The Wisconsin State Building Commission has approved plans to overhaul the Centre for Dairy Research and Babcock Hall Dairy Plant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The planned upgrades – at a cost of almost $47 million - will help the facility reach its full potential while providing students with an opportunity to advance their skills in cheese-making.
The Babcock Dairy plant was originally designed in the late 1940s and, since opening in 1951, it has not been significantly modernised. When completed, the new facility will include a modern milk intake area and state-of-the-art dairy processing plant and provide the CDR with the capacity to continue to lead the US in dairy excellence at a time when the safety and quality of all dairy products is an increasingly vital part of the industry’s success.
“The Centre for Dairy Research and Babcock Dairy Hall are long overdue for upgrades, and this project is essential to preserving Wisconsin’s reputation as the Dairy State and expanding our dairy exports overseas.”
John Umhoefer, Executive Director, Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association.
SoftTrace will provide the quality management & traceability software
As part of the part of the expansion project to provide enhanced processing, research and instruction facilities, Wisconsin CDR will implement the full SoftTrace suite to support all aspects of cheese, butter, powder, ice cream and yogurt manufacturing. The system will, for example, track and monitor milk received and released into the manufacturing process, capture information from analytical instruments, manage laboratory information, track and integrate in-process data, manage inventory, control dispatch based on positive release procedures and ensure full traceability from source to finished product.
“Quality control has always been important in the Dairy processing sector but modern facilities are moving towards integrated quality management systems and traceability. The Wisconsin CDR is delighted to partner with SoftTrace to include their world-class software systems in our new facility. These systems represent a paradigm shift from simply collecting data to using the data for informed decision making.”
Prof John Lucey, Director, Wisconsin CDR
SoftTrace systems are used by Dairy and Food companies in Europe and USA – and not only to address their complex, quality, traceability, product safety and risk management challenges. SoftTrace also supports industry leaders such as Kerry Group and Glanbia in achieving increased operational efficiency and profits, effective control of inventory, maximised product yield management, improved operating profits and a reduction in overhead costs.
Worth the wait!
The project to renovate the dairy plant inside Babcock Hall and move the CDR into a new three-story addition attached to the hall will begin much later than expected, but according to John Lucey (Director, Wisconsin CDR) it has been worth the wait.
“I know a lot of people would have loved to have the addition completed already – include me in that group. But I think we have used the time well to make sure we will be getting the right type of facility. We are only going to do this once, so we want to do it well…….We’re very happy that we are going to get a facility that was not rushed through in the planning process and wouldn’t meet our very high goals for a really state-of-the-art speciality cheese area. Now we have nine rooms to create any kind of speciality cheese we can dream of.”