Food & Feed Processing

Food and Feed Process Engineering. Turn-key Process Design. Equipment Specification and supply. Project management. Commissioning, Start-up and Training

TOVALIA Process Moisture Auditing Service

Hennie Pieterse, hp dezign

We all agree that unnecessary moisture loss during processing can have a negative effect on

  • how the processing plant operates;
  • nutritional outcome of the final product when specific process moisture is required for processing certain ingredients or formulations;
  • overall processing plant economy.  We purchase and accept into the processing plant ingredients at a certain  moisture content.  Losing unnecessary moisture during processing and before packaging or bagging simply means that we loose both weight and money.

Moisture Auditing can help us understanding and managing this problem.  Managing the problem “on-line” helps us to prevent unnecessary quality problems or processing losses.

The Tovalia Moisture Auditing Service compares the actual moisture profile with the measured moisture profile and then propose a technical “online solution” that is both cost effective and feasible. Moist Audit Example

Moisture Auditing Service

Tovalia / hp dezign designed a Moisture Auditing Service assisting customers to map the moisture profile of their specific process.  The service involves :

  1. A Site visit to analyse the existing customer process;
  2. Mapping the desired moisture profile at pre-determined Critical Control Points and based on own and customer experience and requirements;
  3. Measuring the actual moisture profile at the same Critical Control Points;
  4. Plotting the desired and actual results;
  5. Analysing the results to determine the best placement of Tovalia Moisture Sensor(s);
  6. Specifying and costing a solution to meet the specific customer process requirements;
  7. Confirming feasibility of the proposed solution;
  8. Providing the customer with a full report & proposal for rectification of an existing system or installing a new system.

Moisture Auditing ProfileThere are several online moisture control systems in operation in feed mills around the world.  However, many of these are not in use as a result of poorly designed or the wrong type of Moisture Sensors.  Tovalia can supply Tovalia Moisture Sensors to interface with existing factory systems supplied by other Suppliers.  (Please see a seperate Blog dealing with the issue of Moisture Sensor Types)

Advantages to Customer

  1. A first-hand understanding of the moisture profile in customer’s processing plant;
  2. Finding a new moisture management solution or upgrading an existing one;
  3. A full understanding of the required process, equipment and required investment;
  4. A Feasibility analysis confirming the proposed solution has an acceptable payback.

The Tovalia / hp dezign moisture auditing service could in general be executed in 1 to 3 days.  Contact Tovalia / hp dezign to discuss your specific situation and to make a booking.

The Need for Feed

Hennie Pieterse, hp dezign

Feed Selection

The Need for Feed.  We know that the need for feed is driven by the need for food.    Edible protein forms a very important part of our diet and compound feeds are designed and manufactured to produce edible fish, meat, milk and eggs.  A rapidly growing amount of Petfood should also be listed as a driver for ingredients and processing technology to produce food (rather than feed) for companion animals.

The Need for Feed is increasing as we speak.  But what are the real drivers for this trend ?  And how can we as scientists, nutritionists, feed manufacturers and feed milling engineers play a role ensuring that our world and its people will have enough nutritious, healthy and safe protein foods available in the future?  Let’s consider a few of these drivers:

 1.  Population Increase

For many years and with great interest I studied changes in world population.  There are many resources available on the internet with real-time “population counters” based on statistical analysis and mathematical modelling.  One I follow as a source of information is from worldometers.  Another is TheWorldCounts.  I used information from both publishing this Blog.

It took human history until 1800 for the world’s population to reach 1 billion.  From then onwards growth in population happened exponentially as per table 1 below:World Population Growth MilestonesWe count just over 7.4 billion today at a net growth in population of just more than 2 people per second!  No spelling mistake here : per second it is!  No wonder mathematical models predict we will hit 11 billion by the turn of this century.

At the current population growth rate roughly 80 million people are added to our planet each year.  These people need space for domestic and industrial purposes and in the process, reduce the agricultural land space we have available for (feed and) food production.

Global Population Density & Distribution

The distribution of population globally is reflected by the map in fig 1.

It is clear from this map that the concentration of people and therefore feed and food is still Asia-Pacific; the EU; the USA, and some parts of South America and Africa.

2.  Hunger Statistics

The World Food Programme (WFP) indirectly confirms the Need for Feed through their focus on malnutrition and hunger.  Just consider the following:

    1. 795 million people on earth do not have enough food to lead a normal, healthy life;
    2. the majority of the world’s hungry people live in developing countries where 12.9% of the population is undernourished
    3. two thirds of Asia do not have enough to eat.
    4. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence of hunger
    5. poor nutrition causes 3.1 million children under age 5 to die each year
    6. one in six children (approximately 100 million) in developing countries are underweight
    7. 66 million primary school age children go to school hungry in developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone

And this list could be expanded with similar facts from the WFP website.

There clearly is a growing need for feed to produce edible protein products that will provide people with a better quality life.

3.  Global Economy Increase

One of the resources I cited states that the world economy could grow a massive 26 times in this century.  We experienced this trend in recent times by following economic developments in Asia, and in particular China and India accounting for roughly 2.7 billion people.

A growing world-wide population with more money to spend per household leads to a change in the way people buy and consume food.  By now, we are all well aware of the need for foods classified as Organic, Kosher, Vegetarian, Vegan and Chemical-Free to name but a few.  All of these trends call for specific approaches in primary production of commodities and the way in which we process these commodities into high quality and safe feeds for edible protein production.

4.  Environmental & Social Sustainability

We all understand that something has to change or improve in order to secure sustainability of the world we live in.  We have no choice but to ensure we minimise our effect on the environment as we

  • farm and produce commodities for feed and food production;
  • utilise by-products, new commodities and traditional commodities to formulate feed;
  • design smarter and more efficient processing solutions for feed processing.

The role of Food & Feed Manufacturing Technology

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 4.39.16 pmAs food and feed processing technologists, manufactures and suppliers of equipment & complete plants, this topic should be of great interest to us.  We are part of the chain of scientists and engineers adding value to basic food commodities transforming it into safe and healthy feed & food.  We have a direct effect on The Need for Feed world-wide, both in terms of quantity and quality.  As Feed Millers and Feed Milling Engineers we play a key role in providing the latest technology and equipment helping our world to produce Fish, Meat, Milk and Eggs at optimum Quantity and Quality while striving to achieve this at the lowest unit cost possible. 

We need each other in our quest to meet the increasing demand for edible protein world-wide.  We are eager to learn how you are contributing to this goal and are keen to share with you the innovative equipment and engineering solutions we can help you with.

Moisture Measurement Sensors in Animal Feed

Olafur Jonsson (Tovalia)

When producing animal feed, controlling the moisture content is one of the most important control parameters.  Moisture Measurement Sensors in Animal Feed are a very important part of how accurately we can sense and control process moisture.

Moisture content will affect the quality of the finished feed and its shelf life.   Moisture content in the feed will also directly affect the profitability of the feed mill.

It is therefore evident that this parameter should be monitored and controlled to an optimum level at each stage in the process.

Moisture Measuring Techniques

Measuring moisture content can be done by the so-called moisture balance method; this method involves heating a certain amount of material and the weight loss is interpreted as moisture.  This method takes from 25 – 25 minutes and is not very practical if the operator wants to react quickly to changes in the production.

Measuring moisture in animal feed instantly and continuously is however tricky.  The three most common technologies for doing these measurements are:

  1. Measuring the response of Near Infrared (NIR) Light as it is reflected off the materialScreen Shot 2014-10-03 at 7.50.37 am
  2. Measuring the dielectric properties of the material with Electrical CapacitanceScreen Shot 2014-10-03 at 7.50.22 am
  3. Measuring the dielectric properties of the material with MicrowavesScreen Shot 2014-10-03 at 7.50.52 am

The advantage of NIR is that it can measure more than just the moisture content.   It can measure protein and fat.  However, the NIR requires a separate calibration for each new recipe which is not ideal for compound feed, where recipes constantly change.  For pellets the NIR technology has the disadvantage that it is a surface measurement, it will not measure the moisture inside the pellet.

Electrical capacitance is measured at low frequency.  This is the cheapest method.  However at this frequency, the ionic conduction effects are considerable.  The effects of density as well as temperature are also considerable.

The Microwave method for online moisture measurements of animal feed is becoming the recognised method in the industry.   At microwave frequencies above 2-3GHz, the ionic conduction effects are negligible.  The measurements of dielectric properties resulting from dipolar orientational polarisation of the water molecules inside the material are directly correlated with moisture content.  However, microwaves will be affected by temperature as well as density of the material.

There are several sensor technologies or sensor types that can be used with microwave technology to measure online moisture content in animal feed, but the most common sensor type is the planar sensor, or cavity resonator.  This is a cylindrical cup placed on the outside of a silo or chute.

The installation is fairly easy.  This sensor can be mounted on a hopper or a chute.

The disadvantages of this design is that the measurement area is unknown.  The radiation of microwaves into the material is not defined, but rather depends on the material and the density of it.  Therefore this method had 3 unknowns :

  1. the moisture content,
  2. the density and
  3. the size of the area being measured.

It is often estimated that the measurement area is a few square centimetres.   These sensors need to be cleaned regularly in case there is a dirt settlement on the sensor surface, as the dirt will influence the moisture measurement of the material, because the proportion of the dirt will be significant to the total measurement area.

A New Solution in Moisture Sensing Devices

There is a new design of  microwave moisture sensors on the market now, that use planar antennas.  There are two plates separated by a specific distance.  A Transmitter is in one plate and a receiver in another. This device is mounted on a silo or a hopper and the product passes between these two specifically designed plates as it is sensed for moisture content.  This means the measurement area is known.Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 7.50.07 am

The amount of material measured is a cross section of the volume of material between the two plates, which is considerably more than what current planar sensors do.  Effects of dust, dirt or buildup on the sensor are therefore negligible.

As with the planar sensors, this new design is installed in a hopper or a chute.  The requirement for this sensor to work well is that the two sensor plates need to be fully covered with material.

Tested and Proven

This new design has been thoroughly tested in feed mills.  Typical accuracies of 0.4% were achieved during development and evaluation of these sensors.Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 5.52.06 pm

Graph 1.  Comparison of moisture content by Tovalia sensor and the moisture balance method.  In total 71 samples were analysed from 39 different recipes.  The Tovalia sensor used a single calibration for all measurements.

Fore more information contact Olafur Jonsson or Hennie Pieterse at or

Upgrading your Process Control System

Marcel Benes (Inteqnion) & Hennie Pieterse (hp dezign)

A new breath of Life

Many feed mills have been built before modern-day electronics changed the scene on process control level.  Upgrading your Process Control System might beScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 6.55.44 pm one of the best investments you can make.  Better control of feed manufacturing operations offers an existing mill a second breath of life resulting in benefits such as:

  1. Higher Output as a result of Optimised Production
  2. In many cases, Energy Consumption Decrease
  3. Reduction in Wear Part Cost
  4. Increased Quality
  5. Increased Profit
  6. Decreased Human Error
  7. Feed Safety (Track & Trace Options)
  8. Extensive Reporting for Attention Directing purposes

Process Control solutions have been developed for plants ranging from

  1. Feed Mills (Mash; Pellet Press and Extrusion Plants)
  2. Premix & Micro Dosing Plants
  3. Petfood & Aquatic Feed Plants
  4. Grain Handling Installations
  5. Bulk Handling Installations
  6. Flour Mills
  7. Oil Processing Plants

DSCN4269How do we do it?

The first step is to understand what the customer has in place.  An analysis of the existing control system will point out the advantages and disadvantages, keeping into account the customer’s management style and market expectations in terms of end product characteristics.  This information is vital in designing a Process Control Solution that will meet the requirements of both customer and the market served.

We would normally do this by visiting the Feed Mill to examine existing MCC’s (Motor Control Centres) and determine how and if we can re-use some of the existing installation and cabling.

Development and design a of a proper Process Control System could generally be outlined as follows:

  1. Analysing the Process and understanding the Operational Parameters (Process Control Variables) that effect
    • how the Plant is operated (from Drawings and Process Flow & Instrumentation Diagrams)
    • the Quantity of Output from the Plant
    • the Quality of Output from the Plant
    • a visit to the feed mill is vital
  2. Analyse and quantify all Instrumentation & Sensing Devices (field components) sensing the process operational parameters (these output signals become the input signals for the automation system) such as:
    • Temperature
    • Pressure
    • Moisture Content
    • Flow Rates
    • Motor Loads
    • Motor Speed
    • Weight readings from Load Cells
    • Other Signals
  3. Analyse and quantify the Current Electrical Control System
    • especially the MCC’s including all it motor groups, frequency converters and all connected cabling
    • Look which MCC / motor groups can be reused (or leave in place)
    • View if there is enough space to place Remote I/O for connecting signals to the automation
    • Consider if some motors should be more effective when RPM is controlled by a frequency converter
    • Survey the cabling system
    • Position Touch Panels near important machines like pellet presses and extruders
    • Signals from Instrumentation and Sensing Devices are sent to Process Control Hardware 
      • Signal Conversion and Automation via PLC’s
      • MCC’s (Motor Control Centres), Distribution Panels and Touch Panels
      • Cabling & Cable Trays
      • Feed Mill Computer(s)
  4. Design the Process Control System & Software
    • The automation system is built up of the following:
      • PLC’s (Programmable Logic Controllers) PLC’s are used for the direct control of Electric Motors, Slides, valves, etc.  Main operational tasks are given to the PLC which makes PLC’s responsible for the actual of the process and its parameters.
      • SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition).  the SCADA system full fills two main functions:
        1. It gives a Visual Overview of the Feed Mill; all the processing equipment; equipment status (running or not) as well as the actual and required parameters to alarms.
        2. It forms the link between the PLC and the Feed mill Server / PC
      • Process Control Software (Batch Explorer) for overall control of the Plant and includes functions such as:
        1. Administration such as raw material & bin management and inventory control
        2. Formulation management of all products produced
        3. Product orders for fully automated production
        4. Reports covering inventory, production, out loading
        5. Tracking & Tracing from raw material / supplier to finished product / customer (and vice versa)
        6. ‘Batch Explorer’ is a Manufacturing Execution Software (MES) by Inteqnion especially developed for feed mills. More than 50 installations are successfully used by Feed Mills around the world.
        7. Optional interfaces to ERP or formulation software such as Bestmix is possible.
        8. ‘Batch Explorer’ sends its orders through SCADA to the PLC, which will do the actual control of the processing equipment.
  5. Implementation of the Automation Steps above
    • It is our goal to switch from a manual or existing control system to a fully automated system with minimum disruption of operational activities and production output from the plant.

Online Support

The internet changed the world!  It also makes it possible to remotely assist and support an automated Process Control System 24 hours per day and 7 days per week.

Need an improved Process Control System?  Contact us today to learn how Inteqnion can help getting a new breath of life into your existing Plant.

Costs over the Lifetime of a Feed Mill

Investing in a new feed mill or upgrading an existing one may ask for a substantial investment.  It is therefore understandable that feed mill owners and operators take care minimising investment cost.  However, Costs over the Lifetime of a Feed Mill should be the total concern, and not the cost of the initial investment only.

Engineering & design : is it worth it?

Few feed mills find it cost effective employing full-time staff of Mechanical, Electrical and Structural Engineers looking after their need for plant expansion or building a new feed mill.  It is therefore not uncommon outsourcing these services when time comes to expand or build a new feed mill.

Naturally it seems difficult for new or existing feed millers to accept that allocating part of theirCosts over the Lifetime of a Feed Mill investment to the initial engineering & design of their new feed plant or existing feed plant expansion, is worth it. Engineering & design services could be classified as an intangible product.   However, the effect of engineering & design results in a very tangible outcome.  An outcome that may result in acceptable operational costs after installation, or an outcome where excessive operational & maintenance costs constraints the main purpose of the feed mill.

Costs factors

The chart “Costs over the Lifetime of a Feed Mill” was produced by the American Feed Industry Association and applies in many countries around the world.  Engineering & design contribute for only around 1% of the investment over a feed mill’s lifetime.  Even Equipment & Installation cost of the processing equipment and plant totals around 15% of the total cost over the lifetime of the feed mill.  Operational and Maintenance cost on the other hand, could be as high as 50% or more, depending on Engineering, Design and Equipment quality.

A direct relationship exists between operational & maintenance cost and the initial engineering & design (and associated costs) of the new feed mill or feed mill expansion.  We may appear to save money by investing in low cost equipment or a poorly designed feed plant, but sadly the savings turn into costs when unnecessary maintenance and operational costs start occupying daily feed mill life.

Proper Engineering & design

Engineering & design affects a feed processing plant in at least the following ways:

  1. Functionality : the plant must be and should be designed to fulfil a very specific function – meeting and exceeding the expectations of the feed mill’s customers in terms of physical and nutritional product quality.  Failure to create a design that meets functional requirements may make it useless.  Even if the cost of such a design is low.  And let’s face it, even a relatively “cheap” design could turn out to be “expensive” if it fails to do the job!
  2. Downtime : Inferior plant design and inferior equipment may result in unnecessary operational constraints, failures and downtime.  It negatively effects operational and maintenance cost and has the potential to disappoint feed mill customers and even drive them to competition.
  3. Cost : The above chart confirms that initial investment cost is only one cost factor, and that ongoing operational and maintenance costs not only exceed the initial investment cost but continues into the future.

An industry colleague used the expression : “The bitterness of poor quality (includes Engineering & Design of Plant & Equipment) remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”.  Investing into a new feed mill or a feed mill upgrade is a fine balance between saving on the one end but investing on the right end.

We can help you making sure you get this balance just right – Contact us today!

Does a Containerised Feed Plant make sense for what you have in mind?

Hennie Pieterse, hp dezign

Is a Containerised Feed Plant a solution for the application you have in mind?  Containerised feed plants are designed in a modular way, and normally contain all the plant equipment, electrical installation and process control equipment, assembled and installed into support structures the size of one or multiple standard 20 foot shipping containers.

Let’s consider the important advantages, features and characteristics of containerised plants in more detail:

1.  Process & Engineering Design and Functionality

Like we pointed out in one of our previous blogs : whether it is equipment or a processing plant, it is and should be designed to fulfil a certain function successfully.  At the same time we need to ensure the engineering design of the entire plant is done the right way.  A containerised feed plant ensures this responsibility is left to the supplier and his team.  Letting them specifying and supplying all the equipment required in the process as a containerised feed plant, leaves the customer with more time for marketing and general business development before the plant is established and commissioned.  A containerised plant also takes away the customer burden of ensuring that all equipment in the plant is a good match and that everything goes together well at the time of Installation.

2.  Environmental Impact, Health & Safety, and Food Safety

Consumer markets increasingly demand that food is manufactured in ways that ensure minimum environmental footprint,   while creating a safe and healthy workplace for people to work in.  A well designed containerised plant ensures all these issues are addressed by the supplier and that the final food or feed product is of highest standard and quality.

3.  Mechanical and Electrical Installation

Sourcing good quality equipment from one or more supplier is one thing.  Making sure that all these items are installed and assembled in a way that optimises plant performance while minimising capital investment and ongoing operational cost, is quite another.  In many countries mechanical and electrical installation expertise is not readily available.  This may leave the customer with a massive challenge installing all equipment in a professional and timely manner.  We have seen so many cases where customers thought they are saving money trying to do major installation tasks themselves, just to learn that there are many hidden costs and start up delays in doing so. A containerised plant eliminates all this uncertainty.   In a well designed containerised plant, all

    1. equipment,
    2. conveyors,
    3. electrical installation and
    4. process control devices

are installed and assembled at the point of manufacture before shipping takes place.

Cont feedmill 30 th ottevanger4.  Tested & Proven at point of manufacture

Many days and even weeks could be wasted as customers are trying to get badly designed conventional plants and equipment tested and fine tuned themselves before start up can take place.  Substandard electrical installation and process control systems normally contribute most to this situation.  All of this could be avoided with containerised plants as the supplier should test mechanical, electrical and process control installations at the point of manufacture.

5.  Reduced Installation Time on site

On site preparations such as foundations, floors and the actual building that will house the Plant are established while the containerised plant is manufactured.  Once the containerised feed plant arrives on site installation can normally happen in record time.  It is not uncommon to cut installation time by 60% to 80% in comparison to conventional plants.  In the case on conventional plants, unnecessary assembly and installation time and problems getting support structures, transitions, ducting, cabling and other mechanical and electrical materials and services concluded, may lead to hidden costs that are difficult to account for during planning of the project.

6.  No Support Structures required

One of the most beautiful features of a containerised feed plant is that no support structures are required.  The container sized structures that already contains the installed equipment, also serves as support structures for the entire plant.  Plant layout could be horizontal or vertical, and the “containers” are designed to be both structurally and functionally sound.

7.  Lower Building Costs

The containerised feed plant is housed inside a building that has to provide enclosure to the plant without the need to supply structural support.  This simplifies both the design and cost of the building required to house a containerised plant substantially.

8.  Lower Freight and Handling Cost

No special crating and shipping materials are required as the individual container modules are cladded with simple and cost effective sheets that meet shipping requirements.  Once onsite these sheets are simple removed during installation of the containerised modules.

9.  Containerised Plants for any Application

Any process could be designed as a containerised feed plant or at least as partly containerised, whether it is a simple cereal processing plant or a sophisticated compound feed plant.  Plants as small as 3 ton/h and up to 45 ton/h are feasible.

Still questioning whether a containerised plant is the right solution for your specific case?  Contact hp dezign today to discuss your specific case.  Together with suppliers such as Ottevanger and Inteqnion, we can ensure we come up with a design and supply solution that meets your specific needs.

Loosing Process Moisture = Loosing Money!

Author : Hennie Pieterse

Prevention of unnecessary Moisture Loss during processing can save you THOUSANDS……and depending on your specific process, even HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of Dollars per year.

We all understand the pain and cost of buying a certain tonnage of Raw Materials just to sell less Final Product as a result of Processing Losses.  One such processing loss (and arguably one of the biggest contributors to Processing Losses) is MOISTURE LOSS!  Depending on your process, Process Moisture Loss may start taking place from the moment Raw Materials enter the Plant until the Final Product is bagged and stored.  We discussed the effect of unnecessary Moisture Loss in one of our previous Blog Posts:

  1. Operational Effect
  2. Nutritional Effect
  3. Economic Effect

We also discussed how proper Online Moisture Control Technology can help to combat this problem.

In today’s discussion, we want to briefly look at the potential Economic Effect of Moisture Loss.  Selling food and feed products at moisture content lower than what is necessary means the Processor is losing income as a result of unnecessary weight (moisture) loss.  This loss can very quickly & easily run into THOUSANDS and even HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of Dollars per year.

A Real Life Example

Let’s look at a real-life example to better understand the economic effect of Moisture Loss.  The following study shows the effect of several Operational and Commercial conditions on the Feasibility of a Typical Pellet Press Plant in Australia.  Assumptions are:

  1. Feed Mill Capacity [ton/year]                                   :              10,000 to 100,000
  2. Desired Target Moisture Content [%]                     :               10
  3. Moisture Addition required to reach 10% [%]       :               1 / 2 / 3
  4. Sales Price of Pelleted Animal Feed [$/ton]            :              240 / 260 / 280

Figures 1, 2 and 3 show the effect of the above assumptions on Payback Period** of the Investment required to install Moisture Control Technology.

Fig 1 : The effect of Plant Size & Moisture Addition on Payback Period**Fig 1 : The Effect of Plant Size & Moisture Addition on Payback Period

Fig 2 : The effect of Plant Size & Moisture Addition on Payback Period**Fig 2 : The effect of Plant Size & Moisture Addition on Payback Period

Fig 3 : The effect of Plant Size & Moisture Addition on Payback Period**Fig 3 : The effect of Plant Size & Moisture Addition on Payback Period

** Payback Period : Every company or business will have a minimum acceptable Payback Period. Payback Period gives a good indication of risk exposure. The longer a company must wait to recover its invested money, the greater the possibility of a calamity, and vice versa. The shorter the Payback Period, the lower the company’s exposure to such risk.

Logical Conclusions:

  1. For a 100,000 ton/year Feed Plant, producing Feed Pellets at moisture content just 1% below the ideal or Target Moisture Content (meaning 1% Moisture Addition in Fig 1, 2 & 3), results in Financial losses ranging from $240,000/year to $280,000/year.  These figures skyrocket to a maximum of $840,000/year when you produce Pelleted Feeds 3% below the Target Moisture Content.
  2. Larger Processing Plants will benefit the most from proper Process Moisture Management.  However, even smaller Plants show above average performance yielding Payback Periods ranging from 3 to 10 months.
  3. The benefit of proper Process Moisture Management is independent of Sales Price of Final Pelleted Feeds.
  4. There are some advantages not reflected in Figures 1, 2 & 3.  They are more difficult to quantify but include advantages such as optimized Final Product Quality and increased Plant Capacity.  These advantages are key to Market Expansion and Business Growth.

Process Moisture Auditing 

As we explained above, it is important to understand the Moisture Profile of a Food or Feed Process if we are interested in optimizing Operational, Nutritional and Economic Performance of a Processing Plant.  We do that by physically measuring the moisture content at critical points throughout the Process.  Once we have that in hand, we can compare it with the Target or Ideal Moisture Profile required throughout the process.  This information helps us to design a Moisture Control and Management System that will minimize Capital Investment while ensuring the Processor has no Processing Losses as a result of Moisture Loss.

Fig 4 : Typical example of a Process Moisture Audit MapFig 4 : Typical example of Process Moisture Audit Map

hp dezign supplies a turn-key service as well as all the equipment you need to start taking control of Moisture Management in your Plant.  Contact us today to get more detailed information about the study above.  We are also available to assist you in conducting a Moisture Audit of your Food or Feed Processing Plant.


The Importance of Moisture in Feed and Food Processing

Authors : Olafur H Jonsson & Hennie Pieterse

Everyone involved in Food & Feed Processing knows and understands the importance of processing at the correct moisture content.  Moisture impacts processing in at least the following ways :

Operational Effect

In some processing steps, moisture at a certain level is required just to make that specific processing step works (for example, getting feedstock through a specific die size during Pellet Pressing).

Nutritional Effect

Moisture is vital in the Food-Chemical changes that take place and interaction between ingredients during processing, and therefore has a determining effect on Quality and Nutritional Value of the final product.

Economic Effect 

Feed and Food Products are sold by weight.  Producing food and feed products with moisture content too high may negatively effect quality and nutrition and even lead to Mould Growth and other moisture related problems.  At the same time, selling food and feed products at moisture content lower than what is necessary means the Processor looses income as a result of unnecessary weight loss.

I asked my Industry Colleague at Intelscan, Olafur Jonsson, to explain the technical importance of Moisture Control in Food & Feed Processing in a bit more detail.  This is what Olafur had to say:

Optimizing moisture content in feed and food processing is very important, especially from an economic point of view.  Two factors make this optimization process even more important:

  • Raw Materials (water included) have to be used efficiently during processing in order to minimize the cost of ingredients while maximizing income from sales of the final product.
  • Energy prices continue to rise.  This means the operational conditions of all equipment in the process need to be optimized to keep Drying Cost (if applicable) and other Operational Costs at a minimum.

Pellet Pressing is a good example.  Correct Moisture Content of feed before pellet pressing will reduce the energy usage of the press.  However, the added bonus of energy savings is that quality of pellets in terms of hardness and durability has been found to be improved when pressed at the correct moisture level.  If the moisture content before the Pellet Press is too low, the following could result:

  • Nutrients are lost as a result of the increased temperature in the Pellet Press.
  • Moisture Content (and hence final product weight) is reduced as a result of elevated temperatures inside the Pellet Press.

It is therefore important to compensate for moisture loss during Grinding, Cooling and other processing steps in order to maximise output in terms of

  • Utilization Efficiency of Raw Materials
  • Energy Savings
  • Better Physical and Nutritional Quality of final product
 An Innovative Solution

New Technology makes it easier for the Food or Feed Processor to control moisture during processing.  It involves an Online Moisture Sensor that “scans” the moisture content of feedstock instantly and continuously as it flows past the point of measurement.

The solution provided by Intelscan is based on Microwave Technology.  The advantage of Microwave Technology compared to the NIR (Near Infrared) system is that microwave technology is not affected by other constituents such as Fat or Protein.  This means that many different foods or feeds with various recipes or formulations could be measured and controlled without complicated calibration work.

The Intelscan Online Moisture Sensor monitors moisture, temperature and in some cases density on a continuous basis.  These signals are interpreted by Tovalia Software installed on a computer in process control room of the feed mill or food processing plant.  The interpreted values are then used to control one or multiple  Moisture Dosing System(s).  The Moisture Dosing Systems introduce water back into the process at a point where it is of

– Operational,

– Nutritional and

– Economic


The Target Moisture Content at any point during the Process is set and controlled by the Feedmill Operator(s).

Moisture Sensing and Control Systems are designed with specific process requirements in mind.

We invite you to contact us for more information how we can help you control Process Moisture and reduce Processing Costs.Intelscan Process Flow Diagram