Feed Strategy - February 2018 - 37
FeedStrategy ❙ 37
designed around helping companies stay compliant
and make the right decisions," says Ian Mealey, Format
Solutions' director of formulation.
In addition to new features, software is also now
easier to use and more adaptable to individual feed
mills. Each feed company runs a little differently,
whether it is due to its size, number of mills or how it
implements its traceability system.
"We have spent the past few years designing our
software to be more suitable for a secure and efficient
work process," Mealey said. "This is an important aspect - the product is there to help feed mills."
Today's software goes beyond formulating recipes
and finding ingredient costs. It optimizes the mill's
ability to manage the formulation process efficiently
and accurately, starting with the nutritionist making
the formula to the finished product.
Improving feed mill efficiency, profit margins
Responding to the feed industry
"We are always working together intensively with
the feed manufacturing industry to research how its
products could make use of big data and help its customers become more efficient," Verstrepen said.
Current projects include understanding how to make
machines work more efficiently. For example: the temperature in a feed mill varies; the moisture loss during
production could be controlled and compensated in
an automated way by adding or removing the correct
amount of steam. Another example is the sales process.
"Wouldn't it be great if, when the customer buys a
particular item, the recommendations engine suggests
additional items that are likely to be purchased together in the same transaction?" Verstrepen said. "This
could be put into practice on an e-commerce website
or when a customer calls to place an order."
Applying machine-learning technology on order
history data could also give some insight into customers' buying patterns and predict when and how much
the customer will order in the future.
Screen shots courtesy of A-Systems
Addressing challenges between designing the formula and producing the feed is another improvement in
software. Animal Feed Optimization Software (AFOS)
Managing Director Zivomir Selakov said nutritionists
are forced to manually tune or tweak formulas to prepare
them for production process (SCADA system). This creates two problems: a) the process is very time consuming,
and b) the manual process always increases costs.
"This fraction of a cent created by manual process accumulates to a mountain in the long run," Selakov said.
By implementing an advanced optimization engine
using mixed-integer programming (MIP), nutritionists
can implement a plant's technical constraints, such as
the accuracy of weighing equipment and if there is a
whole-bag-basis raw material in the least cost optimization process.
"An advanced calculation engine can increase margins while providing more accurate formula results
that consider both the nutritional and technical constraints," Selakov says.
Formulation software updates
key information in real-time.
A-Systems software features advanced data management that automatically updates
filters and lists for extracting large amounts of pertinent information.
February 2018 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com