GA Pet Food Partners (Lancashire, England) is one of Europe’s largest pet food producers. It only produces private label brands which are exported to more than 40 countries throughout the world.
CEO Roger Bracewell of GA Pet Food Partners had, together with his management team, a vision. The idea was to produce a new excellent line of dry pet food products for the top of the market. To achieve this, a special 26-metre-high production plant has been built called ‘Ingredients Kitchen’ that will set a new standard for pet food. It concerns premium solutions, where no less than 800 different pet food formulas with different ingredients must be processed on the same lines … at the ‘premium’ level. And because for premium products, in many cases, premium machines are required, the search was on for the world’s best machine manufacturers.
Teamwork from the individual disciplines
Bracewell did not believe that there was a single total contractor in the market that had all of the technical and engineering disciplines under one roof that could offer the best possible solution for any situation. Therefore, for every part of the installation, individual parties were searched for, each specialised in their own discipline, with a view of letting them all work together as a team. “Only then will you be able to find and work out the best ideas”, was the vision.
During the search to find such specialist companies, Dinnissen quickly came into the picture. The fact that they had devised numerous innovative engineering solutions reinforced the impression that Dinnissen’s professionalism could guarantee the highest expectations in the areas of volume, accuracy and production security.
Since 1948, Dinnissen Process Technology has been developing machines, complete processes and customised solutions for the food, feed, pet food and chemical industries. The focus mainly lies on the efficient handling and processing of powders, granulates and pellets.
Innovation is the basis
One of Dinnissen’s characteristic qualities is to transform daring innovative ideas into working concepts that are successfully adapted for the largest producers in the world.
A nice example of such a successful innovative development is the vacuum core coating process that Dinnissen invented in 1992. Several years later, this was followed by the lean gravity mixing lines and the hammer mill featuring an automatic screen exchange system. These are just a few of the many technical breakthroughs that gained Dinnissen considerable recognition throughout the world.
In addition to GA Pet Food Partners’ desire to only produce excellent animal feed products, various other items were on the wish list: far-reaching automation, a clean and hygienic work floor and ergonomic workplaces for the machine operator. In view of the final result, these wishes have been more than fulfilled.
Scaling up to 60 tonnes/hour
When designing the large-scale installation, which is mainly made from stainless steel, the decision was made to create three separate production lines each with a capacity of 12 – 15 tonnes/hour. In other words, a total volume of 40 – 45 tonnes/hour. This mega-volume can, if desired, be relatively simply scaled up to 60 tonnes/hour, because during the entire preparation phase, sufficient space was left to allow the installation of a fourth production line. As is often the case, the entire line had to comply with the latest Atex regulations.
Complete milling/mixing line
For this project, Dinnissen has built an entire milling/mixing line to prepare the product for the extruder. The system consists of Pegasus pre-mixers, two different Hamex mills, a screen, a check screen, the pneumatic transport, the connecting piping, the transport screws and the bunkers. With respect to the mills, two different types are used: the Hamex 1000-LS-MG featuring automatic screen exchange, it runs at 1500 rpm for fine milling. And the Hamex 1200-HS that, running at 3000 rpm, is used to mill materials that are rich in fats.
An important partner in the entire process is KSE from Bladel in the Netherlands. This company developed the container filling system that fills the containers layer by layer with non-mixed fine and coarse product.
Where it is normal to first mill the product and then to mix it, here it was decided to optimise this process as well and to mix it before and after milling it. During the process, KSE loads a batch of 1500 kg of various unmixed ingredients into the Dinnissen dual shaft PG2400FF mixer. This 2400-litre Pegasus Front-to-Front mixer optimally mixes the batch and unloads it completely.
This means that the ingredients are first mixed before being milled. The reason is that during the mixing process the fines (powders) stick to the fatty raw materials, meaning that later in the process it is possible to mill a ‘dryer’ product, improving the efficiency of the process. Moreover, the mixing time is extremely short, a more homogenous mix is achieved (the coefficient of variation is < 3%) and due to the premixing, the grinding process is better and more efficient.
If a specific product with its own formula is extremely rich in fats, it can be routed to the mill immediately after being mixed. After all, thanks to the optimum mixing, the additives will stick effectively in and on the product.
If the basic product is less fat, then a screen will screen out the fines as effectively as possible and transport them to an end bunker. The coarser particles will be carefully rerouted to the mill. Thanks to them being screened out, the fines will not be exposed to too much energy in the mill, which can possibly lead to them (partially) losing their product characteristics. Therefore, it is only natural that the production costs are reduced and quality is increased. That is the reason that the process sequence was amended.
After the milling process, the processed product is transported pneumatically to a separator, which also transports the milled product to the end bunker. The KSE installation then picks up the next container and fills it from the bunker. The mixed product is then transported to the extrusion line, where the last micro component can be mixed in immediately before the extrusion process.
After screening of the fines and after the separator, sample screws continually take samples, which are checked via a control screen. If coarse particles are present, the probability is that a screen is defective. This is an additional check to maintain the final quality at the desired premium level.
All in all, once more a stunning technical achievement that is being closely followed in the process world.
If you want to receive more information about such high-quality solutions, please contact Dinnissen in Sevenum (the Netherlands). Tel.: +31 (0)77 467 35 55 or go to www.dinnissen.nl.
Dinnissen will exhibit several of these machines during the Victam International in Cologne on booth B031Click here to find out more about Dinnissen Process Technology
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Dinnissen Process Technology is the specialist in handling and processing bulk materials.Complete processes for the milling, sieving, weighing, mixing, dosing, drying, expanding, extruding, vacuum coating, packaging and transporting of powders, grains and granulates.Developed, tested and manufactured in-house. Dinnissen operates internationally ...