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steam. Adding as much steam as possible dur-ing pre-conditioning is thus desirable.Depending on absorbability and other fluidswithin the mixture, and taking into account that0.6 percent of saturated steam will increaseprocess temperature by approximately ΔT =10 K (Figure 4), minimum content should beapproximately three percent (pelleting) to fivepercent (expanding).However, steam input is limited due topressureless operation of the pre-conditioner by the maximum possible feed temperatureand moisture with respect to pelleting (lubricat-ing effect) and storage stability (moulding).To ensure thermal energy is used efficiently,loss minimisation and the maximum levels of steam that can be added need to be consid-ered. Measures for saving thermal energy are,for example, sufficient boiler pressure to allowa drying phase by pressure reduction directly in front of the conditioner, accompanied by anadequate number of steam traps, insulation of all steam pipes, conditioners etc and of coursestringent avoidance of leakages.
The grinding process
With respect to grinding processes, thespecific energy requirement is determined by material properties, the required particle sizereduction, the comminution equipment and the process and plant layout.Generally, particles should be only as fine asnecessary and as coarse as possible, since theenergy requirement rises exponentially withincreasing fineness [Reference 5].Measures to discharge the mill-motor load, such as the preliminary separating of fines, closed-circuit processes or multi-levelsize reduction, can achieve energy savings of between five and 25 percent.Frequency controlled drives allow selec- tive circumferential speed to realise roughly aspired structures and particle size distributions.establishing bonds between feed parti-cles improving pellet stability. However increasing the amount of steam is limitedbecause of crossing admissible moisturelevels reducing the friction in front of andwithin the die channels.
Factors affecting energyconsumption
Considering potential energy savings, specificconditions of industrial compound feed produc- tion need to be taken into account. Increasingcustomer focused production of small batchesas well as intensified use of hydrothermal-mechanical treatment (in consequence of highly demanded hygiene safety) ran up costs for energy consumption (Reference 4).To assess the energy efficiency of a proc-ess, its specific electrical energy requirement(kWh/t) should be related to effect-specificenergy consumption, for example with respect to the refinement process, refinement targetsand capacity utilisation.This would allow general conclusionsregarding specific processability. When comparing different sites withinone company, the balance sheets should bechecked as to whether initial conditions are infact comparable. An assessment always needs to consider not only energy consumption, butalso investments and amortisation, mainte-nance, wear and tear and the cost of spareparts [Reference 4].Influences on energy consumption aremanifold: plant diagram, processing capacity and its utilisation are essential to realise aspiredprocessing aims.Handling hundreds of formulations andproducing batch sizes between 1.5 tonneand 50 tonne is economically challenging.Besides structure of components and mixtureformulations technical condition of machinery and equipment as well as maintenance affectenergy consumption.Last but not least technological disci-pline and education of the staff take effect(Reference 4).Besides material, machine and processparameters, the processing aims determine theenergy input: hygienisation efforts, reductionof antinutritive substances, decomposition of certain ingredients, pellet stability.It is essential to understand that the higher the targeted processing level, the higher theenergy input. Qualitative effects of refinementprocesses are shown in Table 1.In refinement processes, part of the electri-cal energy inputs can be provided by cost-effi-cient thermal energy in the form of saturatedhole – caused by double-stage pelleting, thegap width between roller and die (automaticgap control) or the roller speed. The higher thespeed (or the number of rollers), the smaller the material plug being pushed through thebore, the better the compaction inside theplug.The addition of pelleting aids can bind,for example fatty contents, by increasing thesurface area; this may reduce pellet abrasion.But the effect of auxiliary agents depends to ahigh extend on feed mixture recipes. Frictionreducing tensides or surface active agents may improve pelleting behaviour, too.By facilitating the easier transfer of heat(vapour) through the meal, which is con-ditioned more intensively, surfactants may reduce pellet press energy consumption.Another effect is the possible reduction of undesired moisture loss (shrink) which under certain conditions may give support to raise theproduction rate [Reference 3].Finer grinding of the compound-feed com-ponents leads to larger specific surfaces and thus to more favourable conditions for theabsorption of liquids and the effectiveness of the saturated steam and results in more firmpellets.Application of the saturated steamcreates more favourable conditions for
Figure 2: compiles compactingaffecting factorsFigure 3: Breakdown of energy consumptionFigure 4: Increase of temperature whenconditioning compound feed by means ofsaturated steam
feed miinG echnooG16|July - august 2010