BANKING on continued demand growth for its suite of specialty ingredients, Kemin Industries dedicated a new research and development facility near its Des Moines, Iowa, headquarters on Aug. 26.
Dubbed the Molecular Advancement Center, the 46,300 sq. ft. facility houses 60 scientists who study and develop products for the feed, food, health, nutrition and beauty markets.
Founded, owned and operated by two generations of the R.W. Nelson family, Kemin's stock in trade is the concept of "inspired molecular solutions" specifically developed to provide nutrition and health benefits for people and animals. The company's most recent expansion centers on an open-concept laboratory layout anchored by 1,215 ft. of linear research bench space.
Built at a cost of $16.7 million, the facility includes two general labs, six shared labs, three pilot-scale labs and a sensory lab, as well as a test kitchen and personal care application research lab. By the time of its unveiling, the facility was home to a full complement of researchers working on developments in the feed and food sectors as well as the health, nutrition and beauty industries.
Meanwhile, Kemin's existing Innovation Center continues to operate at full capacity, with scientists focused specifically on discovery research and pet food.
The company originally committed to adding 98 new positions to staff the molecular research facility, in addition to other related facility upgrades in its manufacturing operations. To date, Kemin has added 137 new full-time positions as part of the expansions it announced in 2010.
"This new facility is more than a building; it represents our confidence in employees, our commitment to Des Moines and vision to improve the quality of life of half the world's population," said Chris Nelson, Kemin president and chief executive officer. "Customers have also signaled their confidence in Kemin, which is represented in the 12-15% growth we have experienced in each of the past five years. Given the economic climate, that is truly amazing."
When all of its expansion efforts are fully completed, the company will have added six new manufacturing facilities, three new research facilities and a new corporate headquarters building. The entire project, announced in October 2010, will represent a $40 million investment by Kemin.