The NC Food Innovation Lab (NCFIL) opens its doors Nov. 14. The 16,000-square-foot plant-based food processing and product development facility is located on the 350-acre NC Research Campus in Kannapolis, N.C. CRB, Kansas City, Mo., designed and constructed the pilot-scale facility using a ONEsolution approach.

This facility, complete with state-of-the-art equipment, will serve as a catalyst for plant-based food research and food manufacturing, including growth-phase entrepreneurs, established food companies, venture capitalists and accelerators.

“NCFIL’s strength is in its versatility—this facility will succeed with a wide variety of customers with unique needs and objectives,” says Dr. Bill Aimutis, executive director, NCFIL. “We’ll be able to support start-up companies working to get new products to market, established companies seeking to expand product lines and equipment manufacturers looking to demonstrate new equipment capability.”

CRB leveraged a ONEsolution approach to design and construct an adaptable space to meet current and future needs.

“Our biggest challenge was designing a space flexible enough to support processes and innovations that could be developed in the next 10 years based on the processes that were planned for in the present,” says Pablo Coronel, director of food processing, CRB. “We had to focus on flexibility throughout the entire design and construction process. CRB worked closely with the NCFIL team to define and execute a shared vision for this facility. By using a ONEsolution approach, we were able to complete schematic and detailed design with real-time input on constructability from our trade partners. This approach streamlined the transition from design through fabrication and into construction.”