How dryer airflow automation can increase energy efficiency

In the production of extruded feed, hot air drying accounts for almost 50 % of the total energy consumption. Naturally, our customers in the industry have incentive to improve fossil fuel efficiency to convert gas savings directly to bottom line earnings and a reduction of carbon footprint.

However, opportunities to reduce gas consumption in the dryers are often overlooked due to anxiety of compromising process- and product integrity. Many modern pet food facilities have dampers, valves, etc. that are locked in fixed positions, arising from an initial equipment run-in phase. If gas savings are to be realized across all products and production lines, active- and online adjustments of process airflow is needed. This is to react towards shifting production conditions and -volume flow as well as product size, composition and recipe.

GRAINTEC’s new dryer airflow automation makes use of information retrieved from sensors placed in air ducts, to judiciously adjust air flow control measures to appropriate positions. This allows dryers to react on relevant processing conditions. “Recent studies have demonstrated that by implementing dryer airflow automation in extruded pet food production, annual gas savings of 3 – 10 % can be realized, depending on processing conditions”, says Anders Haubjerg, Sr. Process Engineer in the Business and Technology Development at Graintec A/S. And he continues; “That is often around a year in payback time, so we do encourage our customers to contact us to hear more – this is a real opportunity to pick the low hanging fruits”.

A breakthrough in salmon farming

New ways of farming salmon are on the way and at GRAINTEC we are happy to be part of yet another groundbreaking project. With growing focus on sustainability and fish welfare, the newest project by the Norwegian Ocean Farming AS will bring salmon farming offshore.

The project has been on the way for a long time, as feasibility studies started back in 2012 and various technical solutions have been assessed. The outcome of the extensive studies has resulted in an offshore farming installation that, as the first in the world, combines marine biology, marine cybernetics and marine engineering with newest data technology. The facility is highly technological and supported by underwater sensors and other backing systems, taking the monitoring of the feed process to another level.

GRAINTEC’s contribution to the project lies in the equipment and systems for the distribution and receiving of fish feed on the facility. Having a slack-anchored, semi-submersible facility floating on the water poses new challenges to fish farming technologies. “It has been an exciting challenge to combine the perfect technology within the limited space we have on the facility, while keeping performance, weight and little energy consumption into consideration”, says Martin Olde Heuvel, Project Manager from Graintec. All operations for handling the fish can be performed directly on board by a crew of three to four people.

Salmar-logoAs a subsidiary of the Salmar Group, Ocean Farming AS has been established for developing offshore salmon farming possibilities. To help fund the concept

development phase, Ocean Farming AS received grants from Innovation Norway. Production start for the offshore facility is scheduled for mid/end 2017.

The use of inshore farming facilities is limited and there is a need for new approaches. By placing facilities offshore, farms are less exposed to tidal currents and the currents are more constant. Also, the fish are less exposed to possible illnesses. It is expected that offshore farming will grow constantly over the next decades.

For more information, please contact GRAINTEC.



Sign up for our newsletter and receive our newest leaflet on Hygienic Design and Sanitary Guidelines

The leaflet includes information about:

  • Cross contamination
  • Clean zones
  • Construction details
  • Salmonella

The sanitary design of production facilities is important in order to ensure safety. Especially in pet food production, demands are high with regard to strict hygiene regulations and food processing standards. Hygienic design of machinery and a factory layout that enhances good hygiene are therefore crucial in order to ensure food safety.

It is not possible to avoid contaminated raw materials from entering the raw material zone of the producing factory, but it is possible to prevent it from spreading. Moreover, it is important to keep the plant clean and dry. It is practically impossible to alter badly designed plant layouts, machine supports and process equipment at a later stage and therefore it must be taken care of in the design phase of any project. A hygienically designed plant will reduce maintenance and cleaning costs.

Sign up for our newsletter and receive a handy guideline highlighting the main aspects of sanitary design!

At Graintec we have many years of experience within the field and we have the knowhow about how equipment, facilities and production plants for the feed production industry must be designed in order to protect animal foods from disease-causing bacteria, chemicals and other contaminants.

GRAINTEC can be of assistance when the potential hazards at production facilities are examined and we can assess the required feed safety plans to ensure that production is according with FDA food safety regulations. 

Our local office in Kansas City is ready to assist you with their expertise in hygienic design solutions for your production facility:

Graintec, Inc.
One Main Plaza
4435 Main Street, Suite 504
Kansas City, MO 64111
United States
Phone:   (+1) 816-621-3000

You can sign up here:


International Seminar at EWOS Chile, November 2015.

During the week 46, GRAINTEC conducted an International Seminar, which took place at the EWOS facilities in Coronel, Chile. About thirty-five attended the event, which included operators, maintainers, supervisors and managers.

The program included presentations by SCANVIBRO, REYNOLDS, GEELEN, FJORDVEJS, EXTRUTECH and also byDr. Georg Szikszay, who is a specialist in Danse Phase systems. Each made an excellent presentation about their area of expertise explaining how to use the different machines, maintenance, operation, good practices, cleaning and improvementson site.

 All exhibitors made inspection in the processing lines of the factory and they also had a roundtable with the operationaland maintenance managers and GRAINTEC to discuss new technology development, suggestions and recommendations.

The seminar was a great success. Knowledge was absorbed and potential future businesses were achieved.

Participants and exhibitors found the organization of the seminar very good, and we would like to thank them all for their valuable contribution to the seminar.

Learn more about seminars and training hosted by GRAINTEC

through our Customer Service Department:

Environmental-friendly solutions to enhance quality and profit in the Aquafeed industry

Within in the next five years, the annual production of aqua feed is expected to make a considerable increase from todays 50 million tonnes to no less than 70 million tonnes per year in 2020. The industry is experiencing a rapid growth in order to meet the rising demand for marine protein. However, a significant growth in production unavoidably triggers a significant growth in energy consumption. This consequence can prove to become rather costly in a world where taxations implemented to prevent environmentally damaging CO2 emissions are increasing. In this regard, the consequence of a heightened energy consumption will also become costly for the environment. Can we really afford that? Therefore, a critical inspection into the production lines’ largest energy guzzlers is recommendable.

goldfish_bowl_dessertOne of the most important procedures during the production of extruded aqua feed is the drying of the pellets. This process will determine the technical quality of the product; its shelf life (especially in connection to transportation), its ability to absorb large amounts of fat/oil, prevent pellet corruption and ensure its ability to either flow or sink when fed to the fish. All in all to ensure the lowest loss of profit. The drying process can at the same time be put down for at least 60 % of the total energy consumption per tonne produced aqua feed, which in 2020 will reach an annual energy consumption of no less than 7,8 billion kWh – corresponding to the electricity use of approximately 781,000 single-family homes per year.

The drying is a delicate process in the production, but with the right adjustments, the challenge can be turned into a competitive resource. Of course, it is easier said than done. In order to ensure a tolerable homogeneity during the drying process most manufactures resort to multiple conveyor belts or multiple vertical batch dryers with multiple drying-zones, retention-time, air volume, air temperature, fluctuating humidity levels and others variables, which with absolute certainty can make the consequences of even the slightest adjustment to any of the parameters utterly immeasurable.

Industritørre-er-ofte-12m-lange-og-5m-højeIn fear of creating incalculable consequences harming the quality of the product, the only variable adjusted is often the temperature of the airflow. Warm air is normally the main component in the drying process, and there seems to be a belief that by adding warmth the quality increases. Unfortunately, the only thing that will happen by adjusting the temperature up and down is the risk of tampering with the pellet’s quality; all the while, the energy consumption may experience a significant increase.

According to the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact, we should make an effort to our environment, as their studies show that the heat level may increase with 4 ⁰C before 2021, which will cause a linkage of harmful consequences. For instant severe water-shortage on global scale and the sea will rise up to 1 meter, causing tremendous damage. Damage that the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report of 2014 clearly states we are not ready to handle. This are surely alarming prospects, however the report fortunately also brings some consolation. “…there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now”. A consolation we believe we should understand as a challenge.

Turn-down-the-heatThe pressing question of how to make quality, economy and environmental friendliness go hand-in-hand must now certainly be of interest to many feed producers. In collaboration with The University of Southern Denmark, Graintec A/S has initiated a Ph.D. project, which has the objective to clarify the correlations between the many parameters involved in the drying process in order to make an eco-friendly solution. Furthermore, it is sought to construct a mathematical model, making it possible to outline and predict the active water content and temperature in the pellets while drying, through systematic testing. The first test results show that airspeed has a great impact on creating a uniform drying process of the pellets – without turning up the heat.

The project is expected to end in spring 2016 and results will be published.

Environment, quality and economy in profitable interaction is what we research to obtain.


Europe’s first factory to convert…

Europe’s first factory to convert sewage sludge into environmentally friendly fertilizer opened April 30, 2015 in Rogaland, Norway.

As the supplier of machines and installation contactor of the process equipment and control system, GRAINTEC was present at the grand opening along with the Norwegian Minister for Climate and Environment and other guests.

Åbning-med-logo IVAR IKS is a water-, sewage-, and waste-company that constructs and operates municipal facilities for water, waste water and general waste and seeks to secure the region`s most competitive water, waste water and waste services.

In 2012, IVAR IKS contacted GRAINTEC in regards to an innovating project. They had the vision to convert seemingly useless waste sludge from sewage into eco-friendly fertilizer pellets by adding nutrients to the sludge when dried. Beneficial for both environmental and economic perspectives. Holding this innovatory premise, tests and pre-trails were conducted together with GRAINTEC and with positive test-results, the project launched.

Not only is the fertilizer pellets (named MINORGA) a great utilization of a waste product that normally would become an expense to dispose of; it is also a sustainable and profitable product, as it is suitable for agricultural use – especially in grain-growing areas.

The production nominal capacity is 10,000 tons pressed pellets per year, corresponding to one production-shift per day, 5 days a week. The capacity can be raised by extending to several shifts.

Engineering and installing the process line for this innovating project has been an interesting and significant assignment for GRAINTEC, and we congratulate IVAR on the opening. Your business is appreciated.

Refurbishing or replacing major equipment – High vs. Low risk

You have been operating a pet food production line for many years. The on-going expenses is increasing every year. Down time losses and product quality is becoming an issue.

Being In charge of production or maintenance, you recognize the need to refurbishing or replacing major equipment like extruders and dryers. You have identified the high risk involved in the implementation of the project including coordinating; downtime; implementation in a running facility; startup problems and commissioning time. All good reasons for a thorough risk analysis and for not making the proceedings due to a forecast of the high risk.

However, your risk is not eliminated continuing producing on outworn equipment. A major breakdown is not a matter about “if it happens” – but “when it happens” with associated risks and costs for not being able to fulfill your production needs for days? for weeks? Or in worst case even for months?

Engaging GRAINTEC in your revamp project minimize your risks! We undertake full responsibility from feasibility studies to commissioned project, including Project Management – Detailed Engineering – Purchasing – Supply of equipment – Dismantling – Installation works – As Build Documentation – Pre Startup Testing – Commissioning and Training of your employees. We undertake the project with performance as well as downtime guarantees.

GRAINTEC is the specialized EPC Company within the pet food industry that has the competences and resources, as well as documented references confirming our successful capabilities. The number of upgrade projects for the pet and aqua feed industries amounts to more than 200 projects.

Contact GRAINTEC with offices in China, Chile, Denmark and Kansas US, for a talk about your challenges


Bulk logistic and gentle handling of salmon feed

In recent years various ways of a more rational and gentle transport of especially salmon feed have been requested by fish feed manufactures and fish farms.

Because of this, Graintec has over the last 10-12 years supplied bulk handling systems for new or rebuilt boats and onshore bulk handling and silo installations, which can bring the fish feed as a bulk product directly to the fish feed barge.

The pellets are stored directly into onshore bulk silos and from the silos the feed pellets are transported directly and gentle into the feed bulk boat and shipped to the feed barge from where it is finally fed to the fish.

Once the logistic chain is set, the advantages of this solution are a more efficient handling of the feed with less need of manpower, profitable transportation time and no packaging costs. Finally yet importantly, the environment benefits of the gentle handling without pellet waste and packaging handling gives an improved green footprint solution.


Fig. The Logistic Salmon Feed Delivery Chain


Presently it is estimated that more than 35% of all salmon feed in Norway is handled as bulk products but this percentage will most probably grow further in the coming years. GRAINTEC will continue to stay in from with smart solutions for gentle handling and storing of bulk fish feed.



“Knowledge Winter Camp” at Graintec Headquarters

Week 7 is winter vacation time in the Nordic Region, most of the schools are closed and a lot of people are enjoying their winter vacation.

For us at Graintec the slower pace amongst our customers gives us the opportunity to host our own internal Graintec “Knowledge Winter Camp”. This winter camp has got little to do with skiing and everything to do with the industry of fish feed and pet food production, where the pace of innovation and process development never slows down.

Graintec_seminarSo this week’s internal Graintec “vacation” equals presentations and lectures on new standards and methods of best practices involved in our processes of: Design / Execute / Install / Maintain – all to improve and share our knowledge bank.

Optimization is key internally and externally, and something our business partners always can benefit from – we also arrange on site demonstrations and education programs in respect to usage and maintenance of equipment and production lines.

Or we can organize customized business seminars at our head office in Vejle.

Contact us in order to discuss how we can assist your organization.


The challenge of technical quality prediction

Figure 1b. Interior of extruded fish feed pellet

Interior of extruded fish feed pellet.

It is important to produce extruded fish feed at a consistent, high technical quality level. But sometimes it does happen that the technical quality become poor, and it is a difficult task to identify why and, more importantly, how one might avoid this in future productions.

 In the next issue of Journal of Food Process Engineering Graintec will publish their latest findings on the identification of structural properties of extruded fish feed and their influence on technical product quality. Only with knowledge of the most favorable structural behavior of the product one will be able to optimize and consistently predict the technical quality, e.g. under influence by the chosen parameters in the drying process.

Follow the news at for notification on publication, which is expected to be sometime soon.