August 25, 2016

25/08/2016: Feed weighing systems

by, Lukas Bruijnel and Tim Broeke, KSE Process Technology, KSE

The design of a premix, compound feed or petfood production facility has one main goal: how to get all the raw materials into the end product(s); of course in an accurate, time- and cost-efficient and flexible fashion with the desired capacity and footprint, while respecting any contamination groups. And last but not least, within budget.

So there’s of course a lot more than just the one goal while designing the ideal process. That always makes for an interesting discussion on how to approach the design, since everyone in the production process has his or her own approach and requirements. Perhaps the three most important are nutritionist requirements, production requirements, and (of course) commercial requirements.

Nutritionist requirements
Nutritionists need a wide variety of raw materials to be available 24/7 to dose a large selection of recipes automatically – of course with minimum manual interferences and maximum accuracy. This allows the nutritionist to produce specialised formulas without manual dosing, and a lot of different materials readily available.

Developments in nutritional science are producing more efficient compound feed and feed additives (premixes). They are also however increasing the demand for faster, more accurate and cleaner dosing, transport and mixing equipment. Generally speaking, there are nowadays more ingredients and often small doses.

Production requirements
Process requirements depend strongly on the type of production facility. Whereas a compound feed facility may focus on output and efficiency, a dedicated premix facility might focus on maximum flexibility in exotic or customer-specific premix production to serve demanding (niche) markets.

This may allow longer batch times, but require more ingredients per dosing installation, and the ability to dose small and large components from a single silo. Flow characteristics of ingredients are often poor, and hygroscopic materials need to be treated carefully. This indicates different design parameters for storage and dosing equipment. Additionally, these ingredients often are considered difficult for health and safety and should be handled with much care. Minimal operator contact is therefore another issue to face when design a best in class plant.

Many larger compound feed facilities are adding a dedicated premix line, bringing the supply of the most popular premixes in house and thus creating flexibility for themselves. That not only shortens lead time, it also provides a significant economic advantage. Depending on demand, in-house production can also dose in-line, dosing the various additives directly into the mixer.

Some plants find it more efficient to create larger quantities of premixed additives and carriers in one go. Doing so allows larger dosing sizes, and the production of premix when time is available (not inside the batch time of the main process). Additional storage might provide a challenge here, but again each different process and facility will have to prove which way works best.

Read the full article HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine GFMT
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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