Petfood Industry - December 2017 - 24
24 | www.PetfoodIndustry.com
➥THE FUTURE OF PET FOOD PROCESSING: ADAPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES
to provide optimal product handling and ensure the best
possible final pet food quality obtainable for every run."
Optimizing production while meeting the needs of pet
food manufacturers is a continuous challenge, but one that
the industry has stepped up to meet.
Bühler Aeroglide's AeroPro
Moisture Control system
reduces time-based moisture
deviation with a control
algorithm that improves
dryer yield and reduces
dryer energy consumption,
according to the company.
Photo courtesy Bühler Aeroglide
"Process optimization technologies have come quite a long
way," said Nick Manley, marketing communications manager
for Bühler Aeroglide. "And with the advent of the Internet of
Things, technologies are being developed that allow processors to be able to manage and monitor their connected
production lines in real time from any location. They can gain
incredible insights into how their equipment is performing,
making necessary changes quickly. They can even use data
collected in one area to improve operations somewhere else."
Drying and cooling equipment answer
today's pet food processing questions
Remaining effective while improving efficiency,
sustainability and safety is one of the ongoing challenges
of pet food processing, and drying and cooling technologies have advanced to provide answers.
"The dryer is typically the single biggest energy
consumer in an extrusion line, so any attempt to reduce
energy consumption or improve the CO2 footprint of dry
pet food plants should start with the dryer," said Sander
Geelen, managing director of Geelen Counterflow. "Early
in 2018, Geelen Counterflow will introduce its new generation of electrical dryers to the market. Pilot line testing
on extruded pet food during 2016 showed that energy
efficiency can be improved by up to 65 percent, to well
below 1,000 kJ/ kg of evaporated water, compared to the
typical 2700 kJ/kg for a counterflow dryer on natural gas
or steam. When the energy for the new electrical dryer is
from renewable sources, the CO2 footprint of the drying
process can be virtually eliminated."
Extru-Tech Inc.'s advanced-feature dryers also highlight efficiency and safety, such as tool-free door assemblies and increased dryer bed floor clearance for easier
access and inspection; a redesigned chute with span
and speed controls for "in-process" adjustments, and
reduced horizontal ledges to allow for ease of cleaning.
The company has also focused on flexibility in its new
designs. "Dryer sections are physically separated to
manage airflow through each conveyor independently,
even within the same drying section," said the company.
The advanced feature dryers also have reversible solidconstruction hinged interior doors that can be rearranged
for sequential drying and maximum process flexibility,
according to the company.
Of course, the equipment must be able to handle
increasingly complex pet food formulas, and today's
dryers and coolers must be prepared to tackle high-meat
moisture levels and grain-free formulations.
"Obviously, if we're going to higher-meat recipes,
there's more water load going to the dryer," said Sunderland. "And meat brings with it not just more moisture, but
it's pretty tightly bound moisture, so it takes a longer time
to dry these products. So, we either need to get a larger
dryer in that area or, if we did a certain threshold in the
meat level (that might be 30 percent or 40 percent meat),
we really need to approach it completely differently.
"And this is where [Wenger has] come out with some
unique lines of equipment over the last four years really
aimed at solving the dilemma of processing off the
extruder some of these ultra-high meat recipes," said
Sunderland. "When we get to 50 percent meat, even up to
100 percent fresh meat, these individual kibbles coming
off the extruder are very, very soft. They're almost like
Geelen Counterflow's mission is to build the best dryers and
coolers for the feed and food industry and to be 100 percent
sustainable in doing so, according to the company, and
enabling operators of extrusion lines to
dry their products without the use of fossil
fuels is a big part of that mission.
Photo courtesy Geelen Counterflow