Kansas is the new hot spot for global baking innovation!

Plano county in Kansas is now home to a state-of-the-art, 30,000 square-foot, innovation baking center. Middleby Bakery Group has installed their truck-sized innovative baking machinery into the innovation center and is already churning out diet-busting sweets at almost the speed of sound.

The collection of machinery at the facility work together to automate baking in a way unimaginable to most bakers. The $2.3 million center will serve as a test kitchen, allowing commercial bakers who have been testing new products in small batches, to ramp up production and see what tweaks are needed when the muffins, buns or breads roll out at a rate of four tons an hour.

The facility is an extended R&D lab for bakers worldwide who want to try new things without having to shut down their own production lines to conduct tests. It allows bakers and food makers to test-drive their ideas at the center instead of spending large amounts of money in producing experimental lines in their stores. For consumers, the benefits consist of significantly reducing the time its takes innovative goods to come to the market, and also providing better consistency in the products out now.

Mark Salman, president of Middleby Bakery Group, says with the equipment available at the center, adjusting products to specific consumer dietary requirements or providing less fat and sugar options, can now be developed and produced in weeks and months, as apposed to several years. Additionally, the facility will also work on projects to improve the overall shelf life of its baked goods.

In addition the the hundreds of highly innovative and world class machinery at the facility, the R&D baking center also contains the world’s widest tunnel oven and is expected to draw commercial baking customers from across the globe to the industrial area. The center is also expected to bring people to the area from outside the state that want to partner with Middleby on improving the food production process and using automation and leveraging technology.

Currently the most impressive piece of machinery at the center is the Auto-Bake Line, a 46-foot long by 11-foot tall oven with three baking levels, which can produce more than 25,000 golden-topped blueberry muffins an hour.

While the introduction of the new equipment is a significant adjustment, the majority or workers have been able to embrace the change. Ron Baker, strategic campaign coordinator with the Grain Millers International Union, says “As a union, we don’t reject technology, we embrace it and make sure people are treated fairly when innovation comes into the workplace.”

To find out whether your experimental activities are eligible for the R&D tax credit, contact Swanson Reed R&D Tax Advisers for an obligation-free assessment.

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