Sabetha, Kansas is home to Wenger Manufacturing, a company that is leading the world in how commercial dry food production is done. They don’t produce the food itself, they produce the machinery that gets the job done and helps their clients build factories using their equipment to meet the world’s food needs.
“We will interact with a client, often we’ll help design the facility or their factory and then we’ll help them select which Wenger equipment should go in and then which enhancements should be bolted to the Wenger equipment to affect their functionality,” says Lafe Bailey, Co-CEO & President of Wenger Manufacturing.
“Everybody’s need is different. So we really try to find their pain–what the client’s pain is, what their need is. Some will need more or less help,” explains Tim Hartter.
So, they get to work building the machines to specs. They use laser-guided machines to cut and form the individual pieces. The machines are built on site and the joints and seams are arc welded to ensure that the final product is top-of-the-line. Their extruders that you see being put together here are perhaps some of the most fascinating ways that Wenger helps in food production at facilities around the world.
“Essentially, we are going from a dry flour, a dry-ish flour, we’re adding liquid. We convert that dry flour into a dough right at about this standpoint, then it continues on the cooking process until when it comes to the end of the extruder barrel it is a fully-cooked dough,” explains Bailey.
And that dough can then be cut and formed into whatever food is being made from pet foods to fish foods, even cereals and pastas are made with Wenger equipment…not using ovens, but using the technology of these screws placed inside a barrel that cooks with mechanical pressure. A high-tech solution for meeting the world’s food needs. Manufacturing today is not like it was 30, 40, 50 years ago. Companies like Wenger rely not only on technological equipment, but on the Kansas worker who can put Wenger on the world stage.
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