Pilot Plant

Joseph J. Warthesen Food Processing Center

The Joseph J. Warthesen Food Processing Center (pilot plant), provides the University of Minnesota with excellent food product research and teaching facilities. The primary goal of the center is to provide a teaching and research infrastructure for the department, and to provide our students with the ability to work and conduct research in an operating production facility. The facility is available to industry to provide process and product development support. Additionally, it can provide a vital resource for food companies that are just starting-up, or are evaluating new process and product lines. The use of the facility by industry partners provides opportunities for our students, as well as much needed revenue for maintenance and acquisition of equipment. The facility is inspected by the State of Minnesota and is certified as a food production facility. The milk pasteurization equipment is inspected and sealed to provide legally pasteurized milk, so products produced at this facility can be sold or used in market research.

The Center includes specialized equipment in the areas of dairy and cheese processing, twin-screw extrusion, aseptic/ESL processing, and various concentration operations (membrane processing, spray and fluidized-bed drying, centrifugation). The faculty and staff who operate the Center are available for consultation and assistance in development of novel processes and products, or simply for evaluation and analysis of samples or prototypes.

By being housed in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, other services and collaboration opportunities can be accessed that include biological and biochemical testing, flavor research, sensory evaluation and taste panel services, and microbiological testing.

Pilot Plant Equipment and Rental Fees

Prices effective 07/01/22 - 06/30/23

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Cheese Vats

Photo Brand Capacity Charge/Day
1 cheese vat
Kusel 2,000 lb $212.18
Damrow 5,000 lb $245.86
Nu-Vat  800lb $198.09
scherping cheese vat
Scherping 2,500 lb $1,311.27


Cheese Processing Equipment

Photo Brand Capacity Charge/Day


Damrow batch process cheese cooker
Damrow Batch process cheese cooker 40 lbs $383.27


Blantech small batch process cheese cooker
Blantech Batch process cheese cooker 10 lbs $83.27


scherping cheddaring belt

Scherping Cheddaring belt

200-300 lbs./hr. $1,311.27


Ice Cream Freezers

Photo Brand Capacity Charge/Day


tetra continuous ice cream freezer

Tetra Hoyer SF 600N Continuous ice cream freezer

120 gal./hr. $484.56


taylor Soft serve ice cream freezer

Taylor Soft serve ice cream freezer

4 gallon $383.27


Other Dairy Equipment

Photo Brand Capacity Charge/Day


Vane butter churn
Vane Butter Churn 300 lbs $383.27


Westfalia Separator 2,000 lb/hr $276.89



Photo Brand Capacity Charge/Day
IMG_0787.JPG Westfalia Decanter 2-3gal/min $716.11


Sharples Decanter
Sharples Decanter 1 gal/min $573.68



Photo Description Capacity Charge/Day


univat jacketed tank
Univat Jacketed Tank 50 gal $170.75


70 gal agitating portable tank

70 Gallon Portable Tank

Agitation, no jacket

70 gal $198.09


150 gallon tank

jacketed tank with stirrer

150 gal $206.00


cherry burrell refrigerated tank

Cherry Burrell Refrigerated tank

200 gal $400.00




Photo Brand Capacity Charge/Day


mini panda homogenizer

Niro Soavi mini panda homogenizer

100ml/min $212.18


gaulin homogenizer
Gaulin Homogenizer 60 gal./hr $212.18


Homogenizer Gaulin	125 gal

Gaulin Homogenizer

125 gal/hr $291.75



Photo Brand Capacity Charge/Day


Pasteurizer Cherry Burrel

Cherry Burrel Pasteurizer

4,000 lb/hr $424.36


UHT/HTST Microthermics

UHT/HTST Microthermics

1 to 3 liters/min $1,750.49


Spray Dryers

Photo Brand Capacity Charge/Day


spray dryer Coulter

Coulter spray dryer

90 lbs water/hr $1350.33


Spray dryer SPX Anhydro

Spray dryer SPX Anhydro

20 lbs water/hr $956.14



Photo Brand Capacity Charge/Day


UF system-plate & frame DDS-20

UF system-plate & frame DDS-20

10 liter tank $371.32


UF/RO unit PTI 2-4",1-8"elements

UF/RO unit PTI

2-4",1-8"elements $574.00

Users of the UF equipment listed above will supply new membranes.

Other Equipment

Photo Description Capacity Charge/Day

Mix Processing System, Includes:
Vat pasteurizer
Surface cooler

50-100 gal $525.00


piston volumetric filler

Piston Volumetric Filler

32 oz $212.18


Agglomerator Glatt

Glatt Agglomerator

3 lb.capacity $198.09(per hour)
  Bar former- Imperial Design 50 lbs./hr $952.85


Coating drum Spray Dynamics

Spray Dynamics Coating Drum

2 lbs/min $461.13


Batch enrobing drum

Custom Batch Enrobing Drum

3 ft3/batch $198.09


Desludging centrifuge decanter Westfalia SB7

Westfalia SB7 Desludging centrifuge

3-5 L /min $710.80


Drum dryer Buffalovac

Buffalovac Drum Dryer

6 inch drums $383.27


Evaporator single effect C.E. Rogers

C.E. Rogers Evaporator- single effect

200 lb./minimum $424.36


extruder 1

Buhler Twin Screw DNDL 44 Extruder

extruder 2
75-100 lbs./hr.


(Labor Included)


Hobart food chopper and cutter
Hobart food chopper and cutter 10 lb. bowl $176.00


Fruit feeder APV Crepaco

APV Crepaco Fruit feeder

35-45 lbs/hr $198.09


Fitzpatrick Hammermill

Fitzpatrick Hammermill

5lb. Hopper $198.09


colloid mill

Fryma Colloid Mill

adjustable gap $383.27


ribbon blender

Ribbon blender

 100 lb $291.75


Almix mixer Tetra/APV

Tetra/APV Almix mixer

30 gallon $952.85


Additional Information

The listed prices are reflective of the charges to outside users of the equipment furnished by the Department of Food Science and Nutrition.

Storage of materials generated during pilot plant trials will be charged storage fees, at the rate of $0.05/lb per month, for refrigerated storage.

To schedule use, please contact Ray Miller at 612- 624-7776. Scheduling must be done two weeks in advance.

Labor Charges

Student help - $37.65/hour  

Plant Manager - $103.00/hour 

Mitchell Maher - $77.50/hour

Dane Sekerek - $46.35/hour