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Changes to Our Production Facilities Add Capacity and Efficiencies

Chemstar has been in the starch production business for nearly 50 years. During that time we’ve opened three production facilities, each with unique production capabilities, product line focuses, geographic advantages and experienced starch engineers who put our science to work for our customers.

Each facility is also undergoing exciting changes meant to increase capacity, enhance efficiency and provide more value for our customers. In order to be the best production partner we can be, we wanted to give you a better understanding of these changes and what they mean. With that said, here is what you should know about each Chemstar plant:


Brookhaven, MS

Our Brookhaven facility originally opened in 2002 and was created primarily to develop products for the construction materials industry. It features a prime location on a major rail line and near a major interstate system for easy transportation of raw materials and finished product.

Operations consist of two distinct process lines – dry reaction and drum drying – with a combined annual capacity of 10 million pounds of product. We’re currently undertaking process changes that will result in a wider range of product offerings for all markets, with greater efficiencies. Along with these changes, we also have plans to more than triple current capacity to 35 million pounds.

With Brookhaven so focused on the construction materials market, we’re pleased to see recent reports that 2012 was the best year for new residential construction in the past four years. Our increase in construction capacity should coincide with a stronger demand for construction materials. Our production enhancements, combined with the optimistic outlook on the housing industry, make us very excited about the future of our Brookhaven facility.


McPherson, KS

This is our first and largest facility. Originally designed to produce product for the oil fields, it was originally commissioned in 1965 and was later expanded in the 1970s and 1980s. Its extruder and drum dryer processes support three product lines. Current capacity is approximately 40 million pounds per year combined between our extrusion and drum drying lines.  The drum dryer can produce a range of products – from pre-gel starches to complex derivative products.

We installed our first automated packaging and sealed bag line in McPherson – which provides a better finished package for our customers through enhanced filling, stacking, wrapping and loading efficiencies. This will eventually be rolled out at all our product facilities. From a geographic standpoint, McPherson is in the heart of the country and serves bulk rail customers. Set nearly half-way between TX and ND, it has excellent proximity to major oil fields, with easy access to West Coast and Gulf of Mexico ports as well.


Carlton, MN

This is our smallest plant, but it packs a lot of capacity in a small footprint. Opened in 1979, it’s strictly a drum dryer plant with approximately 24 million pounds of capacity per year. Production is dedicated exclusively to the oil industry, and is our main export facility to Canada and Europe. With its close proximity to our primary R&D headquarters, it is where we ramp up production on new lines.  We’re currently running our first pilot project on a standardized batch control method called S88. We’ll explore S88 in greater detail in future blogs, but we expect it to provide tremendous value for Chemstar and our customers in terms of improved consistency, quality and communication.

Finally, while each of our plants primarily focuses on one or two product lines, all have the capability to utilize complex pressure and temperature process systems to produce customized and unique products. We also made a strategic decision to build production redundancy into our operations. Our equipment, production processes and employee training allow us to shift production to other facilities should a major disruption occur at one facility.


If you would like to learn more about any of our production facilities, please feel free to get in touch with me. We’d be happy to provide more information or have you visit a facility if your schedule allows.


-Jim Werler