With 23 innovations and 11 new patents, Wenger Manufacturing has introduced new products including a high-intensity preconditioner for improved pasteurization and sanitation, a series of thermal twin screw extruders, an enhanced sanitary dryer that reduces the risk of contamination and systems designed to improve hygiene and food safety.

“There are a number of trends currently impacting the food industry that affected the design process behind each of these new innovations,” said Galen Rokey, process technology manager for Wenger.

“Among them are higher energy costs, concerns about water availability and the current economic recession, which is impacting consumer buying habits. Consequently, manufacturers desire the ability to react quickly to new market directions."

Rokey said food safety was at the forefront of the company's latest product designs. Wenger’s design criteria for its new sanitary dryer stated that no internal horizontal surface could be larger than 5 by 5 millimeters unless absolutely necessary. The design also called for a minimum 30-degree slope on all internal ledges, as well as the elimination of cracks and crevices in which fines and material could collect.