Hill's Pet Food Opens New Smart Factory

On more than 80 acres, the 365,000-sq.-ft smart facility will increase the company’s production for canned pet food.

Powder Bulk Solids Staff

October 16, 2023

3 Min Read
New pet food facility opens
The new Hill's facility created more than 100 jobs.Image courtesy of Hill's Pet Nutrition

Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a division of Colgate-Palmolive and a global leader in science-led nutrition, has opened its newest manufacturing plant in Tonganoxie, KS, which is about 40 miles west of its headquarters in Topeka, KS.

Located on more than 80 acres, the 365,000-sq.-ft fully designed smart facility will increase the company’s production capacity for canned pet food and provide a runway for continued expansion of Hill’s Science Diet and Prescription Diet brands.

“It’s only appropriate that as we celebrate Hill’s 75th anniversary, we are able to unveil the next chapter of smart manufacturing innovation in the pet food industry,” said John Hazlin, president and CEO of Hill’s Pet Nutrition. “The Hill’s Tonganoxie plant helps set the stage for the continued growth of our science-led nutrition, increasing our capacity and our ability to better serve the evolving needs of pets and pet owners in the United States and around the world.”

The new Hill’s Tonganoxie plant marks a step change in strategic automation and technological advancements in the pet food industry. The new Tonganoxie facility was fully-designed to be ‘smart’ – including:

  • Artificial intelligence to power a digital food safety vigilance system

  • Automation and robotic devices

  • Enhanced food safety systems

  • End-to-end digital process/safety monitoring

The new technology and processes will help to improve speed to market by shortening the production cycle, while also offering long-term flexibility to innovate new formats and products that help deliver on the company’s mission to support the health and wellbeing of pets.

“This investment by Hill’s Pet Nutrition is a testament to my administration’s success in creating a pro-business economy, including for the animal health industry,” said KS Governor Laura Kelly. “I’m delighted our unique Animal Health Corridor continues to expand, growing our economy and supporting communities like Tonganoxie.”

Among the more than 170 varieties of wet pet food the plant will make, it will produce Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d, the world-renowned original science-based formula designed for the nutritional management of renal (kidney) conditions. Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d was recently upgraded this year with a new proprietary microbiome technology that helps reduce harmful waste products.

Hill's new pet food facility

“Hill’s will utilize technology to work alongside Hill’s staff and a new state-of-the-art Mission Control Center to provide unprecedented visibility and monitoring through every aspect of pet food making from ingredient intake to final packaging,” said Chad Sharp, director of Manufacturing for the Tonganoxie Plant. “The production process is an entirely ”enclosed system” from ingredient mixing to cooking and container filling — designed to prevent food exposure to environmental contaminants.”

While investing in its operations, Hill’s Pet Nutrition is committed to making science-led nutritional products in an environmentally responsible manner. The plant has been awarded LEED Gold certification, the first site to achieve that rigorous standard within Colgate-Palmolive. Among other features is a Water Reclamation System that reduces overall water usage by treating and recycling wastewater on-site to be repurposed for future use.

The project has created more than 100 jobs in Leavenworth County.


About the Author(s)

Powder Bulk Solids Staff

Established in 1983, Powder & Bulk Solids (PBS) serves industries that process, handle, and package dry particulate matter, including the food, chemical, and pharmaceutical markets.

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