Pilot Plant

Person working on canned food testing.

The WSU Food Process Pilot Plant Service Center is a modern 7,100 square foot facility in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Building on the WSU campus in Pullman. It consists of a large process room with quick utility connections for steam, three-phase electric power, potable water, and compressed air. A large rear entry provides access for large equipment and forklifts. Adjoining support rooms include space for product storage, food quality measurement, equipment maintenance, and plant administration.

Temperature controlled coolers and freezers down to -35 F are available for storing raw and finished products. Samples can be packaged in cans, plastic trays, or heat-sealed in plastic film for processing and shipment.  Frozen samples can be shipped with dry ice. Project test data can be sent to the client by email.

For thermal processing studies, the Pilot Plant has steam blanchers, cooking kettles, and an Allpax 2402 R&D retort with rotary and linear “Shaka” motion capability. The retort is capable of steam, steam-air, water, and water spray cook recipes that are digitally controlled with FDA compliant automation and monitoring software. A variety of thermocouples are available for collecting thermal distribution and heat penetration test data using multichannel and miniature loggers with state-of-the-art thermal processing software.

The Pilot Plant contains a physical properties laboratory with computer controlled texture presses featuring a wide variety of fixtures and load cells for compression, bending, shearing, and tension using quasi-static and dynamic tests, including Texture Profile Analysis.  A digital spectracolor meter that measures in several color spaces including L*a*b*reflected spectra, and transmittance is available.

The plant supports the WSU College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) programs of Food Science, Food Engineering, and Postharvest Technologies. Engineering services for process design, control systems, and equipment modification are available. Research projects on novel processing technologies such as microwave, high pressure, and pulsed electric field processing are available through the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. The School of Food Science also provides a Product Evaluation Service for thermal process, microbial, and analytical testing for product safety. The School of Food Science has a modern eight-booth Sensory Evaluation Facility for product testing. Professional sensory consultants are available to develop experimental designs.

If you need further information, please contact Girish Ganjyal.