Small Solution for Big Biomass Problem

posted Oct 22, 2012, 9:57 AM by Jonny Arkin

Many people have high hopes for biomass as a bioenergy crop. For example, several companies are looking to convert corn stover and corn cobs to cellulosic ethanol. But there are several challenges currently being researched including transportation, storage and moisture content. High moisture feedstocks can muck up the hammer mill system. However, many advanced biofuel producers do not want completely dry feedstocks.

The solution will lie in a technology that works well to produce uniform small particles from we feedstocks. Forest Concepts engineers have been working on this and believe they have the technological solution. Supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Crumbler M24 shears high moisture feedstocks to uniform particles as small as 1.6 mm (1/16 inches). The company says the technology has been used successfully on wood chips, corn stover, switchgrass, bamboo, sage and other biomass-based feedstocks with moisture ranging from 10 to 80 percent.

The Crumbler M24 is now commercially available and has a 24 inch cutting width, and can process more than two green tons of wood chips or other plant materials per hour. According to Forest Concepts, the machine is powered by a 20 hp electric motor and operated by a built in computerized programmable logic controller (plc). The plc enables full integration with other process controls at a biomass processing facility or biorefinery. Other models with capacities up to 20 green tons per hour are currently under development.

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Livestock 2012: For best feed fix then mill and mix

posted Aug 18, 2012, 6:03 PM by Jonny Arkin

An opportunity to make savings on feed costs is usually the main driver for pig producers considering a switch to home milling and mixing. And while the initial investment, labour and running costs have to be factored in to such a venture, rarely does a pig farmer who has made the change from using compounds have any regrets.

That's the view of those making and selling the kit, plus of well-established pig producers now settled into home milling and mixing.

Mill and mix benefits

But it's not just about saving on feed costs, says Mark Unitt of Shropshire feeding equipment manufacturers Danagri. "While that can be significant, producers believe having total control over what's going into the diet is equally important.

"A producer can have confidence in knowing he's using high-quality ingredients and can source them in bulk to make additional savings. He's able to work with his own nutritionist to create the rations he wants for whatever pigs he has on the farm. He's got complete control of the entire job of feeding his pigs and can ensure everything going into the mix is fresh," says Mr Unitt.

Being able to manipulate rations quickly and effectively is another bonus highlighted by Mr Unitt. "Changes to diets can be made swiftly if there are issues over growth rates or performance of pigs at whatever stage," he adds.

Dust issues

Although many hammer mills are still in use - most with a capacity to mill about 2.5t an hour - it was the higher dust levels produced by this method of milling that led producers to move away from on-farm mixing.

New developments in milling and mixing equipment mean high dust levels are no longer a problem - something that has been a big attraction in bringing people back to home mixing. New disc mills are capable of handling up to 12.5t an hour.

The hammer mill system usually saw producers milling into a holding bin to produce ground material that could be pulled straight into the mixer. But the modern disc mills have up to four times the output for 50% of the power use and provide greater flexibility for handling the ration.

And while the basic ingredients of pig diets may stay the same - wheat, barley and soya - it's likely others such as wheat meal (mids), rape meal or even biscuit meal and milk powder may be needed, depending on the type and age of pigs being fed.

Flexibility is key

"It's important that anyone considering a home milling and mixing unit makes it as flexible as possible from the start. The investment is for at least 20 years, so as different feeds are needed - or different ingredients become available - it's important for the system to be able to cope," says Mr Unitt.

A typical installation would have the wheat and barley going into the grinder and then into the mixer. Wheat feed and soya would then be pulled into the mixer from their own hoppers, followed by the mineral inclusion, fish meal or milk powder as required.

Tight control over feed quality

Northern Ireland pig farmer Andrew McCrea uses feed produced by his father's home milling and mixing unit. The 35-year-old hammer mill produces upwards of 150t a week, supplying feed for the family's pig enterprises. Mr McCrea pays a £15/t milling charge for feed used in his breeding and finishing unit.

"The main advantage is having tight control over the quality of the ingredients we use, but you need to work closely with a nutritionist.

"We buy grain on the spot market, although we have just bought some maize for October to April delivery. Home milling and mixing is another job to do, so you must be ready for that commitment. We only buy the grain as we need it. We pay as we buy, so there's not a lot of credit.

"That's something that has to be taken into consideration for anyone thinking about investing in this type of system," he says.

Edward James runs On Farm Feeds - a mobile milling and mixing business based in Monmouthshire. "It's one way for farmers to have all the benefits of home milling and mixing without having to invest in the equipment," says Mr James, whose charges start at £25/t.

"We can provide the expertise to formulate rations or work with a farmer's own nutritionist. It's a flexible system that's proving very popular with farmers who want specific diets to feed to pigs for the farm shop trade."

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Metal Shredders and Milling

posted Jul 19, 2012, 1:36 PM by Jonny Arkin

According to a recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), there are approximately 300 shredders in America producing scrap metal. By contrast, China has only 30 shredders, according to the OECD report. Regardless of location, when those machines must be repaired or replaced, there are many vendors available to address that need.

The shredders made at Granutech-Saturn Systems “are suited for nonferrous or light ferrous metals. Our customers are looking for a lower processing volume than what is typically seen in the larger hammermill shredders. Typical volume through our equipment usually ranges in the 2 to 20 tons per hour range,” noted Greg Wright, director of sales.

The company offers the following products: The Roto-Grind – a single-rotor grinder used in nonferrous applications, typically aluminum. This is a ram-fed machine in which the ram feeds material to the rotor and uses a sizing screen to provide a consistently-sized product. The Roto-Grind rotor rpm is between 80 and 168, depending on the application.

The Saturn Shredder is a dual-shaft, slow speed, high-torque shredder. This shredder is used for nonferrous or light ferrous metals. It can handle tougher material than the Roto-Grind and unlike the Roto-Grind, it is capable of dealing with heavy ferrous contamination. Typical shaft speed is between 11 to 30 rpm.

Granutech’s Grizzly product is used as a secondary shredder to achieve maximum size reduction. It utilizes a 19,000 lb. rotor spinning at 321 rpm with rotary knives, which cut against stationary bed knives. A screen is also used to achieve product sizing. Applications include aluminum, e-scrap and tires.

“For over 40 years, we’ve offered size reduction equipment to the recycling industries. Our products include the MAC line of car crushers, Saturn Shredders and Granutech tire processing equipment. When purchasing some of this equipment, buyers must become acquainted with EPA, state, and local regulations concerning restrictions for air quality or other factors. Customers in this market may also sometimes face hurdles in obtaining the appropriate permits to operate,” Wright said.

SSI Shredding Systems has provided metal shredders worldwide for over 30 years. The SSI shredder line starts at 200 h.p. and ranges up to 800 h.p. Shredders in the 400 h.p. range are not uncommon for high volume applications.

Dave Wilson, technical sales, described the machines available from SSI: “We manufacture four types of shredders, all relatively slow speed/high torque, compared to high-speed hammer mills or auto-shredders. SSI shredders are used for processing metal, both ferrous and nonferrous. The most popular products are larger shredders for the most demanding applications at the highest volumes.

“Our Pri-Max and Dual Shear models are versatile and utilized at the front end of metal recycling operations. For ferrous materials like appliances, the Pri-Max PR4400 and PR6600 are capable of high-volume processing. They are not car shredders and are not recommended for processing heavy ferrous. The slow speed shredder is the ideal first step in a reclamation line because the system can be batch fed, handles a wide range of scrap, and reduces the material down to a small size. In some cases primary shredding is the only size reduction required but it can also be an ideal first step in preparing the material for further processing, via secondary shredding equipment.

“Reliability is the leading advantage of a slow speed. Minimal noise, dust, vibration, foundation, maintenance, downtime and relatively low operating cost are other advantages of slow speed, high-torque technology. Industry regulations continue to evolve, regarding dust control because the issue has become more of an issue in recent years.”

Wilson stated that nonferrous applications are also popular uses for the SSI slow-speed, high-torque shredder machines. Baled or loose scrap aluminum, copper, radiators, wheels, wire and extrusion are some nonferrous applications well-suited to SSI products.

Special shredding technology is required to handle the scrap that contains ferrous and contaminants. These applications require systems that are designed with shock protection features such as automatic reversing, which protects the shredder from damage when processing foreign materials. “Thanks to low rpm cutting and shock protection, the chance of damage to the equipment is minimal when processing scrap. The cutter should also be designed to be abrasive-resistant, as lower grade scrap often has sand, glass, dirt and other unfavorable contaminates that accelerate cutter wear.

“If smaller particle size is required, it is common to use two shredders to process the materials. A pre-shredder like our Pri-Max breaks open the bales and a second shredder processes the shredded scrap further. It is possible to achieve high rates and a small particle size with two, slow-speed shredders and no sizing grate or recirculation. Often the second shredder can be a dual shear with a narrow cutter, which is 2 inches wide and produces a smaller, more consistent particle size. This double-stage concept with ferrous removal is a good option for achieving the cleanest nonferrous scrap,” Wilson said.

When a screen is eliminated from a system, Wilson explained that “the capacity increases and maintenance often decreases. However, some applications such as auto shredder residue require a particle size smaller than a single or two stage shredder can provide. Screen-based shredders such as the SSI Quad are ideal for reducing material to a very small, consistent size, such as 1.5 inch minus. The Quad is a heavy-duty, slow-speed shredder but it also incorporates the integrated screen feature. It is a compact system that produces a small particle size in a one-step operation.”

Bernhard Mueggler, president and CEO of UNTHA America, described the shredder market as “mostly determined by commodity pricing – while legislation continues to push for additional recycling levels. The industry will likely consolidate over the next few years as smaller operations are acquired by regional and/or national companies.”

UNTHA manufactures over 400 shredders per year, for various applications. “We have developed and produced innovative shredding solutions for individual tasks for over 30 years. In doing so, our customers and markets determine the direction of UNTHA,” Mueggler said. He then highlighted the features of two of their products and both are used if high plant availability, low maintenance cost and small footprint is required.

UNTHA’s S-120 heavy duty two-shaft shredder offers size reduction without a defined particle size. It is a high-torque, low RPM machine with low emissions and vibration. The intelligent cutting system and drive allows the cutting power to be increased by 70 percent for a short period of time. The S-120 offers a cutting system protection, shaft ventilation, wear protection, electronic overload protection, wear plates and is available with electro-mechanical or an electro-hydraulic drive. An optional variable frequency drive (VFD) offers increased throughput control, to reduce start-up peaks. Throughput can handle up to five tons per hour. The machine is used for nonferrous and ferrous shredding and electronic scrap and has a low, overall cost.

The UNTHA heavy duty 4-shaft shredder series (RS50 / RS60 / RS100 / RS150) offers size reduction with specific particle size requirements. Features include a very large screen area, pre-shredding and secondary shredding in one step, and modular systems to accommodate individual customer requirements. It is a high-torque/low-RPM machine with integrated electronic shut-down to protect the cutting system, multiple shaft bearings and a multi-stage sealing system.

The reinforced steel frame is rugged and has a cutting tool (with highly flexible cutting system configurations) with an integrated flange that eliminates spacers. The machine generates consistent particle size for effective downstream processing and the gravity feed eliminates ram for most materials. Throughput can handle up to 10 tons per hour and like the S-120, the machine has an optional VFD, shreds electronic, nonferrous and ferrous material and has a low overall cost.

Russian Milling Wheat Seen Up 3.5% Last Week

posted Jun 13, 2012, 2:04 PM by Jonny Arkin

Following is a table of Russian grain prices from Moscow-based researcher SovEcon published on its website. Prices are in rubles ($1 = 32.63 rubles) a metric ton.

                    June 9   June 1                Change (%)

Milling wheat        6,725    6,500                 3.5%
(4th grade)
Milling wheat        6,800    6,600                 3.0%
(3rd grade)
Feed wheat           6,275    6,150                 2.0%
Sunflower seeds     14,850   14,575                 1.9%
Feed barley          5,775    5,700                 1.3%
Milling rye          4,750    4,750                 unch.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marina Sysoyeva in Moscow

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter

This article can be found here:

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