AIB International lab work

More flexibility for training participants, assisting clients

While AIB International can show off its new 10,000-square-foot office building, the original 1970s era facility also has had a facelift.

Renovation in the older facility has benefitted the organization in at least three ways, said Brian L. Strouts, vice-president, baking and food technical services for AIB International, Manhattan, Kas.

First, a teaching laboratory was rebuilt and is now more flexible and equipped with the latest technology, including a closed-circuit camera, he said. An area dedicated to dough rheology doubled in size.

Second, improvements were made at AIB International’s pilot plant, which houses large-scale production equipment for baked foods. It now has improved lighting along with a reconfigured space.

“We were monopolizing our pilot plant facilities with our training programs,” Mr. Strouts said. “That drastically limited our capability to help clients with ingredient testing, new product development, equipment evaluation and services that we’ve offered forever, but were difficult to schedule.”

The reconfigured space gives AIB International more flexibility to run training programs and client projects at the same time.

“Since we’ve made that change, we’ve probably doubled the number of client projects that we just weren’t able to do a year ago,” Mr. Strouts said.

The older facility also now has more space for teaching, said Andre Biane, president and chief executive officer of AIB International.

“In the existing building we needed to make the teaching labs more modern and flexible to facilitate the learning process today,” Mr. Biane said. “Plus the flexibility of the research labs and the pilot plant gives us more opportunity to do parallel activities, conduct training and execute client projects simultaneously.”

Third, AIB International has remodeled areas that support its laboratory testing services. These services include flour and ingredient testing, allergen work and a variety of other analytical services.

Donated equipment from the industry is helping AIB International upgrade its capabilities, too.

“We’re not finished,” Mr. Strouts said of equipment donations. “We very much appreciate those equipment manufacturers who have donated equipment. We have a very active donation and purchasing campaign going on now to further enhance our capabilities.”