Demand is strong throughout the world for expansion and new construction of feed mills, according to respondents of a recent World Grain survey of equipment suppliers.
This comes as no surprise given the 14.6% growth experienced by the feed industry over the past five years, according to Alltech, which completes a Global Feed Survey each year. In 2018, global feed production increased by 3% to a record 1.103 billion tonnes, exceeding 1 billion tonnes for the third consecutive year. As the middle class grows throughout the world, so is the overall protein consumption.
In addition to feed mills, suppliers report strong demand for ethanol plants, specialty drying, soy processing and barley malt storage for breweries.
Suppliers report business is particularly active in Southeast Asia, notably Thailand, and Eastern Europe, particularly Ukraine and Russia, as well as Africa, Canada and Latin America.
No matter the location, customers across the world are wanting larger and larger facilities that will last. Taller silos increasingly are requested to maximize high turnover per square meter. Because land is often at a premium, customers want tall silos with smaller diameters to conserve space without sacrificing storage volume.
“Increased production due to modern hybrids and farm practices demands more storage,” a supplier said. “High capacity harvesting demands high speed handling at the grain facilities to eliminate bottlenecks in the grain flow of grain from field to storage and processing.”
With the call for more safe and secure food, there is an increasing need for traceability, sanitation, connectivity of grain storage facilities and automation. Others are looking for the extras that will improve grain conservation such as insulation and temperature control systems.
“As in other industries, the demand for raising productivity and safety is resulting in the demand of more automated and more interconnected plants,” one supplier said.
Quality of the construction material defines how long and problem-free silos are going to be, a supplier said. High tensile and yield strength are the basic parameters that define the silo quality. Silo installations are a huge investment for many customers, so they must be designed to last.
“Another important parameter is hot-dip galvanization, which is ideal for exterior environments and provides superior zinc coating thickness as compared to other galvanization methods,” another supplier said.
Customers increasingly are looking for a single source supplier for grain storage and processing plants with a seamless customer service and support structure that is easy to handle for any plant operator, a supplier said.
“End-users are seeking value and reliable, accessible and ethical equipment manufacturing partners,” one supplier said. “They want to know they are getting high quality steel and now are moving toward a higher standard of U.S. prime steel.”
Ongoing trade barriers and tariffs are impacting certain projects, as well as steel prices, exchange rates, commodity prices and world markets, multiple suppliers said.
“We suspect once the U.S. and China conclude their trade negotiations and the rules of the game are re-etablished, this will help companies make decisions on how best to navigate and establish their revised business models,” one supplier said.
Tariff increases on steel directly impacts the steel grain silo prices, suppliers said. This leads in some cases to customers postponing or delaying the silo purchase plan.
“Soybeans and items made of steel have been impacted all around the world,” another supplier said. “Demand for exports of soybeans have recovered recently, but trade tensions still impact business and final purchase decisions regularly.”
Some of the traditional alliances that were established 20 to 30 years ago are experiencing some changes, another said. Companies are looking elsewhere to find new suppliers, which is opening markets for some suppliers that were previously closed.
German company opens transshipment center
After decades of serving farmers in the region surrounding Ingolstadt, Germany, Moser Agrar & Baufachzentrum was in need of a new grain collection point. Owner Georg Moser purchased property at Interpark in Großmehring, near Ingolstadt, and signed an agreement with Bühler, Beilngries, Germany, for the grain storage plant.
Moser has worked with Bühler in the past and has known some of its employees for more than 30 years. Bühler was able to provide end-to-end services from planning to machine delivery and silo delivery and down to assembly.
Moser has three locations for grain intake as well as two locations for construction goods. Grains are separated and cleaned at collection points, dried when necessary, and sold to international customers.
It was important to Moser that the new facility be located near the old one so the facility could keep servicing its longtime suppliers. The new collection point, which was commissioned in May 2018 by Bühler, is easily accessible to farmers and is located near a highway and includes a rail connection.
“We don’t know how logistics will change in the years to come. This is why it was important for us to offer access for both trucks and trains,” Moser said.
But the location also presented some challenges. The ground had clear boundaries with an L shape and a place had to be found for everything while finding maximum storage capacity, said Hans-Peter Konrad, area sales manager for Bühler.
The new center has twice the capacity of the old system and a new dryer system. The modern control system allows the desired moisture content to be entered, thus the drying process basically is automatic and only needs to be monitored.
“In terms of food safety and occupational safety, we’ve made major progress,” said Moser, noting that in the old plant, dust emissions gave employees and neighbors trouble.
The installation includes seven steel silos with total storage capacity of 16,200 tonnes and a machine building in the middle that has space for 15 separate processing cells, a dedusting system, sieve cleaning system, a grader and a flow scale. Truck intake capacity is 200 tph while rail is 150 tph.
After pre-cleaning, the batches that are too wet go through the dryer, which has a capacity of 10 tph. All of the equipment is state-of-the-art, allowing Moser to offer its customers quality goods.
“We have good machines with equally good performance and quality,” Moser said. “Besides, Bühler service can supply us with spare parts fast from its Beilngries location, which is another huge advantage for us.”
The company also deals in plant protection, fertilizer and fodder, as well as seeds.
Sweet supplies commercial grain facility in Mexico
Pasta La Moderna recently completed a commercial grain receiving and handling facility in central Mexico with a rail car receiving operation, the first for the company. Molinos del Sudeste S.A., which is owned by Pastas La Moderna, can handle wheat or corn at up to 1,000 tph.
Sweet Manufacturing Co., Springfield, Ohio, U.S., supplied a complete range of equipment in partnership with its longtime dealer in Mexico, Obra Civil y Estructural S.A. (OCESA). Several pieces of Sweet material handling equipment were installed at the facility, including three Silver-Sweet bucket elevators — two 150-foot Titans (largest series of bucket elevators by Sweet) and a 47-foot Ace II. The project included more than 1,525 combined feet of Sweet conveyors made up of 227 feet of Flite-Veyor 17 series horizontal flat bottom drag conveyors model 1817 and 1,300 total feet of heavy-duty Sweet galvanized formed channel belt conveyors.
The model FCS1042 belt conveyors are for loading silos and a flat storage system while the model FCS1024 belt conveyors with special reversing capabilities are for unloading the flat warehouse and included a unique custom-made cleanout system.
The elevators and conveyors are supported by a tower, platforms, ladders and cages, catwalk and intermediate support towers. The Sweet equipment was paired with 4B Watchdog systems to monitor performance. Finally, the installation was completed with heavily lined connecting accessories, which included an 18-inch x 18-inch air bin gate to unload the fine bin.
“Overall, Sweet and OCESA are delighted to report that Molinos del Sudeste is extremely satisfied with the installation and overall performance of the equipment,” Sweet said.
Cimbria, GSI partner on Austrian storage facility
With increasing demand for organic food, Saatbau Erntegut, a branch of Saatbau Linz, decided to invest in a new reception and storage facility in the eastern part of Austria. It is located in the Pannonian Basin, one of the major growing areas for cereals, sunflower and maize.
GSI Grain, Budapest, Hungary, and Cimbria, Thisted, Denmark, supplied the equipment for the new project.
The intake section of the plant consists of two parallel reception lines, each with an L-shaped intake pit for side-tipping and back-tipping trucks, as well as a pre-cleaning unit for each line. One Cimbria Delta high capacity cleaner and one conical air sifter have been installed in the pre-cleaning tower. Subsequently, the product is conveyed to GSI silos by Cimbria chain conveyors and bucket elevators at a capacity of 120 tph per line.
Within the silo section, which has a total holding capacity of 15,000 tonnes, there are four major silo blocks with the following configuration:
- Five round hopper silos with a holding capacity of 375 tonnes each, mainly used as wet cells prior to drying.
- 20 round hopper silos of 615 tonnes each, used as main storage bins.
- One round hopper silo for 520 tonnes, used as a day bin prior to load-out.
- Six square silos of 65 tonnes each, mainly used as load-out bins for the bulk loading unit.
The drying section consists of a Cimbria continuous flow dryer for indirect heating with gas, drying 45 tph wheat from 19% to 15%, and 15 tph wet maize from 25% to 14%.
Shortly after commissioning, the customer confirmed that the plant already has been accepted — and indeed preferred — by surrounding farmers, due to the fact that it has an extremely high reception capacity, thus avoiding waiting times during the stressful harvesting period.
Cooperative adds corn storage in Thailand
Uttaradit Agricultural Cooperative recently expanded its corn storage in Uttaradit, Thailand.
Sioux Steel, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, U.S., supplied four 4,000-tonne flat-bottom silos and two 200-tonne hopper-bottom silos for corn storage. The project took about 45 days to complete.
The local Sioux dealer won the project on a turnkey and commissioning basis and completed it well before the deadline.
Taiwanese soy oil plant adds storage
Central Union Oil Corp. recently completed an expansion of its soybean oil extraction plant in Taiwan that produces soybean oil, lecithin and soybean meal. Back in 1997, Behlen Mfg. Co., Columbus, Nebraska, U.S., supplied 10 15-meter diameter silos with an eave height of 25 meters. Each silo had a cubic meter capacity for more than 4,650 with total storage of more than 46,500 cubic meters.
The recent expansion, also supplied by Behlen and sold by its long-time dealer Agriasia Development Corp., included four 17-meter diameter silos with an eave height of 26 meters and a capacity of 6,256 cubic meters. Total new capacity is 25,024 cubic meters for an overall capacity of 72,000 cubic meters of soybean storage. Agriasia provided the system design, project engineering and installation.
The silos included a special design for seismic and high wind conditions as well as VibraFloor for final residual cleaning.
Company builds new feed mill in Thailand
Thai Feed Mills Co. Ltd., Suphan Buri province, Thailand, is in the process of commissioning a new feed mill, which was constructed in three phases — design, manufacturing and installation — over one year.
It was the largest project for Lambton, based in Wallaceburg, Ontario, Canada, in 2018, and was completed through a partnership with longtime dealer Kasetphand Industry Co., Ltd. in Thailand. They contributed on site design and construction, while Lambton handled the manufacturing and equipment design.
Lambton provided more than 400 pieces of equipment that included bucket elevators, butterfly valves, diverter valves, airlocks and pipe magnets, drag conveyors, slide gates, distributors, screw conveyors and feeders and more. The company’s engineering teams in Canada and China came together to design many new product updates tailored to the customer’s needs.
The new feed mill is located next to Thai Feed Mills’ existing facility. It handles corn, wheat, soybeans and soybean meal along with several other feed ingredients.
Symaga supplies storage to brewery
As part of its eighth brewery in Mexico, Grupo Modelo needed storage for malt and rice. The new brewery, located in Apan, Hidalgo, Mexico, is one of the largest in the world with a production capacity of 12 million hectoliters.
Symaga, based in Villarta De San Juan, Spain, supplied 20 hopper silos with a capacity of 25,000 cubic meters, an insulated system, a bucket elevator tower with an inside staircase and closed catwalks. It took nine months to complete that work.
The project was unusual in that it included closed catwalks, Symaga said. The company supplied 12 silos to Grupo Modelo in 2015.
“In Grupo Modelo we are convinced that the field and our breweries are the place where magic begins,” said Carlos Lisboa, president of the Middle America Zone of AB InBev, which owns Grupo Modelo. “From today in Hidalgo not only the best barley is harvested, but also the best beer will be produced.”
Ethanol plant expands storage, drying capabilities
Central Indiana Ethanol in Marion, Indiana, U.S., is in the midst of a $25 million, three-phase expansion plan that includes grain handling and drying, alcohol storage and distillation. Once the distillation portion is complete, the 50-million-gallon per year plant will be able to produce export-grade alcohol, which must meet international standards different from the U.S.
The company purchased 22 acres that is directly east of its current facilities, and was formerly home to OmniSource, a metal recycler. As part of the project, Chief Agri, Kearney, Nebraska, U.S., through its dealer Yagel Grain Systems LLC, supplied the grain handling and storage and drying equipment. Because the property was formerly a scrap yard, the project required soil engineering.
Chief provided a complete package of equipment: bins, aeration, catwalks, towers, conveyors and bucket elevator. The facility will handle and store corn.
Specific equipment included: three elevators; right and left pit conveyors; a main tower with 20,000 fill conveyor and catwalks; a CB20-29 276,415-bu wet bin; two hopper tanks with drive under structure; and a 13,000- bph bucket elevator for dryer unload.
Thai feed mill adds storage
Ruamchai Multitrade Co. Ltd. added a significant amount of storage for corn and broken rice to its feed mill in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.
A local SCAFCO dealer sold 10 large hopper bottom silos to the mill with a capacity of 1,500 tonnes. The silos are 11 meters in nominal diameter and 26 meters in overall height. Construction is nearly complete and took about six months.
All grain handling equipment and cleaning equipment on the site was produced in Thailand.
Cooperatives build new grain facility in Latvia
Farm cooperatives LPKS Kuziks/LPKS Latraps recently completed a new grain handling facility in Jekabpils, Latvia, to collect grain and rapeseed from its members. The facility dries, preconditions and stores grains in order to pool together larger volumes. Most products go to export through the railway loading system.
The project took six months to complete and included a specially designed PLC plant operation system to manage electrical consumption due to the limited access of electrical power.
Tornum AB, Kvanum, Sweden, which has worked with the cooperatives since 2001, supplied multiple pieces of equipment for the project, including a TK6-22-4 dryer equipped with CAC fans, an LPG burner and Tornum IDC system. Other equipment included:
- Skandia elevator conveying equipment SEH and KTH line with capacity of 150 tph.
- Damas Sigma precleaner equipped with Damas filter and a capacity of 165 tph.
- Four Tornum-Frame wet bins for total storage of 1,572 cubic meters.
- Six flat-bottom silos for total storage of 16,560 cubic meters.
- Railway loading system.
- PLC-type plant operating system.
Sukup supplies feed mill in Indonesia
PT. Sido Agung Feed completed a new feed mill with grain storage and flat warehouse storage in Central Java, Indonesia. The facility handles corn, soybeans, soybean meal, corn gluten meal and other feed mill raw materials.
Sukup Manfacturing Co., Sheffield, Iowa, U.S., supplied six 3,000 tonne silos and four heavy-duty hopper bottom silos with a capacity of 250 tonnes each, as well as all the aeration fans and silo accessories.
Sukup has worked with the customer before on grain dryers and silos on other sites in Indonesia.