15 May 2008
A Nichols Ltd, an animal feed producer, is achieving 99 percent accuracy for 50 different animal feed recipes thanks to a throughput weighing system from Avery Weigh-Tronix.
The company specified the system to accurately formulate the feed recipes from ingredients held in 13 storage hoppers.
Previously the company used a hand controlled auger system and a scale to weigh out the ingredients. This would typically give formulations to an accuracy of about 80 percent.
With the cost of ingredients such as barley and soya bean 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.
Says Graham Millard, the Mill Manager for the Chipping Sodbury Mill: "The new system gives us an accuracy to the nearest kilogram for each ingredient. 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.
A Nichols has now added a second system to their other mill based in Warmley, Bristol. This uses an existing weigh hopper, which is controlled by an E1310 programmable indicator. This interfaces to a PC and software also supplied by Avery Weigh-Tronix.