Supporting feed millers to overcome challenges faced during feed manufacturing – Satbir Singh, Lark Engg.

singIn a conversation with Think Grain Think Feed team, Mr. Satbir Singh, Director-
Lark Engineering shares his insights about the changing requirements of Indian feed industry, its newer technologies and many more. The company which is based in Haryana, specializes in design, engineering and manufacturing of feed machines and complete feed projects in India.

Please share a brief about journey of Lark Engineering right from its inception.
Lark Engineering started its journey back in 1994 with a feed industry project of 2 H.P. hammer mill. Over a period of more than 2 decade, the company has come a long way with more than 1800 installations in India and abroad including fully automatically feed projects.
By adopting itself to changing industry requirements, the company has received huge acceptance from all its customers may it be a farmer or big commercial unit.
Could you please share some facts about Indian feed industry?
India has the largest population of cattle and buffalo in the world and ranks number one in milk production in the world. The dairy feed industry however, remains highly unexplored and cattle feed comprises only 11% of the total feed industry. The surprise factor in the compound feed industry is aqua feed. There has been a shift in momentum. In past 5 years, with a strong registered growth of 16% shrimp production, feed consumption has also grown at 13% per annum.
Currently poultry feed production (layer + broiler) is 20 MMT which is expected to grow to 40 MMT in next 10 years. Also Cattle feed production is at 8-10 MMT/ year, whereas the present need is approx. 45-50 MMT of pellet feed. The overall poultry industry’s (broiler and layer) consumption of compound feed is only 65%, with home mixers fulfilling the remaining requirement. The feed consumption in this segment has been growing at the rate of 7 – 8% over the last five years.
What are the major challenges faced by feed millers, and how do you support them to overcome some of the bottle necks that they face while producing quality feed more efficiently?
Identifying market needs, price sensitivity, quality of raw materials, educating feed mill operators, savings in maintenance & power are the major challenges in feed mills. Below technologies have been provided to support the customers:
Providing a disc break in the hammer mill to save the shut down time of the hammer mill once power is switched off. Otherwise, it takes about 20-25 minutes for rotor of the hammer mill to stop
Introducing QGA technology in hammer mill and variable cross section ribbon design in the mixer
First Indian manufacturer to introduce rotary distributor, twin paddle mixer, pocketed rotary feeder
Using high efficiency motors and interlocking automation sequences to reduce the power consumption. We ensure to provide high efficiency machines in terms of power consumption per ton of feed i.e. 23 units/tonne in standard broiler feed formulation and 21 units/tonne in standard cattle feed formulation
What is the most important process in feed milling?
Grinding is one of the most important processes which influence the efficiency of subsequent processing equipments like Mixing, Conditioning & Pelleting.
In feed milling, one may need coarse or fine grinding as per nutritional requirement of the birds or animals. For efficient performance of a single machine, performance of a hammer mill depends upon parameters like:
a) average partial size requirement either in fine or coarse category
b) uniformity in grinding
c) preserving nutritional value of the product
Different size of grinding particles can be obtained by:
a) varying the screen size for coarse or fine feed
b) changing speed of motor by fitting a variable frequency drive or dual speed motor or D.C. motor
c) gap adjustment between hammer tips and screens
We, at Lark Engineering are using 3rd method i.e. gap adjustment.
Would you give some tips to the feed millers on maintenance of feed mills?
Maintenance is an important part of feed mill management. The main purpose of regular maintenance is to ensure that all equipment required for production is operating at 100 % efficiency at all times. It must be a part of daily schedule.
To avoid unwanted breakdowns in the feed mills, feed miller should know about preventive maintenance. It needs regular training of feed mill operators. In many cases, consumable parts are used more than its standard life which results in reduced feed quality and affects other parts as well. Like, for an average die life cycle, it is recommended to use 5 pieces (2.5 sets) of roll shells for a better die life and uniform PDI, and using the roll shells & beaters exceeding its recommended life may badly affect grinding texture, conditioning, pellet quality and specific energy consumption.