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Role of Automation and Industry 4.0 Revolution in Feed Industry

Industry 4.0 is inevitable for both SMEs and large industrial enterprises and we should develop planning, organization, and cooperation as all stakeholders in order to achieve successful results.

Dr. Hüseyin HALICI
Chairman 
ENOSAD

I believe that it would be useful to look at the industrial situation of the feed sector based on the proposal to write a paper about the feed sector. As the human population increases and the societies gradually urbanize, plant growing and animal husbandry became more technological and innovative thanks to the organized, efficient, regularly developing and game-changing developments. When animal husbandry practices were passed from “free-range” method to specific farms and animals were raised for more efficient performance, it became a must to offer them a “balanced” diet. Changes in agricultural production practices that began in the 18th century resulted in better approaches to animal husbandry in the early 19th century. As a result, a constantly growing feed industry was born.

When we look at the development of feed industry in general, the amount of production has increased with the increase of large-scale production areas basically as well as the effect of spreading agricultural technologies such as fertilizers, chemical pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones. This began with the automation of Feed mills in the late 1970s and has since been developed to minimize the cost of feed produced per animal and maximize the production of efficient feed. Since the first automatic feed mill, numerous manufacturing methods such as logistics along with the corresponding technology and software, milled material particle size properties, particle and mixing, pellet processing, extrusion process, post-pellet procedures, process control, and feed transport logistics have been improved in addition to processing. In the last 50 years, the developments in automation elements such as PLC, operator panel, SCADA and Robot have made the production automatic and efficient; that is, it has been automated.
As in every field, in the feed sector, fully automated systems that are independent of human and moreover, the production patterns compatible with the Industry 4.0 revolution are intensely on the agenda. However, a brief summary of the first 3 industrial revolutions before evaluating the Industry 4.0 revolution will certainly enable us to better understand it. And when we examine the industrial revolutions, this process, in fact, arises from the structure created by the intelligence of humankind and its purpose is to find ways to live in better conditions. This is because humankind has not been content with what it had since its existence and constantly wanted to improve its living standards. The human being, who was born to live like every living thing, aimed to live in better conditions and, if possible, to have the works to be done to other creatures and later on to machines and systems.

From this point of view, we see that in Industry 1, mechanical; in Industrial 2, electricity and in Industry 3, electronics are started to be used in the production process. The smart production method totally independent from human has been named as ”Industry 4.0”, using Informatic and Communication technologies along with aforementioned components.

With the development of technology, the era of self-determining and self-assessing production facilities in which all components of machinery communicate with each other, will start in the near future. In this process, the production systems that have artificial intelligence which are defined as Cyber Physics Systems, or as IoT (Internet of Things) is aimed. In summary, when the era of smart machines becomes widespread –we observe that it already has started to become widespread – then the way will be paved for profit maximization for a business with highest efficiency and quality and with minimum energy and labor. Producers who will achieve this more quickly will be several moves ahead of others in the competition. The production through traditional methods will probably lose their competitive advantage in terms of inputs. In this case, they will lose their chance to perform any sales.

Gradually increasing competitive conditions require quality, efficient, fast and sustainable production of goods as much as possible. This will be possible only by continuously checking the cost inputs. There are three main inputs of a production that can be divided into Raw Material, Energy and Labor. It is not likely to reduce the raw material cost. However, a certain amount of energy input can be reduced and labor can be eliminated almost completely. This situation has been perceived accurately not only in developed countries but also in developing countries which are continuing to develop and implement a labor-based production such as China. These countries have taken the necessary steps in this regard. If we want to give illustrate this situation considering the global use of robots, China is the country with the highest rate of robot use across the world. Therefore, not only the developed countries but also developing countries should take the Industry 4.0 concept into account and regulate their production technologies accordingly.

We would like to inform our industrial organizations which want to transform their production lines to automation, especially to Industry 4.0, that misguided investments under the name of Industry 4.0 should not be made with the idea of “I am already late, I will not able to compete”. This is because no system has fully developed the Industry 4.0 solution yet. They should be careful about the persons and companies who claim to provide consultancy and solutions regarding the Industry 4.0 implementations because they may be disappointed regarding the fulfillment of their expectations.

Another detail is that there is no ready solution in the Industry 4.0 process, but each plant will have a unique solution in line with the specific features of its own sector. Therefore, with a good analysis regarding the transition to Industry 4.0, the appropriate solution should be established for each factory. Otherwise, since there is no ready Industry 4.0 solution, the solution to be taken without a good analysis will definitely not be a desired Industry 4.0 solution and investment.

From this point of view, we can easily say that the transition of the feed industry to Industry 4.0, like every industry sector, should definitely be the primary target. Otherwise, firms in this industry may not be able to compete with the other companies that have transformed their production form with Industry 4.0 and may not reach ever the level of these companies in the future as well. In our country, as the starting point, this subject has been started to be spoken at the same time with the global arena, so the right steps should be taken using this advantage. If the necessary steps are not taken and no improvement is achieved, it must be known that what will be encountered in the long term and that our competitiveness will be weakened.

Another very important issue is the question of << What kind of a solution is the most appropriate for Industry 4.0? >>. When an Industry 4.0 solution is requested, it should not be overlooked that the correct and the desired solution will be obtained if all of the components mentioned in the following three groups are provided.

1. Mechanic & Robot
2. Electric & Automation
3. Informatics & Communication
It should be known that if one of these components is incomplete and/or does not work in full compliance with each other, there is no correct solution. Considering the above components, we can see Industry 4.0 as an autonomy system that supports the smart systems with artificial intelligence applications.

When we look at our country, we need a special approach for SMEs as they constitute the majority of our economy. For SMEs which are of critical importance, we have to proceed by creating regulations, incentives and strategies to facilitate the transition to Digital Transformation / Industry 4.0. This is because our SMEs definitely need help about proper implementation of Digital Transformation / Industry 4.0 and creating funds for this purpose. This support should be provided by the state.

In general, we can easily say that this situation will be valid in the feed sector as in all sectors. Industry 4.0 is inevitable for both SMEs and large industrial enterprises and we should develop planning, organization, and cooperation as all stakeholders in order to achieve successful results. Moreover, I would like to state that Turkey will become a country not only making use of the Digital Transformation/Industry 4.0 in its facilities but also improve and implement it through ENOSAD members taking advantage of its geopolitical location and young and dynamic population.

We also suggest you to read our previous article titled "PET FOOD PRODUCTION, PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGIES AND FEED ADDITIVES".

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