIL on this course because of NCFIL’s proximity to Raleigh, the accessibility to its state-of-the-art equipment, and the amount of investment dollars going into NC surrounding the future of food.
NCFIL leads the hands-on experience and offers industry expertise. “We love it because they’re showcasing our extruder in their world-class facility,” says Dave Reynolds, Sales & Business Development Manager, Protein Solutions & Ingredients at Bühler. “You cannot go anywhere in the US or globally with the quantity and quality of processing equipment. Having our machine along with all the ancillary equipment in that setting speaks to the investment they have put into the facility and what they are trying to accomplish with the future of the food ecosystem.”
Bühler supports the lecture side of the course, leading some of the presentations and helping with exercises. Reynolds explains, “The presentations are interactive with a focus on troubleshooting and teaching through previous experiences in the plant environment.”
Benefits for All Attendees
Attendees will gain base knowledge of creating new products with extrusion, as this is a core principle of the course. But they will also see the total package of putting in an extrusion plant and what is truly needed to take a product from concept to shelf.
The course content is diverse enough that professionals from different areas and functions can benefit from the lectures and immersive learning opportunities. Whether working in R&D, product or process development, engineering, or ingredient supply, everyone will be able to implement skills from the class into what they do.
In addition to learning, the course provides an opportunity to interact with others in the food space and network for future collaboration. “We get to talk about how to bypass challenges and troubleshoot new product innovation,” Reynolds adds.
Running this course with NCFIL is just one aspect of Bühler’s relationship with Aimutis. Bühler regularly connects their customers, especially those new to the plant-based food business, with NCFIL.
“It’s the perfect place for a start-up environment, a small playground where you can test different things,” says Harrington. “Bill and Joe HIldebrand have so much real world experience, and their people are knowledgeable with everything from science to processing to marketing. Their facility is always impressive, even for us, and we’ve seen quite a few places. Nobody is ever disappointed they brought customers there.”
Reynolds, an NC State alumnus, loves that his alma mater is part of the future of food push through NCFIL, and with so many products using the extrusion process during development, he believes they are just scratching the surface on ways they can collaborate. “Extrusion has been hot recently, and we expect continued innovation in areas such as cell-based meat, and fermented and hybrid products,” he says.
As Bühler continues to invest more heavily in the protein space, their relationship with NCFIL will continue to grow. “With its location and Bill’s background, there’s definitely future collaboration planned. So much is going on in the Biotech space right now, and we are figuring out where we fit in over the months and years ahead,” says Reynolds.
Register for the 2023 Extrusion Course
Registration will close January 23, 2023.