Size is everything for one of Michigan’s newest dairy plants. The enormous, 400,000-square-foot-MWC dairy processing plant in St. Johns is one of the most technologically advanced in operation. MWC produces 25% of the state’s milk, capable
of processing 8,000,000 gallons per day. The plant is a joint venture between Glanbia Nutritionals, Select Milk Processors and Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.
With miles of piping for utilities, it took two years to build the $470 million facility, which opened in fall 2020. Insulated metal panels helped speed up the construction process. The building’s designers selected 131,500-square-feet of KS Shadowline
and KS Shadowline Interior panels, both manufactured by Kingspan Insulated Panels - North America.
The panels, specifically designed for food processing environments, only require an installer, rather than multiple trades, which cuts back on scheduling delays. Closing the building envelope was critical not just for weather, but to allow the interior
work to begin. Contractor Shambaugh and Sons installed 4.5 miles of utilities, along with 2.3 million linear feet of wiring. The building includes a reverse osmosis plant and massive 500,000 gallon holding tank.
With high-quality materials used to build MWC, the plant is built to last. The panels used to construct MWC contain QuadCore®, Kingspan’s most advanced insulation core. In Michigan’s harsh winters, and with a steady temperature needed
for dairy processing, this improves energy efficiency, a critical component for the plant. With tongue-and-groove interlocking joints for thermal performance, KS Shadowline panels equipped with QuadCore® provide R-values of up to 8 per inch.
With large-scale dairy processing, KS Shadowline Interior panels play an integral part in helping MWC meet USDA requirements. The interior panels have a standard finish of Imperial White with CLEANsafe siliconized modified polyester coating. The coating
is critical for withstanding heavy sanitization, used in food processing plants. New technology in the plant automatically sanitizes equipment, in addition to daily cleaning shifts.
“This is one of the best built, highest quality dairy facilities in in the dairy industry,” said George Chappell, Vice President of Dairy Operations for Glanbia Nutritionals.
After the first trucks rolled in to MWC in fall 2020, the plant received national recognition from Dairy Foods as the 2021 Plant of the Year, awarded for its technology, sustainability initiatives and food/employee safety measures.