Process Management

News last update:6 Aug 2012

Traceable accuracy for animal feed

Nichols (Cowmills) Ltd in Bristol, UK is an animal feed producer that is now achieving 99% accuracy for 50 different animal feed recipes thanks to a throughput weighing system from Avery Weigh-Tronix.

The feed company specified the system to accurately formulate its recipes from ingredients held in 13 storage hoppers. Previously Nichols used a hand controlled auger system and a scale to weigh out the ingredients.

With the cost of ingredients such as barley and soybean rising, it has become more important to accurately control their use and improve efficiency. In addition, all animal feed has to meet strict traceability legislation.

Using the old system paper records were kept, but now all the formulations are recorded on a PC. This will record both the normal recipe and the actual formulation used, since if an ingredient is running low in a storage hopper the system can suggest substituting an alternative. The new system has also improved the repeatability of recipes.

"The new system gives us an accuracy to the nearest kilogram for each ingredient", said mill manager Graham Millard. "It is also faster and easier for the operative to use with no chance of error. Using the old system we could mix about three tonnes per hour, now we can mix up to six tonnes per hour."

The system uses a P911 throughput weigher. This uses high-resolution technology to provide accurate bulk weighing of free flowing solids.

An E1310 programmable indicator from Avery Weigh-Tronix controls the system. This stores the recipes and collects and records data and interfaces with a PC and software also supplied by Avery Weigh-Tronix.

In the mean time Nichols has already added a second system at their other mill.

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