News 363 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Netherlands to test feasibility of feed design lab

Regional Business Center De Oelderse Halte, Dinnissen Processen Technology, Imtech and University of Applied Sciences HAS Den Bosch have joined forces to investigate the possibility of developing a Feed Design Lab (FDL). In this so-called living laboratory it should be possible to produce innovative animal feed on a small-scale for both the intensive livestock husbandry sector (feed) as well as for pets (pet food).

In the FDL the industry should be able to carry out the following core tasks:

Design: Developing and designing new types of feed that match (new) market demands using new raw materials, residue flows from other sectors and innovative production technology. For instance, feed based on brewer's grains or various pallet designs etc.

Test: Being able to test new and existing feed types / recipes for their properties when new technologies are applied. This testing should also apply to the effects of other process technology/steps on existing recipes. In this way a form of reversed engineering of feed and pet food will be created. The aim is to be able to combine various technological process stages as working processes in a kitchen. For example milling, mixing, pressing, extruding, expanding, pasteurising (residue flows), vacuum coating, End-of-Line mixing (for e.g. adding probiotics/prebiotics, flavourings or liquid algae) etc. The FDL should be set up in such a way that new machines and technology can be easily incorporated. 

Measure: In the FDL it must be possible to measure, using sensors and measuring technology, how feed types develop during production, but also what the effect is of the chosen recipes on energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Combinations of sensors and intelligent control systems should lead to optimal production processes for both new and existing feed types and in new and existing feed plants. Other values must be added to the current aim of optimising the price of raw materials and feed components. For example animal health, higher Omega-3 content, optimising vitamins/active substances, energy consumption during production, C02 emission, etc.

Educate: As well as testing, the FDL also has a facility which can be used as a training centre for employees of animal feed companies covering subjects such as process control, maintenance and using modern installations. It is also a base for knowledge development about animal feed for the benefit of educational institutions and the business community. For students and teachers at agricultural colleges specialising in animal and livestock husbandry and technology this will create an amazingly powerful, practical learning environment where knowledge, skill and hands-on experience are united. Around the factory there is space for further development to create a Feed Design Campus.

Regional Business Center De Oelderse Halte, Dinissen Processen Technology, Imtech and Agricultural College HAS Den Bosch have made a budget of €25,000 available to HAS Kennistransfer to investigate the feasibility of this kind of Feed Design Lab. Feasible in two facets; one from the perspective of; "Is there a need in the feed sector for such a development and will it be utilised?" and secondly "Can a business plan be developed for a cost-covering business case, and how?". The leading principle here is a set up where the founding fathers do not place any restrictive conditions on the further approach and the participants in future developments.

The sole condition is a willingness to think in a culture of Open Innovation. Naturally new feed types etc. will be developed under the terms of a secrecy agreement, whereby the knowledge gained remains with the user/principal. HAS Kennistransfer will intensively target all stakeholders in the animal feed companies in order to conduct the feasibility study. To conclude the feasibility study, the results will be presented during a workshop for stakeholders and animal feed companies.

Related websites:
HAS Kennistranser  

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