Top standards in pig feed production29.01.2010 The Belgorod Bacon company is the youngest branch of the Russian agribusiness group RusAgro and specializes in the production of pork. The sharp growth of Belgorod Bacon required the construction of its own feed factory. A short time after going into service, its production capacity had to be more than doubled. Belgorod is the capital of the region with the same name in the southwestern part of the Russian Federation. It is located on the upper reaches of the Sewerski Donez river some 700 kilometers south of Moscow, bordering on Ukraine. With a population of about 350,000, Belgorod is one of the midsize cities in Russia.
The Belgorod region is known for its rich iron ore, bauxite, and lime deposits. In addition to its heavy manufacturing industry, agriculture with 2,000 farms and production facilities is another important branch. The Belgorod region is also an important traffic hub in the Russian Federation. In the surroundings of Belgorod, major international railroad lines and truck roads link Moscow with the south of the country, Ukraine, and Transcaucasia. The significance of agriculture and the good traffic links make the Belgorod region highly attractive for large-scale agribusiness companies.
Pork production is increasing
When RusAgro’s board of directors decided in 2004 to expand into pork production, the Belgorod region suggested itself as a site for hog farms precisely because of its agricultural tradition and its excellent rail and road links. Within just a few years, several such farms were set up in the region, reaching an important role in the market.
RusAgro is excellently positioned to enter the pig breeding business. The Russian Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) reports that pork production in the country increased by 18 % in 2007 and by another 8 % in 2008, to just under 2 million metric tons. For the year 2012, Rosstat expects nationwide pork production to reach 3.5 million tons.
As a consequence of establishing its own hog fattening farms, RusAgro decided to also build its own feed manufacturing plant in the Belgorod area for supplying the fattening farms united in the Belgorod Bacon company. Upon the recommendation of an nutritionist who was consulted as an advisor, RusAgro entrusted Buhler in 2006 with designing and constructing a complete feed production plant – from intake to onward transport. Only the bulk storage facility and the links with the rail and road networks were provided by the customer.
The Buhler engineers tackled the task of designing a feed production facility on the restricted available space which would not only cover the current needs of Belgorod Bacon, but also its future requirements. The engineering schedule was synchronized with the creation of the breeding farms. Belgorod Bacon’s expansion plans were also taken into account.
The plant went into service in the course of 2008. Just one year later, the planned expansion was realized in response to the rapid growth of Belgorod Bacon. Initially planned for doubling the original capacity, the Buhler modular system enabled the capacity of the feed factory to be increased by as much as 120 percent without requiring any major changes to the initial design and without disturbing ongoing production. Today, the Belgorod Bacon feed manufacturing plant produces 44 metric tons of formulated feed per hour – during 20 hours a day and seven days a week. The high quality of the plant components minimizes downtimes and ensures low maintenance. In addition, thanks to the high quality of the compound feeds produced, the installations are also used for handling third-party orders.
Planning for plant performance
In the detail engineering phase of the new Belgorod Bacon feed factory, Buhler’s main aim was to satisfy the customer’s specific needs. High flexibility, sufficient capacities, top sanitation, and optimal operating efficiency were the targets specified for the solution supplied by Buhler to Belgorod Bacon. The plant layout and specifications were established in close cooperation with the specialized consulterst and representatives of Belgorod Bacon.
One important part of plant engineering was to match the new facility to the existing raw materials storage system and the onward transportation of the feeds to the breeding farms. In this, Belgorod Bacon relied heavily on Buhler’s experience in designing a streamlined and logistically efficient product process. Careful attention was paid to short conveying paths, non-intersecting in-plant traffic lanes, and reliable intake and outloading of all materials. The aim in relying on the consulting services of an expert partner was to ensure that all the production lines would produce feed which fulfill the exact nutritional needs of the pigs reared by Belgorod Bacon. In addition, this would guarantee compliance with the legal feed production requirements. Last, not least, the consultancy provided a production manager whose one-year on-site presence after the feed factory had gone on stream ensured that the facility would exploit its full potential.
Engineering – Attention down to the last detail
Careful attention to the specific needs of Belgorod Bacon is apparent down to the last detail. The design of the intake section is such that the raw material can be received in both small and big bags. This will enable Belgorod Bacon in the future to also purchase large volumes of raw materials from large-scale agricultural operations. Furthermore, the receiving section has been essentially automated in order to minimize its manpower requirement. The entire plant and the cleaning section have been equipped with cutting-edge Buhler machinery in order to satisfy the high sanitation requirements.
Grain grinding and feed compounding have been united in a single plant section. This combination of grinding and formulating in a single line reduces the risk of cross-contamination, saves space, and thus increases the overall efficiency of the plant.
A specially matched liquids system with weighing equipment allows accurate metering of water, fat, molasses, and various other liquid ingredients into the Speed Mixer for obtaining homogeneous mixes. This enables vitamins and minerals to be added to the feed blend in a liquid form. Solid vitamins and minerals are more expensive than liquid ones – another way for the customer to reduce their costs.
Top sanitation standards
The “star” in the new Belgorod Bacon feed mill is the pellet mill. In order to protect the health of the pigs reared, it is necessary to produce topgrade feed satisfying the most rigorous hygiene standards. Since its launch, the Buhler HYSYS system has set the hygiene standard in the feed manufacturing industry. The application of the HYSYS system allows the nutritional safety of the feeds produced to be guaranteed. The quality of the HYSYS system is based on a number of factors: the systematic use of stainless steel as an engineering material; the application of the “first-in, first-out” principle, which ensures a uniform retention time for each product batch; and the heating of the product up to 95 degrees Celsius, which destroys microorganisms and salmonella.
Buhler’s detail engineering efforts also covered the onward transportation of the compound feeds to the breeding farms. Exact requirements were specified for the purchase of the trucks in order to enhance the convenience and efficiency of materials handling.
The new Belgorod Bacon feed mill is controlled from a centralized location and fully automated. The automation system supplied by Buhler optimizes production and ensures a high level of flexibility throughout the factory. The entire production facility is operated, managed, and monitored from a control center. The systematic registration of all material streams and the confidence in Buhler quality enables raw material and finished product inventories to be minimized. The transmission of all production data allows timely and targeted purchasing of the raw materials. Thanks to complete automation of the plant, it is possible to permanently monitor the production process and thus to ensure a consistently high product quality. The Buhler control system also ensures that all processes are recorded.