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Automation And Digitalization In Commercial Feed Mills

There are several challenges that can affect the feed milling industry in the absence of automation and sound robust process control systems, with the top 6 been;

  • Ability to fully utilize existing production capacity, in other words your capital investment

  • Ability to optimize your production process and hence less opportunity to minimize production costs

  • Ability to recognised, on time, errors in the production lines, such as inaccurate dossing of raw material, wrong addition of micro ingredients in the feeds and so on

  • Ability to standardise feeds and consistently maintain feed quality

  • Ability to have full production transparency, ingredient and finished feed traceability and quality reports that are available as needed and in a timely manner.

  • Ability to come up with effective maintenance programs and other critical management practises

Automation systems in feed mills and premix plants are an essential requirement, as they a necessary to controlling the production process but also allow for capturing and analysing data in real time. The digitisation of data acquisition is a fundamental step towards real time data utilization which needed to support autonomous actions necessary for optimization to happen. Optimization and improved performance in feed processing, production capacity, leads to improved feed quality, lower production costs and higher profitability.

Additionally, a good automation system provides complete route transparency and control, from incoming raw material through to the delivery of finished feeds to the farms (gate to gate concept) thus providing full traceability and a better, more efficient, error free, feed ordering, feed production and feed delivery process.

Both hardware and software quality and capabilities keep improving and at a fast paste. In many occasions faster than the speed of adaptation of these by the industry. Overall, we all need to step up our understanding of such technology and above all, embrace it. For example, the new generation of moisture microwave smart sensors, digital steam flow meters, vision cameral, latest in PLC computing power and communication, that once coupled with the latest in process control software, all that we discussed in this article, can be accomplished.

For many feed manufacturing companies that are just starting their digitalization and automation journey, is not uncommon to see the focus been around automation of the batching and pelleting process. These provide for:

  • Accuracy and consistency of dossing and mixing

  • Better, consistent pellet quality and reduction in reworks and fines

  • Fast payback of their investment in digitalization

Want to know more about how automation and process control systems? Please contact Agentis Innovations -, +66 (0) 2 653 1147.

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