Jul 15, 2019

The Benefits of Fluidized Bed Mixing

Process reduces product degradation, particularly with fragile materials

Country Junction Feeds has produced animal feed products in Alberta, Canada, for over 100 years. Today it offers a full line of organic wet and dry feeds for cattle, hogs, poultry, horses, bison, elk, goats and sheep.

To improve batch consistency and prevent damage when adding liquids to fragile ingredients, the company installed a fluidized-bed type mixer on its “wet feed" production line.

Country_Junction_Feeds3Dry feed in raw or pelletized form is typically pre-blended in a 4,400-pound capacity mixer. The wet blending process adds oils and/or molasses to rolled oats, barley, pellets and “bull ration” calf feed for nutrition and palatability as well as dust control.

To blend dry ingredients with liquid additions in batches up to 660-pound, the company installed a Munson model MF-18-SS fluidized bed mixer.

"Fluidized bed mixing brought more batch-to-batch consistency than the previous auger mixer," explains Mark Shantz, Country Junction’s maintenance manager, adding that it imparts less shear than the auger mixer, reducing product degradation, particularly with fragile materials.

How liquid additions are mixed with dry blends

To initiate a mixing cycle, an operator enters a pre-programmed recipe at a plant workstation. Individual ingredients, stored in outdoor granaries, are transported by chain drag conveyors to the aforementioned dry mixer for pre-blending.

Blended batches discharged into bins are then conveyed by either of two drag chain conveyors to the fluidized bed mixer. Load cells supporting the mixer transmit weight gain information to a PLC, which stops the conveyor once the preset batch weight has been gained, with +/- 2.2 lb (+/- 1 kg) accuracy.

Once mixing begins, a fluid volume of oil or molasses equivalent to 3% to 10% of the dry premix weight is automatically metered from a 44-pound capacity vessel and gravity discharged into the top center intake of the fluidized bed mixer.

Fluidized mixing zone improves dispersion

The machine's fluidizing effect is achieved by twin paddle agitators rotating at 36 rpm within twin "U" shaped troughs at the bottom of the mixing vessel.

The counter-rotating agitators cause material from the troughs to become airborne along the centerline of the vessel where it intersperses rapidly with liquids sprayed into the "fluidized zone."

Mixing cycle times range from 10 seconds to 2 minutes depending on recipe.

Full-length drop-bottom gates open to discharge blended batches into a hopper, which feeds a filling line for 44-pound plastic fiber bags. Immediately after the bottom gates close, dry premix is loaded into the mixer, a pump refills the overhead liquid hopper, and a new cycle begins.

"We lift the lid and wash out the inside with water," Shantz says. "The interior is smooth and free of obstructions that trap material, which eliminates the need to manually scrape away residue. It’s easier to clean than the auger, and not as time consuming."

Country Junction Feeds is a division of Wetaskiwin Co-op, a cooperative whose local operations in the area include a home center, agro center, food store, bulk fuel and equipment sales, and related services. Country Junction’s feed is sold in Canada, but Shantz says the company is looking at international sales.

Recently Added to Buyer's Guide

Ribbon Blenders

  • 5-cubic-foot unit features special three-piece grate designed with angled and pitched profile
  • All three sections of the grating have position sensors which interlock with the control panel, ensuring operator safety while running

Infinifeed Loop

  • Continuous feed loop system
  • Capacities available up to 1,800 bushels/hour

Loop Conveyor System

  • Can be used to fill and empty grain bins and flat storage structures or applied to feed processing and other conveying applications
  • Available in 8-, 10- and 12-inch diameters with capacities up to 10,000 bushels/hour

BioShield

  • 5-minute ELISA testing kit
  • Use a common extraction protocol for ease of use

Q-Sage Air Screen Cleaners

  • Separates grain by length and size to specifications
  • Numerous flow patterns available to accommodate each unique product and processing need

Vertical Blender

  • For reliable, gentle mixing of friable solids, abrasive materials and shear-sensitive products
  • For processing large volumes where floor space is limited

Magazine

Marketwatch: Aug, 18

US Corn Price Idx: ZCPAUS.CM

open: 6.6945
high: 6.737
low: 6.6326
close: 6.6866

US Soybean Price Idx: ZSPAUS.CM

open: 14.3219
high: 14.4169
low: 14.2107
close: 14.3029

US Hard Red Winter Wheat Price Idx: KEPAUS.CM

open: 8.3035
high: 8.351
low: 7.9626
close: 8.0508

US Soft Red Winter Wheat Price Idx: ZWPAUS.CM

open: 7.3573
high: 7.4048
low: 7.0429
close: 7.0505