151124_Insta-Pro-18293-940x739Do you ever wonder how to correctly prevent maintenance issues on your extruder? The following is an excerpt from a short article published in Feed and Grain by John Doud.
The type of equipment in a production line dictates the frequency of maintenance needs. Some equipment requires daily or weekly maintenance, such as greasing bearings and checking the oil in gearboxes.
Dry extruders work under the principle of friction, pressure and heat to process or cook the product. This means that certain parts of the extruder – the internal screw and steamlock configuration, and the external compression chambers – are where the most wear will be seen. These parts should be inspected after every 600 hours of use.
When making inspections, always check these items for wear:
Inlet screws – Product entering the inlet is the most abrasive, because it has not yet broken down in the cooking process. Screws can be rotated front to back and end to end, provided the wear is not too severe. Timely rotation of the inlet screws will increase the service life of these parts.
Compression screws and steamlocks – Look for cracks and make sure outside diameters are maintained
Rifling in the inlet and compression chambers – Raised grooves in the chambers will wear down over time. These grooves can be rebuilt with a welder using mild steel electrodes, and maintaining the tolerance listed in the operator’s manual. Check wearsleeves in the compression chambers for wear. You can remove and turn wearsleeves once before replacing them.



As the level of dietary fiber increases, the amount of metabolizable energy, or that which can be used for growth and development, declines because poultry are not equipped with a digestive system that can accommodate much fiber.

So, when you’re evaluating ingredients, it’s important to have an understanding of nutrition and physiology to help guide your formulation program.

Dietary fats and oils are another major category that must be clearly understood. What’s well known is that fats and oils supply concentrated energy – about 2.25 times as much energy as the same amount of carbohydrates. It’s also almost always true that fats and oils are expensive.

So, since animal diets are formulated to contain a certain amount of energy, and other nutrients are pegged to this level, the addition of fat and/or oil – containing ingredients is very common. There is a clear relationship that is often exploited by nutritionists – adding a little dietary fat increases metabolizable energy in poultry. This is often used to meet the energy requirements for a particular stage of production. It’s also of interest that the gains in metabolizable energy with additional increases in dietary fat level eventually stop when fat level increases from 7.12 to 9.32%.

But, it’s important to remember that this relationship between fat level in the diet and metabolizable energy level is not always so clear cut. For example, the type and quality of fat or oil can have a big impact on the amount of metabolizable energy, as I’ve blogged about before, especially with younger poultry. In general, veg oils, like soybean oil, have higher metabolizable energy levels than animal fats.

It’s also important to consider using high-quality ingredients with residual oil, such as high shear dry extruded whole soybeans (extruded full-fat) and extruded/pressed soy meal. These ingredients provide highly-digestible amino acids, in addition to ample available energy, in one package. In many cases, additional sources of energy, such as veg oils (which are expensive), can be removed entirely, resulting in a less-expensive formulation that supports the same or greater level of performance.


bigstock-Harvest-1839873-small1There are three key variables which will determine the ultimate profitability of your feed processing plant:

Feed formulation
Raw material costs
Market value of your output(s)
Today, we’ll focus on the first variable, your feed formulation.

Before you can gauge your feed processing plant’s profit potential, you’ve got to know which ingredients you’ll need to produce your desired output, and in what quantities (the inclusion ratio). This formulation can be very simple – Full-Fat and soy plants have soybeans as their only ingredient – or very complex if you’re producing a finished feed.

The formulation you use is going to be determined by a number of factors, including:

What ingredients are locally available for processing? Local available ingredients are preferred, especially for key ingredients which will be used in large quantities because the cost to import large volumes of ingredients can be prohibitive.
If ingredients are not locally available, is it feasible to import them? This may be an option for ingredients where import costs would not be too great.
What are the demands of your customers? You have to be able to sell your finished product. Your formulation will impact the following variables that feed customers often have in mind when choosing the feed that they will purchase:
Nutritional quality
Physical characteristics
You may have a wide-ranging customer base which will require a variety of different formulations. In an article which discusses a very mature feed processing operation and the wide variety of formulations that they use, it highlights why it is important to understand what your customers demand. In this case, each customer has different demands, resulting in a complex feed formulation strategy.

If you’re just starting out in the feed processing industry, you’re probably not going to be using 100+ ingredients so your formulation analysis should be much simpler.



We recently crossed the halfway point for 2017. At this time of year, you are reflecting on your strategic plans and getting ready to make more decisions that will affect the remainder of 2017 and the years that follow. Some of these decisions are on capital expenditures. Should we expand? Do we need to take out a loan or will we have enough cash? Do we have the capacity to meet our forecasted demand? The list of questions goes on and on.

We deal with these same questions. As an equipment manufacturer, some insight on what is seen at this time of year: From November 23rd through the end of the year, there are several holidays and many people are out of office, making the second half of the year a much shorter time period. Given this, it is a good idea to target your equipment to ship in December, so it arrives to you around January. Given an approximate lead time of 10-12 weeks, you would need to purchase by September for that goal to be accomplished.

Equipment lead times vary because of many factors: order volume, type of equipment and time of year, making it a good idea to leave yourself a month or so as a buffer.One has to cosnider factors such as weather, customs issues, etc. that can add time between the payment of the equipment to actually having it in your hands. If you are thinking about or are ready to order equipment, my suggestion to you is to give yourself plenty of time, stay in contact on how the construction of the equipment is going and when the expected ship date is.

It may seem like there is a long time to go until the end of the year, but it will sneak up on you quicker than you realize. Look at next year’s plans now to avoid being rushed at the end of the year and potentially getting off to a slow start in 2018.



Don Bosco Agro-Mechanical Technology Center, is managed by Salesian Brothers, whose purpose is to help the youth in the community improve their families’ and their own quality of life. They created an agricultural development program by using an idle, vast land that they had and turned it into a farm. There they planted corn, rice, soybeans and other root crops.

Last June, the Don Bosco Agro-Mechanical Technology Center celebrated its 15 year anniversary. Since then, about 2,000 youth have been served that have either graduated or been employed. As the center has continued to grow and maintain its mission to help the community, they initiated a community development program that is now educating farmers on how to properly utilize their upland. The center provides these farmers with seeds, fertilizer and tractor services. This will help empower them to create sustainable agriculture to improve the socio-economic condition of the community. “We are happy to be of service to agriculture development for the sake of farmers of upland,” said Luigi Parolin, Farm Development Program Director of Don Bosco Agro-Mechanical Technology Center.

Today, Don Bosco is serving around 25 farmers with a goal to have an additional 20 farmers this year who will grow corn, cassava, sweet potatoes and other crops. Each of them will have 5,000m2. land to use for planting. Currently, Don Bosco is utilizing about 3.5 hectares of land for corn with the intention to intensify soy farming in the near future, given the proper conditions. They are doing this since they are currently extruding corn and soy with a Model 600 Extruder Machine.

“It was hard in the beginning to encourage the out-of-school youth to come to the center and learn as well as encouraging the farmers to plant crops with Don Bosco doing the marketing,” said Louis “but now it is so inspiring seeing their lives improve.” As mentioned previously, the Don Bosco Agro Mechanical Technology Center is a prime example of how Insta-Pro customers believe in our message, not only helping feed the world, but having the passion to better lives.



FAO predicts that by 2050 food production will have to increase by 70 percent in order to meet the population’s food demand. They also mention that combating poverty and hunger, using scarce natural resources more efficiently and adapting to climate change are the main challenges world agriculture will face in the coming decades.

We need to find ways to use scarce natural resources more efficiently. Different applications exist to convert what is wrongly considered waste or by-products into quality ingredients.

Some examples of this include the following:

Tomato Pomace

Tomato pomace is a by-product created when processing tomatoes for human foods. Sterilizing it with high shear extruders can create a quality ingredient for pet food or feed.

Rice Bran

Rice Bran is a by-product produced by rice millers and is generally considered waste since it degrades within a few hours. When you process rice bran with high shear, dry extrusion it is stabilized for months and converts it into valuable ingredient for broilers, swine, livestock, equine, aquatic and human consumption. Increasing the value of rice bran between 2 to 20 times its commercial values.

Poultry & Swine

By-products created from the meat processors can have also have value. For poultry and swine waste, disposal options are limited and costly, but with that also comes the affect is has on the environment. Sterilizing poultry and swine waste with high shear, dry extrusion will transform the waste into an excellent ingredient for feed.

Craig Briney, By-Product Technology Leader, also states the following about converting waste to ingredients, “Economics is the key to utilizing secondary resources that are destined to be deposited into a landfill. As commodity prices continue to escalate, the opportunity to economically recover secondary resources increases. The vast majority of by product recovery projects are not economical without tax monies to stimulate the projects.”

We owe it to the world to become more responsible human beings and use the resources as efficiently as possible.



There are many choices when formulating diets for food animals. Understandably, least-cost formulation programs are used to quickly determine how to meet certain nutrient requirements, different for each species, stage of production, climate, and so on, in order to maximize performance as inexpensively as possible.

It’s important to keep in mind that least-cost formulation programs only do one thing – assemble a diet without any knowledge of what happens in the animal. You must have an understanding of physiology and nutrition that is used to help guide the formulation program.

A good example of this comes from crude fiber – a somewhat inexact measure of the indigestible components of a diet. It’s inexact because better measures of indigestible components now exist, such as neutral detergent fiber.

Regardless, you have to understand how certain animals digest, or more importantly, do not digest these components in order to evaluate ingredients. Remember, when using a least-cost formulation program, first and foremost, reducing the cost is the goal. The software knows nothing about physiology and nutrition without the guidance of a nutritionist.

So, as an example, what happens when the crude fiber content of a poultry diet is increased? Poultry are not able to effectively digest increased levels of crude fiber. The metabolizable energy, or that which can be used to support performance, declines because of the structure of the gastrointestinal tract of poultry (and birds in general). This also happens because modern poultry breeds are eating machines – they do not change consumption much at all with changes in nutrient composition.

In this experiment, crude fiber levels were increased using a mixture of 3 ingredients, and these results would have been different with other ingredients. Further complicating all of this, ruminants, like cattle, have a gastrointestinal structure that is designed to digest high levels of fiber. In addition, it’s likely that if the fiber-containing ingredients had been extruded, they would have had more metabolizable energy – so, understanding the effect of processing is critical as well.

It’s important to go beyond least cost when formulating diets.



The biggest frustration is calling to get service support, only to get a recorded message asking to enter information. This frustration comes from the lack of personalized services that exist today and the need and want to connect with a human. This allows us to seek reassurance that we will have some one partner in solving our problem. Companies offering personal services will find success.

To stay connected with our customers and to provide support and solutions through multiple service solution tools, we offer:

Website and Blog discussing a wide range of frequently asked questions regarding equipment or business
On-site technical visits
Service Programs – on-site visits by staff, and evaluations of operational parameters with feedback on improvements



As the world population increases, the need to feed more and more people increases as well. A hot topic is the development of our textured soy protein (TSP) process. With the increase in demand for protein sources, TSP has become even more of an interest.

TSP can be made from a variety of soy flours such . In order to texturize soy flour, a combination of heat, moisture, and shear are required. There are a lot of other factors involved which can help, but let’s focus on these for now. As the soy flour goes through the extruder, the actual chains of protein break apart and reform as long strands. Because of this, the TSP will appear to have layers, much like meat. Normally, the soy flour has a high PDI and low fiber, which allows it to be texturized easier. Lo-pro is solvent extracted soy meal with a lower PDI, higher fiber, and is generally used for feed purposes.

One is able to properly texturize this difficult ingredient to produce larger pieces of TSP. These pieces would be suitable for a meat replacement or could be shredded for a meat extender. In a production environment, these would later be dried, cooled, and then sorted according to size. This was a very positive step towards offering a processing solution for TSP using a lower cost ingredient.


hands-soy24-e1446050968403Benefits of processing soy meal compared to solvent extracted.

A horizontal, mechanical oil press to be used immediately after the extruder for crude oil isolation. Interestingly, this chemical-free extraction process produces oil with different, beneficial properties when compared to solvent-extracted soy oil.

The result of including the oil press after the extruder is that a unique soy meal is produced – one that has highly-digestible amino acids and a greater metabolizable energy content, due to a residual oil content in the meal of 6-8%, and also because the dry extrusion process liberates more available energy.

Soy meal in the laboratory tested for determination of amino acid digestibilities and metabolizable energy using broiler chickens. Nutritionists and formulators rely on these values when assembling diets. Values for samples of commodity, solvent-extracted soybean meal, which were also recently analyzed, are shown for comparison.

Digestible AA supply and % digestibility soy meal Solvent-extracted soybean meal
Digestible lysine 2.54 (88.7%) 2.68 (87.5%)
Digestible methionine 0.54 (90.6%) 0.62 (91.2%)
Digestible cysteine 0.48 (83.4%) 0.50 (77.8%)
Digestible threonine 1.44 (87.9%) 1.61 (85.9%)
Digestible tryptophan 0.66 (97.1%) 0.71 (96.1%)
True metabolizable energy, nitrogen corrected (kcal/kg DM) 3385 2796
Dry matter (%) 96.6 89.1

Several things are apparent. Overall, soy meal is more digestible than solvent-extracted soybean meal. However, it’s important to remember that this is only true when extrusion is conducted at the proper temperature. Quality controls, such as monitoring temperature during runs, are crucial, and allow meal to stand out from other ingredients which are more variable.

The residual oil and processing benefits associated with meal result in a higher metabolizable energy value – typically this means that an additional energy source, such as AV blends or spent oils, is not required.