Feed Industry 4.0

Think Grain Think Feed connected with KP Angamuthu, a feed milling expert to get tips on Process Optimization and the latest trends in feed milling in India. Below are the excerpts:
Modern industries are progressing toward Industry 4.0 version; how does the feed industry respond to this trend?
Yes, it is true that the entire industry is moving to a new dimension but even the feed industry is a part of this trend. The feed sector adopted it in many ways like longer conditioning time (even more than 2 min), and traceability from raw material receiving to FG bagging which can be traced on a real-time basis in mobile apps. Also, most of the feed plants nowadays are engaged with end-to-end automation rather than only batching which was done in the past. Also, we launched SMART DIE as a 4.0 Version development for the feed industry.
Please share a brief of the latest technology and modern practices in Feed milling technology.
India has already moved ahead with the latest technology. We at Andritz have already done many projects with such technologies and modern practices like long-time conditioning and retention timing of more than 2 min, twin paddle mixers and high-speed mixers to achieve 3-4 CV% mixing efficiency also self-cleaning mechanism, particle size measurements in the hammer mills through IPQC, pellet durability which already reached to the international standards (as most of the Indian feed milers are giving importance to the PDI in the final product). Also, most modern feed mills are equipped with dust control and more safety equipment in place.
What are the upcoming engineering trends in feed milling?
Higher capacity feed mills are the trend. Earlier the average plant capacity was 10 TPH while at present it is min. 20 TPH or bigger. Traceability is the leading upcoming trend playing followed by safety in terms of equipment as well as people. A lot of awareness is also on quality aspects like CV%, PDI, etc.
Would you throw some light on Pellet mill Die Metallurgy and specifications on the quality of pellet feed?
The awareness of pellet quality is lesser in India compared to other developed countries. Though it is improving but still at a slow pace. Just as an example, most of our South Korean feed plants are using expanders, and double pelleting to improve the pellet quality. The pellet mill die metallurgy is also important, normally, we use 54 HRC Hi chrome steel for dies, but the recent launch is DIAMOND DIE which comes with 3 times more lifetime at a cost of 2 times price which means lesser cost per MT for a feed miller. This is new-generation technology.
What are the critical measures to be considered for proper die management in a pellet mill?
Below are some of the tips for better die management
1. Always fill die with the only meal when stopping even for a short time.
2. Worn deflectors and scrappers cause uneven distribution.
3. Always use new rollers with a new die as old rollers cause uneven wear.
4. Protect the die against tramp metal and remove it immediately otherwise it will again cause uneven wear.
5. Adjust each roller up to the face of the die until it is just touching the high spots.
6. When fitting a cold die in a warm press, don’t hit the die with hammers.
What are the logic and practical benefits of choosing higher-capacity pellet mills (20 TPH and above)?
A higher-capacity plant operates with a lower monthly average power cost like one of our clients with a higher capacity plant has a power cost of 18 units per MT of feed. The practical benefits are lower power cost, lower operating cost as well as lower CAPEX. In the bigger capacity feed mills, the only issue is feed distribution cost, especially in a large country like India where you need to compensate for raw material bulk purchase and storage.
How to optimize the cooling process in a hot and humid climate with cooler automation?
This can be easily handled specially in coastal areas or places like Punjab. In hot and humid climates, a feed miller can optimize by choosing bigger size counterflow coolers and placing VFDs for cooler blowers as well as at some places we adopt steam heating systems for air inlet points.
Is the Indian feed industry considering process automation?
Yes, 95% of feed mills supplied by us are fully atomized feed mills that need only two operators for the entire plant. Until now, we have sold 138 feed plants in India, claiming the number 1 position in terms of MT feed produced through our machines as well as the number of installations.