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.



Does your pet food facility comply with the CGMP requirements?

The US food and Drug Administration (FDA) has enforced a final rule that to some extent aligns the regulations for Pet food production with production standards for human food.

The protectionAir-treatment-DSC00014 of human and animal health must always be a prime consideration in the manufacturing and distribution of animal feed including pet food, which is why one should consider the FDA initiative as a positive development for the industry.

However, the new legislation can also prove to be a challenge for pet food manufacturers to put into effect.

Firstly, the rule requires facilities to have a written food safety plan and supply chain program that must be specific to the facility, which is why the complexity of the plans depends on the type of facility. It also requires the facilities to perform analyses of potential hazards and implement controls to minimize the risks. Those controls are also to be monitored and corrected as needed.

Secondly, pet food producers must now, for the first time comply with Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP), mandated by FESMA (Food Safety Modernization Act), which contain major new requirements for the animal feed industry, as they are very similar to the requirements that have been in place for food production for human consumption.

In order to comply with the new FDA regulation, pet food manufacturers are not only facing a significant amount of documentation and record keeping – the CGMP demands that each facility determines which elements e.g. plant, ground, personnel training, sanitation, water supply and plumbing systems, equipment and utensils, operation procedures, distribution of final product etc., might contain hazards or hazardous measures in need of control and monitoring. Be aware that these rules of the new regulation also apply for foreign facilities exporting to the US.

Since the late 1990’s GRAINTEC has developed hygienic and sanitary guidelines on 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 therefore be of important assistance when manufacturers examine the potential hazards at their facilities and assess the required feed safety plans to ensure that production is according with FDA food safety regulations.


The sanitary design of the production facility is important in order to ensure feed safety, since hazards are found throughout the process – from the raw material intake to the bagging and storage of the finished product. In other words, the content of for instance salmonella bacteria or other bacteria’s is dependent on the raw material contamination, the possible contamination from residues in the production line, the entering of raw material dust when extracting air for cooling – and many other variables!Hygeinic-Zoning

Also worth to consider is the fact that the risk of growth of present bacteria is considerable, if suitable temperature- and humidity conditions occur. This unfortunate development is most likely to follow in the production line between the heating step and until cooling has been completed, if condensation and formation of wet layers are seen…

Would you like to know more about GRAINTEC’s expertise with Hygienic Design solutions?

Contact our local office in Kansas City.

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

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.

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.



At the entry of 2015 we have established our ability to operate global on group level. Presently we are executing design and/or supply projects to Norway, Scotland, Spain, The Netherlands, Jordan, Chile, USA, China, Peru and Australia.

The close cooperation between Graintec A/S and the subsidiaries in USA, Chile and China and the local presence ensure close dialog with customers and suppliers in the different regions of the world.

Our scope of supply includes design and supply projects as well as spare and wear parts for extruded pet food and fish feed production.


We look forward to new and challenging projects in 2015.

Happy New Year, feliz Año Nuevo, 新年快乐

Progress in the ongoing innovation projects at Graintec

Ongoing innovation project at Graintec: improving pellet quality and energy efficiency in Salmon/Trout feed drying installations

Energy-recovery-light-flow2We currently have two major projects located in our Business and Technology Development department. One of these is an Industrial PhD Project, which is run by Anders Haubjerg. The project is conducted in collaboration with the University of Southern Denmark.

The project aims to improve energy efficiency in dryers and shall help GRAINTEC to optimize the design of especially salmon/trout feed drying installations with regard to energy efficiency and product quality. The improved design will be available for GRAINTEC’s customers to predict specific energy consumption and final technical quality of produced fish feed pellets, as a response to the conditions used in the drying process. Thus, the key objective in the project is to relate specific energy consumption and expected technical quality to drying parameters; air temperature, retention time, bed depth, moisture content of product, air humidity and zone-wise variations of the aforementioned.

A large part of the project will rely on mathematical models of the drying process to predict the energy consumption. However, models are only as good as their actual ability to predict reality. Therefore we have established collaboration with Wenger in the demonstration of the model behavior on a new Laboratory Scale dryer. The dryer has been custom built by Wenger to suit the demands for validating the new drying model.Fishfeed

The potential of obtaining a multi physical description of parameters in the drying process which give rise to the formation of structural properties in low starch-based, porous pellets constitutes the research value in this project. In the project we have so far established knowledge of the structural mechanics in fish feed pellets, which promote mechanical durability. It was found that particular viscoelastic properties of a pellet give good mechanical durability, when measured in the DORIS tester.



From the project we hope to obtain better knowledge on how to obtain a reproducible, high pellet quality without compromising energy-efficiency. The last few weeks, Anders has been focusing on optimizing the performance and operation of the Lab Dryer:


“I have connected power and steam and installed a fan in the power cabinet, various safeguards anti-vibration utility, and isolation around ductwork. I am now working on calibration and validation of sensor readings for air humidity and we also need to rewrite some signals in the software.”

The project, which was initiated in September 2012 is scheduled to be finalized in April 2016.




Pictures: Graintec / Aktuel Naturvidenskab


New representation in Shanghai, China

Graintec A/S is delighted to announce the opening of our new representation in Shanghai, China 

The new office will focus on supporting our international customers locally and will also develop new relations to the major domestic fish feed producers with particular focus on the activity in Vietnam and the surrounding countries. The office shall also act as hub for sourcing of Chinese process equipment into Europe and the rest of the world. 

The services offered in the beginning are our well known engineering skills for upgrading capacities, improving production efficiency, reduction of energy or odour etc. On the long term we will also be able to offer turn-key contracting.

Mr. Wang Yuan has been appointed General Manager Asia and is based in our office in Shanghai. Mr. Wang has been working 10 years at the Royal Danish Embassy in Beijing as Trade Council Senior Advisor for Agriculture. Before that he worked 4 years for van Aarsen and 10 years in the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.

The Chinese office will be backed up from Denmark by Steen Petersen, Regional Director Asia, and Benny Simonsen, Manager Technology and Business Development.

Locally it will be Mr. Wang Zhao-jun. M.Sc Manufacturing Technology and Equipment for Feed.

Mr. Wang Yuan adds: “I’m looking forward to the task giving to me building up our Asian organization. We will do our utmost to deliver the high quality of engineering services that has been the brand for Graintec over the last 25 years”

Steen Petersen continues: “We also see this as a great opportunity for a broader global approach to search assignments. I’m confident that by getting access to a market of price competitive equipment, we will also be able to further extend our ability to deliver projects in the rest of the world”.