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Food Processing Program

WHAT IS THE PROGRAM?

Over ten years, the Speed School of Engineering has provided support to the local food industry in the Metro-Louisville area. There are over seventy local food companies in this area, plus a growing number of individuals seeking assistance to start a new food business. Working together there has been, and will continue to be, a real opportunity to help support and increase the food industry by utilizing the capabilities and facilities of the university.

After 35 years of technical and business experience with six major Fortune 500 food companies and after retiring from Brown-Forman Corporation, Mr. Charles Staff was appointed Director of the Food Processing Program. Mr. Staff, with experience in product and process evelopment, quality assurance and engineering administration, has been the ideal person to initiate and develop working relationships and projects between the food industry and the University.

There has been considerable success in working with a number of varying companies and individuals to provide technical support in areas beyond their capabilities. Technical activities have varied from food and non-food projects such as involvement in major redesign of home refrigerators and stoves, logistics shipping consolidation, redesign of food processing equipment, processing waste utilization, food formulation, product and nutritional analysis and labeling, shelf life testing, microbiological testing, establishing quality control and HACCP programs. These projects have well-defined objectives, planned activities, cost and timetables, to which both Industry-Client and Director of Food Processing Program have agreed. We pride ourselves on being good project managers in keeping projects on track and on schedule and not exceeding cost.

BENEFITS TO INDUSTRY

  • Immediate action in getting projects identified and initiated.
  • Provides cost-effective university personnel for projects.
  • University personnel has considerable knowledge and facilities support base.
  • Reduces food industry‚Äôs requirements for personnel overhead.
  • Supports and provides training for food industry personnel.
  • Provides a central contact for university services and information.

RESOURCES AVAILABLE

Faculty and/or students are a knowledgeable and capable source of personnel that can be effectively utilized in carrying out project activities. With a university enrollment of over 20,000 students and over 1,800 students in engineering, it is readily conceivable that student availability is usually not an issue, particularly when most have a high degree of interest developing industry contacts and gaining industry experience. Because the University of Louisville is the top academic and research university in this area, the faculty available for project activities are extremely knowledgeable and capable of basic technical support assignments. The "Talent Pool" is quite diverse when you consider the following partial list of graduate school departments currently at the University of Louisville:

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
Thus, depending on the project requirements, an effective university team can be established to conduct most any level of technical requirements that the food industry may have or may be considering.

 

FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT

The University of Louisville is a graduate, research institution and therefore, has the leading edge technical facilities and equipment. For example, there are laboratories related to analytical analysis, computers, environmental, rapid prototyping from CAD drawings, lasers, computer chip assembly, and most important, the food processing laboratory and kitchen. The food processing laboratory is a new facility in Lutz Hall and consists of walk-in freezer, walk-in refrigerator and temperature humidity controlled rooms. Also it has heating equipment for radiant hot air, microwave heating, deep-fat frying and charbroiling capabilities. Kitchen facilities are also available with multi-stations of stove, refrigerator and microwave ovens providing opportunities for food preparation and demonstration. The University location and facilities are ideal for carrying out focus group and taste paneling sensory requests. These are just a few of the many resources that are available for project activities at the University of Louisville that could be extremely useful and valuable in helping the food industry to develop and grow.

POSSIBLE PROJECT ACTVITIES

  • Formulation or re-formulation of food ingredients or finished products
  • Process development or automation of existing processes
  • Microbilogical testing and problem solving
  • Packaging development or resolution of packaging problems
  • Quality control training or methods development (HACCP)
  • Product and nutritional analysis and labeling
  • Material handling or transportation opportunities
  • Focus group or taste testing of ingredients or finished products
  • Shelf-life testing under various storage conditions
  • Literature and patent searches or retrieval
The above list indicates a number of broad areas of opportunities, it is not meant to be complete, and we would need to discuss each particular problem as to our ability to carry out a project in these or other areas.

 

Contact Information
Director: Charlie Staff
University of Louisville
Lutz Hall, Room 435
Louisville, KY 40292
Telephone: (502) 852-1575 or (800) 759-3448
FAX: (502) 852-1577

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