The vacuum coating revolution in feed production
AUTHOR: Peter Raeven- Account Manager Dinnissen Process Technology
A brief history
In 1990 vacuum coating techniques were first introduced in the aquafeed production sector by Dinnissen Process Technology. The vacuum coater originated as an evolution of the Dinnissen Pegasus® Paddle Mixer. In mixing experiments carried out under vacuum conditions, high concentrations of liquid were sprayed onto feed pellets. When the vacuum was removed, the liquid was sucked deep into the coated pellets. In this way, Dinnissen succeeded in gradually increasing the fat content of the pellets. Compared to atmospheric systems, up to 80 % extra liquid could be added to pellets coming from the pellet presses. The Pegasus® Vacuum Coater enabled feed producers to apply liquid additives to and into pellets and extruded products, by creating a vacuum environment within the production process.
Peter Raeven, vacuum coating expert in feed production - Dinnissen Process Technology
How does it work?
Vacuum coating technology allows producers of animal feed to create a vacuum environment within their production processes, enabling them to deal with a wide variety of challenges.
The process starts with creating a vacuum inside the vacuum coater, where after multiple layers of additives can be applied to the product. The Pegasus® Vacuum Coater gently suspends ingredients homogeneously in the air while the vacuum unit creates a vacuum environment. The spraying functionality makes it possible to spray a precisely predetermined quantity of liquid onto the powders, pellets or granules. When air is then allowed to enter the mixing unit, the liquids are evenly distributed deeply into each particle. With the ingredients being sucked deep into the particles through the vacuum, it also has the effect of protecting them against crumbling. After this step, additional layers of top coatings or aromas are applied to each particle, which results in a high-quality extruded product. Often a thin layer of fat is applied to the granular feed material. This extra protective layer makes the material more elastic so that it breaks or crumbs less quickly. All this is done very fast, since the entire batch process takes just a couple of minutes.
Figure 1. A detailed depiction of the vacuum coating process
The added value of vacuum coating in feed production
After years of developing, optimizing and innovating, the benefits of using vacuum coaters speak for themselves:
- More nutritious feed: Preservation of the action of functional additives such as vitamins, minerals, ameliorators, taste enhancers, yeast and enzymes.
- Retention of taste and color of feed.
- Energy-rich feed via the addition of high percentages of oil or fat results in faster and better growth of animals.
- Better feed leads to better digestion, which results in better growth.
- Better digestion leads to the reduction of nitrogen, ammonia, phosphate and/or methane emissions (feces).
- Healthier animals, and less loss of livestock.
- Flexible production processes with sophisticated control programs allow producers to optimize the “recipe” of their product to create an even better feed.
- Extremely precise and homogeneous dosing of (expensive) additives, micro-dosing with very high accuracy.
- Applicable in different production settings: convenient, easy-to-use and easy-to-clean.
- Adding functional additives at the right moment (end-of-line, preconditioning and pressure stage).
Adding functional additives in the final stages of the production process
By using vacuum coaters, functional additives can be introduced in the final stages of the production process. Additives, including a wide range of substances such as oils, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics, taste enhancers, yeast and other enhancers, can be added to powders, particles and granules. Functional active ingredients can be processed as powders or liquids, and are always added in the vacuum coater after the heating and pressure stages. This functionality of vacuum coaters ensures that heat-sensitive substances remain active after being added to the...
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