Jun 30, 2022

Renovations & Retrofits: Add Value to Your Facility

Not in the budget to build a new mill but wanting to improve your facility? Focus on these optimizations to give you the most value for your dollar.

Is your facility in need of a renovation or retrofit? Being held back due to a lack of capacity within a facility is a frustrating reality for many feed mills in the country. Although building a new facility isn’t in the five-year plan for many of us, there are intentional moves you can do in your current facility to add value.

When analyzing your current facility, start by identifying the most significant bottleneck(s). Understanding what is holding your facility back from reaching its peak potential is the first necessary step in achieving the best return on your investment. We have highlighted areas where we see feed mills add the most value to their throughput and capacity.

Automated Batching

Batching is the heart of your feed facility. Since feed automation started over 50 years ago, batching was the first area technology was applied due to the importance of this process. Today, automated batching allows facilities to run batching from a computer in the feed room while watching the process on a customized HMI rendering of the facility. Implementing a system that controls multiple scales simultaneously, automatically adjusts free fall and weigh-up settings, and optimizes variable frequency drives (VFDs) for both speed and accuracy is one of the first places we recommend upgrading your facility.

Automation technology is an efficient way to enhance the value of your current facility and equipment.

Micro Ingredient Systems

Investing in a micro ingredient system is one of the main ways to decrease the time per batch, labor per batch, and increase formula accuracy. When deciding if a micro ingredient system is the right move for your facility, consider your space, budget, the number of ingredients used, and the number of species fed. Customizable to your facility, these systems often pay for themselves in 1-3 years. Already have a micro ingredient system? Many of our customers are taking the next step by implementing a 2-6 bin loss-in-weigh style micro system to add medications and other high-profile, essential accuracy ingredients directly into the mixer to eliminate any chance of cross contamination.

Additional Scales

Any time you can weight up ingredients quicker means increased efficiency and productivity for your facility. For example, if your lag time is 30 seconds per batch, that can amount to 2 hours per day and 730 hours per year of lost time due to lack of efficiency. For higher inclusion ingredients or bulk ingredients, instead of running these through a micro ingredient system which may take more time, consider adding in a bulk bag unloading system with a minor tote scale or additional scales to run simultaneously to speed up your weigh-up time.

We recommend evaluating scales and micro ingredient systems as the first place to start your return on investment calculations.

Receiving & Reclaim

Traceability starts when an ingredient enters your facility. When it comes to certain species and formulas, it is important to ensure the right products are put in the correct bins. With automation today, the system can identify which ingredients are in which pins and create a pop-up notification if a user tries to put a product into the wrong bin. These safeguards reduce the number of mistakes in the reclaim and receiving process and allow for smoother and more efficient movement of products through the facility.

Equipment Maintenance & Safety

Having the right information about your equipment and the potential causes for downtime at your fingertips is priceless. Installing equipment hour meters, error event tracking, amp load monitoring, maintenance reminders, and bearing temp monitoring are automated tracking capabilities to help increase safety and maintenance awareness for facilities. Downtime due to equipment breakdowns is frustrating. Automation can help ensure your facility receives the maintenance it needs on time and ahead of a potential breakdown.

Not sure where to start? Contact our team at Easy Automation to discuss your goals and together we can determine what options make sense for you and your specific facility. Visit easy-automation.com or call 507-728-8214 and ask for our sales team. We value your partnership and look forward to solving your equipment and automation challenges with you.

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