April 17, 2017

18/04/2017: The pelleting process and the importance of continuing its development

by Tom Connor, Director of Condex Ltd

Since the late 1800s, Animal feed manufacture has become a huge worldwide business and an essential link in the supply chain to sustain our ever expanding and protein-demanding world

Today in the UK alone we produce in the region of 13.3 mT/a of compounded feed (DEFRA October 2016) and 100,000 tonne capacity mills are average size plants.

Our crops are more productive and we are producing fresh meat from ‘straw’ to shelf quicker than ever before.

There have been significant advances in nutrition and animal processing over the last decades and ever more research is being carried out to push the boundaries of possibility for our all-consuming markets.

The demands on feed processing and pelleting operations have subsequently meant these have had to evolve too. A broiler chicken that consumes 110g per day, a pig that consumes 3kg per day, or a cow that consumes over 4kg per day should all be fed the correct diet, each pellet containing the correct nutritional balance.

The pellets should also be hard and importantly durable. Feed also needs to be made at high throughput rates e.g. 15 t/hr, which equates to 4kg/second of feed manufactured.

Failing to do this, and adversely affecting the performance or welfare of your customers stock, can be very detrimental to a mill’s future business. What makes the pelleting process so challenging is that all of the above needs to be assured every production minute, hour and day of every year.

But the following change all the time:

• Formulation - a mill can manufacture 20 different formulations per day on the same line.
• Raw material changes are usually market price governed.
• Climate changes over 365 days, with temperatures variations of 30°C per season.
• Operator ability: depending on education, training and the right experience.
• Machine wear and tear.

A pelleting operation needs to be able to respond to all these changes and still ensure quality consistency whilst operating economically in a competitive market place. In order to be able to deal with this the mill designer, through to the mill operator, must consider the following parameters pre-pelleting: grist size, bound moisture content, mixing CV’s (5 percent being an industry standard) and liquid viscosity and distribution.

In order to ensure a good quality pellet, all of these factors can influence your pellet mill capacity and pellet quality.

Pelleting is a combination of mechanical forces and chemical changes in the product on a microscopic level that ensure all particles in each pellet adheres to its neighbour to provide better durability and hardness.

Read the full article HERE.

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

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