Tips for the operational team of feed mill

In Feed Mill operations, capacity utilization & overall equipment efficiency (OEE) plays an important role in optimizing fixed and variable cost. Proper feed operations won’t only save the losses but can also add to feed millers’ profitability. To know more about the topic, Think Grain Think Feed connected with Appasaheb Kate, Sr. General Manager – Feed Mill Operations of Japfa India who is having 28+ years of experience in this field. Below are the excerpts.

You have been with Japfa Comfeed India since the start, would you please take us through its journey in India?

JAPFA Group is a giant from Indonesia, active in Animal Feed Manufacturing in India started its journey in 1999 with the first start of the Artfully Automatic feed mill at Supa, Maharashtra from Buhler with a production capacity of 15,000 TPM. Presently, Japfa India is having 5 own modernized feed mills in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, and Utter Pradesh along with two rented processing units at Chhattisgarh and Assam. The total production capacity is 45,000 MT per month. The company is starting other Feed verticals in 2023 as Cattle Feed in Maharashtra & UP, Aqua – Fish & Shrimp feed production in West Bengal.

It is the first company that introduced Broiler Pre-Starter crumble & Broiler Finisher Pellet / Semi Pellet products in Indian Market along with the FCR concept while rearing poultry birds.

What tips would you like to share with fellow feed millers on cost optimization?
In Feed Mill operations capacity utilization & overall equipment efficiency (OEE) plays an important role to optimize fixed as well as variable cost. Adoption of process automation & interlocking of equipment, use of VFDs, Planned & in-house maintenance, optimizing inventory levels, etc. are the key focus areas to optimize the cost.

Also, the major cost goes into process loss and storage loss, so process monitoring & control is very important to reduce these losses, with the latest technology we are able to control grinding loss, improve pellet conditioning and cooling process, and able to achieve process loss below 0.20% which add on profit significantly.

As observed in the last few months, feed raw material prices have been an issue for a feed miller, but you have to go as per the formulation. Would you please tell us how can we control the cost of production?

As you know raw material prices are going up and are always an issue for the Feed Millers, obviously they will change formulation frequently based on price & availability to optimize raw material input cost by using alternative ingredients for energy as well as protein sources.

So, for this varied formulation feed miller should use a different type of dies focusing on design specification, metallurgy & composition, compression ratio (L/D), counter relief, etc. Also, grinding particle size & pellet conditioning plays an important role to improve the throughput (TPH) of the pellet mill, palatability, digestibility of the feed produced, uniform product particle size, and fewer product fines. Production cost can be optimized by focusing on variable costs like power, fuel, consumable spare part life, and improving production output tones per manhour.

Feed safety is an ongoing improvement, how has the company been adopting it in its feed mills?

Nowadays BIS, HACCP, and FSMS are becoming mandates to the Animal feed industry also, so Japfa is adopting & implementing all food safety standards across all feed mills right from Biosecurity at the factory gate to processing areas. Already we have ISO 9001 -20015 standards in place and got BIS certification for the Cattle Feed plant in Maharashtra along with NABL accredited QC Lab. Now we are working on getting certification on HACCP, ISO 22000, ISO 50001 by the year 2023.

The company follows SOP & standard protocol for safety & hygiene at all factory premises, and process control areas like the use of PPE, swab test, and hygiene audit to ensure feed safety at all times.

Though many major feed players are using feed silos, there is hardly any adoption of silos management. Would you like to share some tips on storage silos management?

Silo management is very important to maintain grain quality during storage, and control spillage & storage losses. Storage of grain should follow stringent quality parameters during receiving like moisture, mould, insect, etc. Grain treatment and the use of chillers during storage are very important to control spoilage due to hot spot generation.

Following are the tips for better silo management:

  • The level sensor should be in working condition
  • The silo should be sealed properly to avoid water seepage from base
  • Aeration should be performed continuously after complete coverage of aeration floor sheets or at least first ring completion during filling
  • The temperature of the stored grain should be checked on regular intervals
  • Aeration should be avoided in humid weather
  • Firstly, the grain should be unloaded by gravity from the central outlet, thereafter with outlets next to the center, and so on till the grain stops coming out. Finally, the remaining grain has to be discharged using a sweep auger
  • Safety procedures like the use of a safety harness while entering the silo should be strictly followed.

What are your suggestions on feed mill maintenance?

Feed Mill maintenance plays a vital role to have proper uninterrupted plant operations, consistent product quality, increase the life of equipment, and reduce spare parts & maintenance costs in long run.

So, there should be SOP, work instruction, Maintenance plan in place, Periodical daily /weekly/ monthly check least should be in place, and monitoring of consumable spares like Die, Press roll shell, hammer mill beaters, screen, etc. should be done to assess the quality of supply by vendor, cost per tonne of production. It should be part of the KPI for the maintenance team. Foremost while doing maintenance should follow all Safety protocols, work permit systems, LOTO systems, etc to avoid any accident during work.

What are the new feed mill projects of the company? Any specific latest technology that is being opted for upcoming projects.

Japfa has a tag line “Make Good Always” so we are doing step-by-step expansion and trying to accommodate new technology, an upcoming Poultry feed project at Assam, Cattle Feed in Maharashtra & Aqua feed in West Bengal. The cattle Feed plant is an imported fully automatic plant with a loss in weight molasses addition system, Aqua feed plant is from Buhler latest technology with Pulveriser, twin screw extruder, Batch coater, multideck Plan sifter, etc.

Being a multinational company, are there any specific tips you would like to share with feed millers?

Safety at the workplace is very important, Japfa work culture is very good, and follows all compliance as per law, follow all Safety protocols at the workplace for both staff & labor. While the selection of Feed Mill Equipment safety should be on priority, a periodical safety audit, and upgradation of machinery with the latest technology needs to be done to improve the quality, efficiency & Cost of feed mill operations, material handling equipment should be used to reduce dreary of labor and cost. Product traceability is the need of the hour.

by Appasaheb Kate, Sr. General Manager – Feed Mill Operations of Japfa India