“In the oncoming period, particularly in 2020s, the technology will continue it development in the framework of a new industrial revolution, called Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things (IoT); lightless and unmanned plants equipped with machines that can communicate with each other will be introduced.”
Design Development Specialist
Yemtar A.Ş. R&D Center
Every innovation or discovery in technology has contributed to the development, growth and transformation of all industries. For example, introduction of water and steam machines in the 18th century, use of electricity in manufacturing in the 19th century, launch of automation technologies in 1970’s, are the major industrial revolutions that have contributed to the development and transformation of both new technologies and various industrial branches.
Today, the needs of manufacturers, the challenges in manufacturing processes, special demands of customers, the latest technological developments around the world, energy consumption, efforts to minimize costs including workmanship, maintenance and repairs, and the R&D activities of technology companies are the primary sources that lead to development of new technologies in the feed industry, as is the case in all industries. Similarly, the industrial developments in products and semi-products (Pelpeak, extrustion, pelleting, etc.), in the measuring and perception technologies (Loadcell, sensors, etc.), and the substitution of technology depending on costs (metal detectors to replace magnets, etc.) are the other major resources.
However, in the oncoming period, particularly in 2020s, the technology will continue its development in the framework of a new industrial revolution, called Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things (IoT); lightless and unmanned plants equipped with machines that can communicate with each other will be introduced.
FEED PLANT UNITS AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES
1. Supplying, Sieving, Separation and Handling Unit for Raw Materials
Raw materials are processed or non-processed organic substances that may be available at varying rates in the composition of the feed, the final product of a feed plant. The first units at the plants cover the processes to accept these raw materials into the plant, sieving, separation of foreign metal components and handling, and ends with distribution and storage of raw materials in silos.
The main technological equipment used in these units can be listed as follows:
• Rocket magnet
• Drum magnet
• Z magnet
• Metal detector
Stones, Waste, Foreign Materials
• Pan sieves
• Drum sieves
• Stone separators
• Vibro sieves
• Bucket elevators
• Chain conveyors
• Spiral conveyors
• Belt conveyors
• Pneumatic conveyors
• Tube-type chain conveyors
• Flexible spiral conveyors
• Chain conveyor network
• Tube-type chain conveyors
With the innovative grate systems that are designed to prevent dusting while discharging raw materials into the hole, and the pneumatic handling systems which may be used as an alternative to bucket elevators, are the major new technologies which have emerged in this process.
2. Dosing Unit
It is the section where the composition ratios (ration, formula) that are specially specified for the feed type to be manufactured are applied. It is the first step where the feed processing starts.
In the conventional system, the volume dosaging process was performed via the rotation of spiral conveyors under the raw material silos at certain cycles in line with the prompt from the automation control office. In this process, the raw material products aggregated in the dosage scale are weighed with loadceller, and the required amount of product for the next process is prepared.
The hydraulic cylinder controlled and rail dosaging systems used during the dosing step are among the new technologies.
3. Particle Size Reduction Unit
The particle size reduction processes can be performed via various types of machines in the industry. At feed plants, the most common equipment is the hammer mill, and as an alternative or parallel system, roller mills can be used as well. Jaw crushers, pin mills, disc mills, steep mills and other equipment can be used to reduce particle sizes.
In feed plants, the innovative components come into play to improve the components of hammer mills. For example, replacement of hammers due to wear and tear may take a long time, and the easy hammer replacement apparatus and systems that are designed to accelerate this process are the main innovative parts.
Studying the hammer form, different geometries, material structures, and the impact of various hammer sequences and distributions on the milling rotor are among the project subjects at the Yemtar R&D Center. Through a study of the impact of sieve hole types and distribution of holes on the performance, new designs will be introduced soon. We aim to set the technological trends in this area.
Although air locks, belt conveyors, direct flow systems, in addition to conventional type of spiral milling loaders, are considered as alternative, innovative and practical options, the superiority of the conventional system leads us to maintain the existing structure. Therefore, certain improvements have been applied on spiral and magnet milling loaders. Besides, with optimization of the amount of air content in such equipment, they offer benefits in breaking quality and humidity loss. Innovative improvements have been applied in areas including optimization of air supply, spiral leaf structure, orientation of rotation, and angle of flow.
4. Mixing Unit
The mixing process, which is one of the basic functions at feed plants, is handled in machines of various types, as is the case with other processes. Ribbon mixers and paddle mixers are the most common types of mixers, and a more sophisticated version of this system is the double-shaft paddle mixers. The basic success criteria of the mixing process are the ratio of ensuring homogeneous mixture, mixing time and power consumption, and double-shaft paddle mixers offer satisfying results in this aspect.
The innovative approach in this area include improvement of the volume geometry, optimization of paddle angles, and making the drive conveying system more compact, thus improving efficiency.
Can static mixers be used in the future as the main mixing equipment at feed plants?
Yemtar R&D Center conducts research and development activities related to application of this type of mixers, which are successfully applied in liquids, in dust and granular substances.
5. Premix Unit
It is the unit where special ingredients that are added at low ratios to the feed composition are stored and dosaged at feed plants. The indispensable feature of this unit is the requirement for high sensitivity. Its costs and the requirement to determine the ratio in the formula with high reliability makes a more sensitive construction and design an indispensable aspect for this unit. Besides, automation is also very important. A premix unit and dosaging unit that can run with various weighing methods are often driven by small-pitched and driver-cycle counter controlled spiral conveyors. The most important disadvantage of the premix unit is the requirement to manually perform the filling of premix materials in the silos during the initial phase. At this point, adverse conditions such as storage of different premix substances in the same silo, dusting in the environment, the potential staff errors, the risk of foreign substances such as bags falling into the silos, failure to discharge desired products into specific silos, and time consumption of discharging processes, have led to a need for excellence at this point.
To respond to this need, the automatic premix filling system, which we are working on as an R&D project, is an innovative product in the industry, and it is a reliable solution that is preferred to mitigate the problems mentioned above. The patent is pending for the system.
6. Molasses Adding Unit
In manufacturing of ruminant feed, the machine which mixes the powder product with fluid additives such as Molasses or Vinasse, prior to the pelleting process, is called the Molasses Mixer. The name “double molasses mixer” has been derived from the fact that the machine has two rotors. The advantages of double molasses mixer, which is an important innovation, can be listed as follows:
• A homogeneous mixture is ensured with the two rotors which rotate in opposite directions
• The product is fully blended, without no areas that have not come into contact with molasses
• The forth-back movement of the product and the mixing process is performed rapidly and effectively
• 9 ~ 10% of molasses can be added, which is twice the amount in conventional systems
• It is relatively more preferred over conventional systems at feed plants with a high capacity
• Operation costs are economical
• Cleaning, maintenance and repair activities are performed more easily
Double molasses mixers are protected as a beneficial model in Turkish Patent Institute with number 2012/05687. The areas that come into contact with the product are coated with special, wear-resistant, non-adhesive plastic plates. The molasses mixer, which complies with the CE criteria, is installed with flap connections under the mixer, as a conventional practice ad plants manufacturing bovine animal feed. It is also used prior to packaging in various processes. In general, this is applied in areas where molasses ratio is high. The output of molasses mixer is connected to the elevator, and the product with molasses additive is moved to the final product and pellet silos, where it is stored. Since molasses is an adhesive substance, some molasses may remain in the elevator. Having plastic buckets in conveying elevators would be beneficial in this aspect. The product with molasses, and the product which is completely free of molasses, which goes through the bypass line, can be moved to the final product silo group, preferably via separate elevators. This method is preferred at plants with different manufacturing capabilities.
The feed mixture should be baked in a conditioner to ensure pelleting. The gelatinization of the starch in the mixture which is steam-baked in the conditioner creates the binding structure which is required for the feed when compressing it in the pellet press. In conventional systems, conditioners had a single rotor and a single layer, or single rotor and two layers. The most modern technology today is the double-shaft conditioner, which is also known as double conditioner.
It is the preliminary compression machine that enhances the capacity of the pellet press. It is used to prepare products prior to pelleting during manufacture of ruminant and cattle feed. Besides pellet process, it can also be used to manufacture compressed feed.
Pelpeak’s superior features over conventional systems can be listed as follows:
• One pelpeak is used instead of using multiple conditioners, thus ensuring saving on space
• Fluids added to the feed is increased by 3%
• With application of high pressure on the feed mixture, more starch is revealed, and better gelatinization is ensured
• The feed is better compressed
• Pelleting is improved
• Pellet manufacturing capacity is increased
• Having the pellet press and pelpeak at the same level allows better process control and easier maintenance
• It offers advantages in the ratios of total energy consumption/manufacturing capacity for the process The capacity of the pelleting unit is improved by 20-40%, and thus the difference in power consumption is tolerated.
• Breaking of disks is prevented since large items cannot pass through the cone bowls and reach the pellet press.
9. Pelleting Unit
The pellet press is one of the most important and fundamental functions of the feed plant, and pellet feed manufacturing is performed in this machine. The feed mixture which is prepared for pelleting in the conditioner, is turned into pellets by compressing it between a disk and the interface of at least two rolls in the pellet press. Pellet press is the machine that requires the highest level of professionalism among the industrial feed machines, and the competition in this area is focused on technology.
The companies with a strong technical background and a perspective of high technology in the R&D culture, continue to perform improvements and developments on this machine. The technological innovations in this area include a direct, coupled, servo engine controlled pellet press and single-roll pellet press, which are manufactured by several European companies.
As Yemtar, various technological components of the pellet press, for which we hold intellectual property rights, are major innovations in the pellet presses. Examples include our pellet press that features a hydraulic setting system, automatic lubricating system, and other systems, as well as the gear conveyor system, which is an R&D project and more superior than competitors in certain aspects.
We also continue our work on processing data obtained via real-time measurements, and instant optimization of roll gaps.
10. Cooling Unit
Cooling is the process by which the processed hot feed is dried and cooled down via air movements, and the cooling process is performed by coolers. Double-phase coolers is one of the most advanced technologies today since it cools down product in two stages. Besides, it offers the function to hold products during transition of feed. Dryer-cooler is often used to reduce the humidity rate and cooling in products in the form of flakes.
11. Bagging Unit
Bagging scales can be designed on various principles. Examples include the scales that operate through reduction, the gross scales and free flow scales. The most important functions and features in the bagging unit can be listed as speed, sensitivity, low frequency of failures, and easy use. In this context, what makes these units more successful, is the electronic design, that is the automation system employed, rather than the mechanical design. For example, Yemtar’s bagging scales handle bagging at a speed of 12 bags/minute, while offering a sensitivity level of +-0,01 kg to the user. Today, the automatic stacking machine is an equipment which may be considered as a complementary system to this unit. These machines (robots) rapidly sense and capture the feed bags coming out of the scale via the robot arm, and stack them on a pallet.
We also suggest you to read our previous article titled "Innovations in FEED TECHNOLOGIES".