Agrifirm invests in efficient compressed air installation

Clever solution saves energy and delivers heat to a tank hall and a steam boiler

In the world of animal feeds it is all about maximum nutritional efficiency. But at least as important is a company process that is as efficient as possible. Agrifirm Feed replaced 30 years old compressors for among other things frequency controlled compressed air installations from ALUP. The reliability improved and the energy consumption decreased considerably, also due to ingenious re-use of waste heat. Agrifirms project leader Christian van de Ven and technical buyer Bert Haank: “Besides a ROI of a few years we gain more advantages.”

ALUP compressor installation at Agrifirm

Christian van de Ven and Bert Haank at Agrifirm

No less than 10 new compressed air installations were purchased by Agrifirm about 1 1/2 years ago. The installations were replaced not only in Veghel but also in Oss and Wanssum. The location in Veghel produces no less than 650,000 tons of pig pellets per year. The Dutch market leader operates in a market that has been shrinking for years. Bert Haank: “Nevertheless our market share picks up slightly every year. To continue this growth we must maintain a high quality standard and look carefully at our expenses too. This means that we regularly invest in more efficient business processes with a short payback period. More than two tons spent on compressed air installations is one of them."

Nutritional efficiency

Animal feed is no longer a one size fits all. Just in Veghel between 200 and 300 different pig feed recipes are annually produced. Christian van de Ven: “Throughout the years we see the production batches getting smaller. The development and condition of the pig have to be optimal. The higher the nutritional value, up to certain limits, the less kilos of feed. This not only leads to a reduction of dung, but also to less truck movements. This also serves the environment. As a market leader Agrifirm is always ahead with innovations.

“The made-to-measure compressed air solution increases our operational reliability”

Christian van de Ven, projectleader at Agrifirm

Energy solution compressors

In Veghel, Netherlands, the 30 year old reciprocating compressors were technically and economically ready for replacement. Furthermore, reduction of power consumption was desirable. Van de Ven: “We need compressed air for all our processes. From opening and closing the valves under the mixers to dosing the right amount of material. We conducted numerous measurements. That showed that the compressed air installations ran with a lot of energy loss.” Various suppliers made an offer with advice. Here they also answered the question of how much compressed air is needed within a band width. “For our Veghel office this led to the purchase of an Alup Allegro 76 frequency controlled screw compressor and two water cooled Largo’s 76 (75kW). Screw compressors. One of the two Largo’s 76 only switches on when the maximum capacity of the frequency controlled compressor is reached. Then it adapts its capacity again. That way no more energy than necessary is used”, according Van de Ven. “Furthermore we have a 100% back-up when a compressor breaks down. Thanks to this made-to-measure solution, our company reliability increases.”

Using waste heat

The released waste heat of the frequency controlled compressor is moved to the tank hall. Here the temperature needs to be high for storing various kinds of oil. With the waste heat of the other two compressors, the production location in Veghel heats the supply water for the steam boiler, that heats the flour mixture before the start of the pressing process. Haank: “Our compressor parks are now fully up-to-date. The compressed air installations follow the consumption peaks closely, which is no more than the demand at the factory. And the chance that a production line breaks down is minimized. A rough estimate is that we save approximately 40% energy.” Besides the location in Veghel, ALUP installed two frequency controlled screw compressors with integrated compressed air cool dryer and an adsorption dryer with dew point control in Oss and Wanssum.

“We can accurately budget to the penny thanks to ALUP”

Bert Haank, technical buyer at Agrifirm

Proactive approach

Various suppliers made offers. Both gentlemen agree: “The proactive approach and the transparent way of offering settled it. ALUP took the time to explain their controls every time. This gave confidence, also in the recovery of energy. And we have recovered the costs of the compressed air installations in a few years." Haank adds that he also appreciated the proposed all-inclusive service contract for all compressed air installations. "The offered multiannual security definitely appeals to me. “We can now accurately budget to the penny, without the existence of hidden costs."

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