GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — Last week Baker Perkins hosted its first Extrusion Showcase at its U.S. office in Grand Rapids. While the company hosts many showcases at its headquarters in Peterborough, U.K., the U.S. office felt it was time this opportunity was brought closer to home for its customers in the Western hemisphere.

With the introduction of the company’s SBX twin screw extruder in the U.S. office’s Innovation Center earlier this year, extrusion seemed like the perfect topic for the first showcase.

Geoff Hawley, Baker Perkins
Geoff Hawley, sales director at Baker Perkins’ U.S. offices

“We made a significant investment with the extruder, and we wanted to show the new capabilities we had in Grand Rapids,” said Geoff Hawley, sales director at Baker Perkins’ U.S. offices. “We wanted to mirror what we had in the U.K. here.”

Before this addition in Grand Rapids, customers from North and South America would have to travel to Baker Perkins’ Innovation Center in the U.K. to see and test the extruder. Now, they don’t have to travel so far from home.

The Extrusion Showcase gave bakers, snack manufacturers and other potential Baker Perkins’ customers the opportunity to learn more about the extrusion process as well as Baker Perkins’ capabilities.

“We want people to understand what Baker Perkins has to offer not only in terms of equipment but also our technical services and expertise when it comes to extrusion,” Mr. Hawley said.

The showcase balanced classroom presentations with lab demonstrations of extrusion, co-extrusion and Baker Perkins’ latest extrusion sheeting technology. Attendees learned about the extrusion and co-extrusion processes as well as extruder maintenance, scaling up, and challenges and solutions at the production level. Attendees had the opportunity to see the equipment in action and get one-on-one time with the company’s engineers and staff.

While this may be the first showcase of its kind for Baker Perkins in the United States, the company has hosted 12 in the U.K., each focusing on a different aspect of the company’s capabilities: confectionary, bakery, cookie and cracker, and extrusion. The company hopes last week’s event will be the first of many showcases to come for the Grand Rapids office.