Hillenbrand, Coperion, and Purdue University Partner to Advance Research and Development for Food Industry

Date 2023-06-06 | Charity / Donations

  • Partnership allows Purdue’s leading Food Science program to research, develop and test alternative proteins leveraging equipment donation from Hillenbrand
  • Coperion, a Hillenbrand Operating Company, manufactured and donated the extruder and will partner with Purdue to give customers access to a food-grade pilot lab and the University’s food scientists

BATESVILLE, WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., and STUTTGART, Ger., Jun. 6, 2023 – Hillenbrand (NYSE: HI), Coperion, and Purdue University hosted a dedication event today at the Purdue Food Science Pilot Lab to commemorate the donation of a Coperion ZSK 27 Mv PLUS Extruder. The donated extruder, valued at more than $900,000 is an important addition to Purdue’s Food Science Pilot Lab because it expands testing capabilities within the alternative protein food category and provides Purdue students with hands-on opportunities.

Over the past year, Hillenbrand has continued to increase its scale within the food end market through the acquisitions of Linxis, Peerless, Gabler, and its recent announcement of a definitive agreement to acquire the Schenck Process Food and Performance Materials business. As a pure-play industrial leader in highly-engineered, mission-critical processing solutions serving large and growing end markets, Hillenbrand leverages its people, products, and partnerships to positively impact the world and create shareholder value.

“Purdue is known for its leading Food Science program, and when looking for a school with strong talent to share our highly-engineered equipment with, Purdue was a natural fit. We are incredibly pleased to have found this partner in our home state of Indiana and look forward to embarking on this partnership with Purdue University and its Food Science Department,” said Kim Ryan, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Hillenbrand. “By leveraging our respective areas of expertise and collaborating on new endeavors, we can achieve goals that are mutually beneficial and deliver value for years to come.” 

Purdue Food Science faculty conduct research in a variety of disciplines including, food chemistry, structure and function, foods for health, food safety and microbiology, and food processing and technology development. The goal of the Purdue University Food Science Pilot Plant is to advance the application of food manufacturing technologies through scalable trials and hands-on training to enhance the future of food production. The Pilot Plant is part of Purdue’s Food Entrepreneurship and Manufacturing Institute, a group established to support innovation and growth in the food industry.

“This donation from Hillenbrand will help our food science department serve the land grant mission and the people of Indiana,” said Karen Plaut, Executive Vice President for Research at Purdue University. “Both students and researchers can gain from this state-of-the-art technology which is crucial to new innovation and to prepare our students for competitive job opportunities in food science.”

Extruders are a critical piece of equipment for the food processing industry. Coperion’s ZSK 27 Mv PLUS Extruder is commonly used to make products such as snacks, ready-to-eat cereals, and alternative proteins. Coperion’s extruder technology plays a major role in the production of alternative proteins due to the high product quality output and maximum flexibility.

“As alternative protein products have grown in popularity among consumers, we realized our customers have few options to test their products in food-grade facilities,” said Ulrich Bartel, Coperion, President. “This partnership fills a void in our industry by providing customers with access to essential equipment, but also, talented students dedicated to alternative proteins who can aid customers in exploring new food products to meet consumer demand. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of the Purdue research into alternative proteins and how this partnership advances our collective capabilities.”

Through this partnership, Coperion’s North American customers will have access to Purdue’s food-grade pilot lab along with the Purdue food scientists to aid them in developing and testing alternative protein products before they go to market.