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.