Format International has developed a recipe formulation tool which uses a mixed integer algorithm to consider the production parameters of minimum weighing quantity, weighing accuracy and limitations on the number of available silos. It will be showcased at the upcoming Victam Asia.
The Linear Programming technique has been used by the feed industry since the 1970s to formulate recipes meeting nutritional requirements. Whilst producing an accurate solution to least cost, that solution requires manipulation, or "rounding", so it can be presented to the process control system.
This is required in order to decide what to do with ingredient inclusions which are lower than the smallest amount that can be delivered to the weigher (minimum weighing quantity) and the weighing accuracy within the production plant. Automatically applying parameters associated with ingredients to produce a rounded recipe will cause violation of nutritional constraints and a deviation in expected cost, whilst manually steering the result so that it is rounded and remains within nutritional constraints can take a long time and also impose extra costs. Furthermore, the solution may have selected more materials than can be physically stored in the plant. Here the challenge to the formulator is to decide, from all the possible combinations, which sub-set of materials should be used for the most cost-effective recipe.
Format International's innovative solution to these problems uses the proven mathematical technique of Mixed Integer Programming to formulate recipes that remain within nutritional constraints, whilst also choosing whether to include or exclude ingredients which approach their minimum weighing quantity, take account of weighing accuracy and even selects the most cost-effective set of ingredients where more are available than can be used. Significantly, the technique is applied in a multi-product optimisation where availability of ingredients may be constrained by over or under-supply. The company has developed the solver to fully exploit modern, multi-core processors, thus minimising solve time.
Nutritional and production parameters are met in the one optimisation, producing a solution which is cheaper than alternative attempts at resolving these challenges. In addition to cost savings, time savings can be achieved over manual methods of rounding and ingredient selection. Risk of deviation from specification through rounding, particularly through the inadvertent omission of critical ingredients, is eliminated.
Visit Format International at Booth B151
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