Among the improvements at the Belleville facility will be new milk silos, new cheese vats, upgraded whey receiving, and a new vat room. The company expects to be able to handle large, stainless-steel milk trucks rolling into the five-stall receiving bays of the Belleville Dairy Proteins, delivering more than 1m lbs of milk each day.
The company’s dairy processing includes a high-temperature short-time continuous pasteurization hot fill. The Belleville plant will operate two food grade liquid-filling lines accommodating both large, medium, and small runs, the company said.
Tapping local community
The plant is located near a large dairy valley in Pennsylvania, Kishacoquillas Valley, in Mifflin County.
At the time, Dean Foods Belleville facility was the main dairy processor for the mid-Atlantic region and had regional revenues of $30m coming from its Fairmont label.
When Dean Foods shut the doors to its Belleville plant in 2008, 80 jobs were lost and it negatively impacted the local community, especially the dairy farmers who supplied milk to the plant.
In addition to bolstering its presence in the “key growth area” of Pennsylvania, Hi-Tech hopes to be able to re-engage local farmers by purchasing their milk, which accounts for 70% to 75% of the company’s milk supply, and processing it into a variety of cheese, liquid whey protein concentrates of 34% and 80%, and dairy ingredients.
"Many former employees we have spoken with have extensive experience in the manufacturing of natural and process cheese products in the state of Pennsylvania,” Jared Wheat, president of Hi-Tech, said.
“We believe this will open many new doors for Hi-Tech as we continue our goal of complete vertical integration.”
Other manufacturing uses for Belleville plant
Hi-Tech's Bellville plant will also be a bottler of liquid nutraceuticals, juices, teas, dietary supplements, isotonic drinks, and RTD beverages. Additionally, permeate that is separated from the whey stream is to be dried and used for food and animal feeds.