Feed Strategy - May 2018 - 41
FeedStrategy ❙ 41
As feed production volumes grow, feed millers require bagging systems that will expand with their
operations. Statec Binder
year technical support has been a huge selling point
for our customers who are continually trying to do
more with less and don't always have their maintenance people available as they are servicing a mill full
of equipment," he says.
Return on investment
Return of investment (ROI) is typically calculated
in saved manpower costs, but in emerging markets, it's
a matter of "quality which justify the investment, before it is a matter of cost saving," Fricker says.
"Sometimes even the low availability of manpower
may justify the automation of the packing process," he
says. "Others do struggle to find skilled employees to
run automated equipment."
Natale reports typical ROI runs two to four years
depending on bag volume, number of shifts and the
existing level of automation in the mill.
"The big thing to consider is exposure to injury
claims that could change the ROI dramatically," Natale
says. "Typically, the more manual an application, the
greater the potential for ROI improvement."
Overcoming footprint challenges
Oftentimes, new bagging equipment will be installed in tight spaces, but good teamwork and communication between the customer and sales engineers
typically reveals the most effective layout.
Many bagging systems are customer engineered
and built for the customer's specific application.
"We have moved, rearranged, lowered, squeezed
certain items to fit into the location that made sense for
the customer," Natale says.
Transitioning operators accustomed to working on
semi-automatic systems to automated systems requires
high-quality, detailed training to allow for fast and effective equipment adoption.
Don't forget palletizers
Fricker notes that some mills still invest in semiautomatic bagging installations due to cost; however,
others invest in palletizing systems instead.
"Due to evolution of operator wages, we get more
and more orders for automatic palletizing even if the
bagging is semi-automatic," Fricker says. "Some customers want to save manpower costs with automatic
palletizing than with automatic bagging where only
one operator is required compared to two or four for
the palletization operations."
Steinmayr notes that as fully automated bagging
speeds increase, palletizers become essential to the
optimization of the line. ■
Palletizing systems: 6 considerations for small feed mills,
May 2018 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com