Innovations on display at Victam

by World Grain Staff
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270 exhibitors showcase the latest feed and grain processing technology in Utrecht, Netherlands

by Arvin Donley

New and innovative equipment was on display at Victam International 2007, the triennial trade show held May 8-10 at Jaarbeurs Halls in Utrecht, Netherlands. The three-day event attracted 270 exhibitors. Although the official attendance figure was not available at press time, event organizers said there were more visitors at this year’s event than in 2004, including a larger turnout from Eastern Europe and the Middle East than in past years.

The latest products and services for the feed industry as well as other agribusiness sectors were featured at Victam International 2007.

Three companies in particular were cited for their development of cutting-edge technology. A five-person panel handed out three awards — gold, silver and bronze — for technical innovation. Twenty-five items were presented to the panel for consideration by companies exhibiting at Victam.

The panel made its judgment based on the following criteria: newness, originality, fundamental principles, importance to the sector and complexity.

An energy efficiency indicator for dryer/cooler systems manufactured by Geelen Counterflow, Roermond, the Netherlands, was the winner of the Victam International 2007 Innovation Gold Award.

Geelen’s Energy Efficient Indicator (EEI) gives operators a visual and numerical indication of the efficiency of the cur- rent drying process. On the control display, the operator can check how many kilojoules (kJ) of energy are being consumed by the dryer for every kilogram (kg) of water that is evaporated. This unit of measure is the critical indicator of efficiency for every dryer.

The panel, organized by Feed Tech magazine, unanimously placed the EEI at the top of its list.

"The system measures energy and moisture, which are very important items in today’s modern feed production, not only from a cost perspective but also from a quality perspective," the panel said. "The EEI measures all the drying variables in real time, which gives the operator the possibility to immediately adjust the drying process to the quality standards needed. Even in an already efficient counterflow cooler, an extra 10% energy efficiency can be obtained."

The Silver Award went to Imtech Projects, Coevorden, the Netherlands, for its Magicon flexible feed production system. The panel noted that Magicon is able to produce a wide variety of feed products, and it supports and enhances the design of any totally new feed products.

Another company based in the Netherlands, Roca Systems, received the Bronze Award for its fine dosing system, RS-Safemix, for mixing outside the feed plant. The system allows the feed miller to register and track where a byproduct was added, with what dosing system, and by whom it was filled and delivered. The panel said that until now, only manual and difficult-to-control systems have existed.

Five technical conferences were held in parallel with Victam: Petfood Forum Europe 2007; Provimi Symposium: Optimizing Profit Through Research and Nutrition; Aquafeed Horizons; ATEX Symposium; and Biomass Pelleting.

The Aquafeed Horizons Conference, which attracted 160 delegates, featured 21 presentations over a two-day period.

New research on the effect of fishmeal quality on finished feed was presented by Andreas Samuelson, senior scientist with Fiskeriforskning, the Norwegian Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture Research.

Samuelson said the research can be used by the aquatic feed industry to better understand and correct the observed variance in extrusion properties and pellet quality, and to improve the product specifications used by fish meal producers and purchasers.

He said the extrusion properties of fish meals produced with different industrial raw materials and drying technologies were investigated, and both the water soluble protein level and the physical shape of the fishmeal particles were found to have a significant effect on the melt viscosity and thereby dissipation of mechanical energy in the extruder barrel. From this, empirical models for prediction of feed pellet quality were established.

Also of note was a presentation by Ernest Papadoyianis, chief executive officer of Neptune Industries, Inc., about research that is under way with high-quality protein meal derived from insects, called Ento-protein.

He noted that world aquaculture production is projected to grow from 45% to more than 70% of the world’s seafood consumption within the next 20 years.

With fisheries stocks declining and world population increasing, the pressure on wild stocks, and particularly baitfish stocks, will increase dramatically.

Papadoyianis said that in order to expand and succeed in the future, the industry must develop an independence from fish meal and wild stocks. Diet ingredients, he said, must be produced from sustainable sources to allow the unhindered expansion of global seafood production.

Many different sources of proteins have been explored in the quest to find a suitable replacement for fishmeal in aquafeed, he said. The difficulty is that most carnivorous species require a highquality, animal-based protein source.

Papadoyianis said insects are naturally consumed in nature by most freshwater species and represent one of the finest animal protein sources available. He said controlled mass production of select insect species can produce a high-quality, sustainable protein substitute for fish and livestock diets. Additionally, the controlled production of Ento-protein can provide an organic dietary source for certified organic seafood diets.

Proceedings of the Aquafeed Horizons Conference will be available at

The Provimi Symposium drew 230 delegates and featured several prominent speakers, including Alexander Döring, secretary general of the European Feed Manufacturer’s Federation (FEFAC). Doring shared his thoughts on a variety of issues affecting the European Union (E.U.)-27 feed industry, which produced 143 million tonnes of compound feed in 2006.

He talked about the E.U. Commission being poised to take gradual steps to lift the E.U.-wide feed ban that was implemented in 2001 following several highly publicized BSE cases. He said the E.U. Commission in the upcoming months is expected to propose the elimination of restrictions in the use of fishmeal/hydrolisates for young ruminants and the reauthorization of bloodmeal for fishfeed and blood products from non-ruminant origin in feed for all species.

FEFAC’s position on the E.U. feed ban, according to Döring, is that it needs to remain in place for five more years to exclude feed from being considered a key vector for transmission of BSE for FYARB (five-years-after-realban) cases. He also noted that crosscontamination remains a problem and that dedicated feed plants can only deliver partial answers, since multipurpose feed mills remain the norm in most E.U. countries.

With regard to biofuels and its growing impact on the feed industry, Döring said meeting the demand of the food and feed industries should remain the E.U.’s top priority and that he is concerned subsidies for the biofuels industry will create an "uneven playing field."

He said the biofuels industry must pay serious attention to the safety of their byproducts used for feed, particularly when they are sold directly to onfarm mixers.

Döring also noted that FEFAC will become a member of the recently formed Global Roundtable of Respon- sible Soy (RTRS), which was formed to promote the economically viable, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable production, processing and trading of soy, a key feed ingredient used worldwide.

He said FEFAC would appoint experts from the feed industry to participate in RTRS working groups.

Representatives from feed mills and other grain processing facilities affected by the new ATEX Directive attended the ATEX Symposium on May 9.

The ATEX Directive is a new regulation for the E.U. that applies to facilities where there is a risk of gas or dust explosions. The symposium gave those in attendance a practical guideline for how the regulations can be implemented in European facilities in the most cost-effective manner. ATEX Symposium participants also learned about dust explosion prevention as well as solutions to reduce the effects of a dust explosion.

The impact of biofuels on the feed industry was a hot topic on the Victam trade show floor as well as in the technical conferences. The Biomass Pelleting Conference, held May 10, focused on possible solutions for meeting the increasing demand for pellets in the bio-energy sector. Speakers focused on the state of the pellet market and on ways to increase supply.

Christian Rakos of proPellets Austria noted that biomass pellet demand for home heating and electricity production in power plants was on the rise in both the E.U. and the United States (U.S.). However, he added that shortages and sharp prices increases in 2006 have seriously affected domestic heating markets and that booming pellet production could create potential oversupply.

Proceedings from the conference are available at

On May 8, petfood manufacturers, marketers and suppliers gathered for Petfood Forum Europe 2007, which featured presentations on a wide range of topics including: European petfood sales trends; links between nutrition and longevity; palatability testing; niche markets; product innovations and new and functional ingredients.