BLAINE, MINNESOTA, U.S. — After years of planning and eight months of construction, Crown unveiled its new global headquarters and Innovation Center in Blaine, Minnesota, U.S.

The 68,000-square-foot, $12 million facility accommodates increased staff, and includes an Innovation Center. The 15,000-square-foot pilot plant will support and optimize custom process solutions and customer trainings within the oilseed and specialty processing industries.

The center includes a fully functional instrumented pilot plant with a computerized control room (PLC controls with HMI integration) for process monitoring and data collection of all plant areas, including preparation, extraction, refining, biodiesel, renewable diesel and oleochemical processing.

“Our pilot plant enables customers to simulate plant operations, trials, toll processing, new technologies and product testing in a confidential and controlled environment that saves them time, money and headaches,” said Bill Antilla, general manager, Crown Global Companies. “Customers can also empower employees with comprehensive training to improve process knowledge, maintenance expertise and plant safety.” 

The Innovation Center features multiple training locations, including large and small classrooms, a hands-on equipment training area, the pilot plant’s boiler room that offers real-world steam and condensation training, and the motor control center where safety demonstrations and technical training promote safe energy usage and handling.

“Our goal is to be the ‘first-call’ for oilseed industry leaders in need of a technology partner committed to discovering innovative approaches to reducing energy and water usage, improving yields, and reducing capital and operating costs,” said Mike Hoerle, Crown’s vice-president of global engineering.

The Innovation Center also features a Skunk Works R&D Workshop where Crown’s R&D team develops disruptive solutions to drive industry advancements.

“Our global headquarters and innovation center fully leverages Crown’s industry-leading technology and talented global team to further expand Crown’s role as a trusted advisor and problem-solving partner to our customers,” Antilla said.