Conference brings panel of experts together to discuss new insights in feed processing
Kemin Industries, a global nutritional ingredient company that uses science to touch 3.8 billion people every day with its products and services, recently hosted a conference on improving the efficiency, safety and profitability of feed mill operations.
The event was led by a panel of six feed processing experts and attended by feed mill operators from more than 20 countries, representing the continents of Africa, America, Asia and Europe.
“Few symposia provide in-depth discussion on the actual process of feed production, yet it’s a critical topic for the industry. Feed represents about 75 percent of the cost of animal production, and feed manufacturing represents about 10 percent,” said Dr. Chris Nelson, President and CEO of Kemin.
“This conference equipped attendees with tools they can use to improve efficiencies in their operations.”
The panel provided educational, practical and business-focused insights that can be put in place to optimise the bottom line of feed production.
Highlights from the series of expert presentations include:
• Ir. Juan Acedo-Rico González of Acedo-Rico & Asociados SL in Spain opened the conference with a discussion on feed technology trends and challenges for efficient manufacturing. He conducted an analysis on the main process involved in feed manufacturing and presented tools to improve feed operation costs, while also maximizing quality, hygiene and security of the feed. He stressed the importance of controlling process weight losses, and to recover moisture losses during feed production. González said overall management and good training of the feed mill operators is key to managing feed production costs.
• Mr. Peter De Cneudt of Spirax Sarco in Belgium focused on “Optimal Steam Quality” to improve press performance. He shared that it is beneficial to use saturated steam or slightly overheated steam. With saturated steam, there is a direct connection between temperature and humidity. This means if the temperature increase of the animal feed after steam injection is known, the humidity of the feed can be calculated. High quality steam for feed mill applications has a low variance in the dryness fraction. Because steam for conditioning can take up to 20 percent of energy costs in feed manufacturing, he believes it is important to carefully monitor steam use.
• Eng. Diego Clivio of Geelen Counterflow in Argentina focused on “Optimal Cooling Process” and explained the theory of cooling. He described it as a process of heat and moisture transfer from the product to the air. He shared that air flow rate and temperature are important parameters of cooling. In a feed mill, air flow can be used to achieve evaporative cooling of pellets and to reduce moisture content of pellets. Air flow rate must be high enough to avoid condensation, and air moisture content can be measured using a relative humidity sensor. He concluded that high air flow rates will give more cooling by heat transfer, but less evaporation, whereas longer retention times will remove more water.
• Ir. Oriane Guérin of Zetadec in the Netherlands challenged the audience to rethink the role of data in feed manufacturing. Data such as temperature, moisture content, energy use and production times can be collected along the entire processing line. She demonstrated the correlation between data and optimizing the production process to reach production objectives and stressed the importance of monitoring process and data collection for managing a modern feed mill.
• Dr. Luis Conchello of Kemin Animal Nutrition and Health Europe shared how efficient feed preconditioning can result in profitable and safe processing. He explained the fundamentals of the Kemin MillSMART™ preconditioning programme, and its role in preparing feedstuff for optimum steam conditioning, pelleting and cooling. The MillSMART programme uses Opti CURB® preconditioning solution, which has powerful surface-active agents to provide uniform dispersion and penetration of the solution. To further optimize the preconditioning process, Kemin has developed an engineering nozzle technology to increase application homogeneity and online control technology to decrease process variability. He described how pelleting under these optimised conditions has a positive impact on hygiene, throughput and energy consumption. It reduces wear on the dies and frictional heat, which is beneficial for pellet quality and durability. Through product development, equipment manufacturing and engineering technology, he said Kemin helps improve the profitability of feed manufacturing.
• Mr. Raf Snoekx of Kemin Animal Nutrition and Health Europe shared the engineering systems, the online monitoring technology, software and hardware Kemin offers to manage process variability in feed mills. These tools can be used across different stages in a feed processing plant to reduce variability and in turn improve efficiency. He said the goal of batch processing is to limit moisture variability to ensure uniform quality. He described how feed mill operators using the MillSMART programme can leverage the online monitoring technology to achieve a more consistent process. He also shared that Kemin Product Application Department (PAD) offers customers customised surveying, installation, system set up, maintenance plans and operational training support. He believes through the MillSMART programme, Kemin makes substantial contributions to improving the profitability of feed manufacturing.