CPM’s Crown Global Innovation Center: A World-Class Facility Designed for Commercializing Solutions

In 2019, CPM’s 15,000 square foot Crown Global Innovation Center (GIC) opened its doors at the company’s headquarters in Blaine, Minnesota. The only facility of its kind in North America, the GIC serves as a world-class resource to leading global manufacturers in the oilseed, renewable fuels, and specialty processing industries. 

Setting a new industry standard, the flagship GIC includes a fully functional and highly instrumented pilot plant with a computerized control room (programmable logic controller controls, with human-machine iInterface integration) for process monitoring and data collection of all plant areas including preparation, extraction, refining, renewable diesel, oleochemical processing, and specialty extraction (including hemp CBD oil).

The GIC handles all stages of oilseed processing, beginning with preparation and extraction. For oilseed preparation, Crown GIC offers warm and cold dehulling. After cleaning, oilseeds are processed with equipment including the Crown Vertical Seed Conditioner, Crown Cascade Dryer, and Crown Cascade Cooler. 

Crown is famous for its innovations in oilseed extraction. The Innovation Center’s extraction capabilities include:

  • Model III Extractor: A unique percolation type shallow-bed extractor ideal for high-volume extractions of a wide range of materials
  • Model IV Extractor: An immersion-type extractor that processes virtually any product with a density greater than the solvent
  • Model V Extractor: A percolation-type extractor for flakes, crushed materials, and lower throughput amounts

Desolventizing and drying capabilities in the GIC include: 

  • Desolventizer-Toaster-Dryer-Cooler: For drying, desolventizing, sterilizing, or cooling of water/solvent-wet filter, flakes, powders, and agglomerates where extended residence time is required
  • Flash Dryer: For drying or low temperature calcining of filter and centrifuge cakes and powders with minimal size reduction
  • Milling Flash Dryer: For drying and milling of agglomerated materials into a fine powder
  • Down Draft Desolventizer: Special design for desolventizing edible white flakes, also suitable for drying or heating of foods and grains, polymers, and minerals with low-speed agitation, to minimize breakage
  • Vacuum Desolventizer Stripper: Continuous indirect vacuum drying or desolventization for temperature-sensitive products; low operating temperature

Crown’s GIC capabilities include R&D-sized equipment where feasibility work with a few kgs (~1–5 kgs) of materials can be carried out; development-scale equipment where work can be done with tens of kgs of material (~10–100 kgs); and a fully continuous plant where several tons of material can be processed and turned into products in a very representative manner of a commercial-scale facility. The facility was designed to showcase the capabilities and reliability of the same equipment that Crown tests and sells. 

Crown’s GIC also features the Liquids Pilot Plant, which offers customers access to a state-of-the-art continuous-process environment for testing, validating, scaling, and commercializing renewable diesel / hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), edible oils, oleochemicals, and specialty liquid-extraction products.

Unique features of the Liquids Pilot Plant include:

  • Crown’s RD Ready™ Pretreatment System that doubles hydrotreater-catalyst life, maximizes contaminant removal, yields the industry’s highest output of pretreated product, and guarantees product-quality specifications, regardless of feedstock
  • A Double Shell Packed Column continuous deodorizer, which offers superior performance over tray deodorizers and is the cornerstone of Crown’s MaxEfficiency deodorizing process, accommodating six stock changes per day
  • Fat-splitting technologies that allow for variations in feedstock quality and a multipurpose distillation column for cleaner biodiesel and fatty acids
  • A full suite of analytical lab testing to demonstrate measurable conformance to the most stringent quality specifications, as well as R&D, training, and the ability to conduct real-world testing in a confidential, risk-free environment.

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.

To learn more about the CPM|Crown Global Innovation Center, equipment, technologies, and capabilities, contact our team.

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