Pet Food Processing / Pet Food Market Trends
Bühler Inc., in partnership with Hagen Industries Ltd., designed a petfood processing system equipped with a twin-screw extruder, a hammer mill, feeder, pre-conditioner and a Bühler Aeroglide dryer and cooler that allows Hagen to manufacture small volumes of product.
On November 8, 2013

2013 petfood industry extrusion round-up

Companies stayed ahead of the curve with partnerships, research and equipment solutions throughout the year

Whether they focused on partnerships and solutions, food safety, going green or equipment, companies involved in the extrusion section of the petfood industry stayed on top of the game in 2013.

Bühler Inc.  and Hagen Industries Ltd. partnered to create an extrusion solution that allows Hagen to manufacture small volumes of product while maintaining good operation parameters. The Hagen petfood factory in Waverly, N.Y., manufactures large volumes of dog and cat food. When lower volume runs of small animal food products were required, the facility had to shut down its ten-ton extruder in order to clean and reconfigure the process. In response, Bühler designed a petfood processing system equipped with a twin-screw extruder, a hammer mill, feeder, pre-conditioner and a Bühler Aeroglide dryer and cooler.

"When you need to run a small amount of product, but the process you have produces ten tons per hour, you can end up with a lot of waste," said Hagen general manager Yvan Giguére. "The new Bühler processing line has allowed us to make smaller batches, and this means we always have fresh product." According to Hagen, the new system has dramatically streamlined inventory and enhanced the company's ability to ensure the quality and freshness of its products. The company can now process 1,000- 2,000 pounds per hour depending on the need.

Bühler is applying its knowledge of food safety from the human food industry to petfood manufacturing. With continuous research into the validation of cooking extruders as a kill step for the manufacturing process, Bühler is working to ensure the elimination of harmful microorganisms in customer products. In its food-grade facility, the Food Innovation Center, petfood manufacturers can run trials and perform R&D in a safe, contaminant-free environment.

EverExtruder  released the VR Series 2 system, which offers a complete extruder knife and die system with components including the VR Series 2 cutter blades, self-tensioning cutter hub and carbide-protected die plates.

The VR Series 2 hub and cutter blade are engineered to generate a premium product every time, according to the company. Consistent cutter pressure ensures the product is cut, not chopped, minimizing “fines and tails” in the finished product. The simple and quick change out reduces downtime in equipment servicing, maintenance and set-up. The cutter blade has a variety of 6-blade to 30-blade configurations that will accommodate any production requirements. The knife blades are re-sharpenable and reversible for extended component life making them the smart and economical choice.

The VR Series 2 carbide die plate provides a smoother surface that increases efficiency and performance eliminating “downstream wash,” said EverExtruder. This provides a cleaner, high-quality product and consistent product shape.

Extru-Tech Inc. built a BSL (bio-safety level) 2 pilot plant outfitted with a production-scale Extru-Tech E525 extrusion system. As a result, the company now offers the industry's first scientific validation study of a petfood extrusion system that kills Salmonella at levels higher than normally found in most facilities.

"Extru-Tech is using actual equipment that you would find in most petfood plants in a bio-hazard laboratory or a pilot plant," said Dr. Jim Marsden, regents distinguished professor at Kansas State University. "Raw materials can be inoculated with Salmonella or other pathogens and the effect of the extrusion process can be exactly quantified."

Until now, kill step validation has not been available in the petfood industry. Extru-Tech offers scientific validation focused on the extrusion of low-moisture dry-expanded pet food that exceeds Food Safety Modernization Act requirements. "Extru-Tech is documenting the parameters that are required to deactivate Salmonella in the extrusion process," said Marsden. "There are other production steps that follow where Salmonella could re-contaminate the product. Extru-Tech is looking at those additional steps to identify interventions that could be applied downstream to prevent recontamination."

Geelen Counterflow BV  commissioned a major solar array of over 600 solar panels on the roofs of the company's plant in Haelen, Netherlands. Every year over 125 kWh of clean electricity will be generated for laser‐cutting and welding of stainless steel components for the company's dryers and coolers. The investment is part of "project 50/50" which targets a 50% reduction of the company's CO2 footprint in 2020 compared to 2012, and an increase of 50% in the amount of CO2 reductions the company achieves for its customers by installing more efficient dryers and coolers.

"As a manufacturer of counterflow dryers and coolers we always try to improve the energy balance of our customer's manufacturing processes," said Managing Director Sander Geelen. "But for the energy balance of the earth, the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases causes more and more solar heat to be trapped inside our atmosphere, so land and oceans become ever warmer on average."

The investment in solar panels is only one step towards the target of a 50% reduction of the company's CO2 footprint. "There are many things that companies can do with little investment, that save both CO2 and money," said Geelen. "For example, timers on heating systems, double sided printing, movement sensors on lighting, etc. But even for bigger investments like efficient company cars, bikes for employees, more efficient computers, LED lighting, electric forklifts, improved insulation and solar panels, we always conclude that what is good for the environment is also good for our employees and eventually for our bottom line."

Insta-Pro International  unveiled its new MS3000 medium shear extruder, targeting small to medium producers of shaped, dry petfood products. The extruder is designed for durability, product flexibility, ease of operation and enhanced output, according to the company.

As part of development of the MS3000, dog food was produced and analyzed for percent starch gelatinization. For comparison purposes, starch gelatinization was also measured on a processed dog food from a traditional Insta-Pro high shear extruder, a premium dog food from another manufacturer and a sample taken from an Insta-Pro preconditioner. When traditional Insta-Pro high shear extrusion was used, the starch was highly gelatinized, well over 90%. But when extrusion was conducted using the MS3000 medium shear extruder, the results were similar to those obtained on premium dog food.

Insta-Pro customer service extends beyond the purchase of its extruders, according to the company. As part of being a whole solutions company, the company has a team of people with diverse backgrounds-engineers, nutritionists, technicians, start-up personnel, sales and marketing professionals-in the home office and around the world. Many have decades of experience with Insta-Pro, experience in food manufacturing, and all have a strong customer service focus.

Radio Frequency Company 's  new Macrowave pasteurization systems are designed for conveyorized applications of bagged or in bulk, dog biscuits, kibbles and other dry petfood products.

In a Macrowave heating system, an RF generator creates an alternating electric field between two electrodes. The material to be treated is conveyed through an electrode array where alternating energy causes polar molecules in the material to continuously reorient them to face opposite poles, much like the way bar magnets react in an alternating magnetic field. The friction resulting from this molecular movement causes the material to heat both rapidly and uniformly throughout its entire mass.

Radio Frequency Company has developed a line of energy-saving Macrowave pasteurization systems that operate at 40MHz where the depth of penetration and uniformity of heating are optimized, thereby ensuring effective kill of Salmonella and other harmful microbes, according to the company.

Wenger Manufacturing Co. offers a new high-intensity preconditioner, with two independently driven shafts that allow a wide range of capacities, mixing intensities and retention times, according to the company. The relatively high shaft speeds create radial mixing. Radial mixing at high shaft speeds in the figure-eight design of the HIP chamber transfers feed particles from chamber to chamber to impart excellent mixing. Benefits of the independently driven shafts include uniform hydration and heating of recipe, the potential of increased levels of process steam added to the preconditioner, an increase in starch gelatinization, and the increased addition of meat slurries and other ingredients.

Wenger's thermal twin screw technology was developed for process applications requiring an emphasis on thermal cooking. Specially configured screw elements were complimented with a unique steam injection design to increase the level of process steam incorporated into the extrudate. This thermal extrusion process was coupled with the high-intensity preconditioning technology to give a flexible extrusion system that could vary the ratio of thermal and mechanical energy inputs to optimize processing costs.

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