How Automated Weighing and Dispensing Equipment Improves Accuracy and Efficiency
By TOI Desk Report December 15, 2023 Update on : December 23, 2023
With feed making up over 60% of production costs for livestock operations, ensuring accuracy in mixing and dosing is critical for producers to maximize profits. The latest automated solutions provide advanced weighing technology and precision dosing capabilities to help meet this need. Read on as we explore three main benefits automated systems offer over manual equipment when it comes to improving accuracy and process efficiency.
Reduce Measurement Errors
Automated systems excel at precision weighing with features like self-calibration to provide highly accurate measurements. This prevents issues like underfeeding that limit growth or overfeeding that wastes expensive feed ingredients. Specialized load cell sensors adapted to different ingredient properties account for factors impacting weight like moisture content. Leading options like Alfra even allow remote access monitoring and data capturing for verifying quality control. By minimizing inaccuracies that throw off feed nutritional analyses, operations avoid profit losses and health issues with herds.
Standardize Ingredient Dispensing
Automating the dispensing process promotes consistency by removing variation between employees in how ingredients are handled and measured. Programmable dosing parameters enable the customization of feeds for the unique nutritional requirements of animal groups based on factors like age. Settings can be saved for future use or easily adjusted from centralized control panels. Some systems interface directly with handhelds or software to select required formulations and amounts to dispense and then guide reliable execution.
Gain Process Data and Insights
A less touted yet equally important advantage of automated feed equipment is the rich data it generates on production processes. Beyond the basic readings of weights, advanced monitoring captures metrics on loss, energy use, material flow, system errors, and other operational efficiency factors. Data analysis illuminates improvement areas to drive cost savings, while connectivity facilitates information sharing across departments or external partners.
With a foundational understanding of how precision automated equipment enhances accuracy and productivity for feed mills and operations, the next step is finding the right solutions for your needs.
Compare System Specifications
The capabilities offered even among automated equipment vary greatly, so take time to research options against critical criteria. Key factors to evaluate cover weighing mechanism, throughput speed, calibration needs, data connectivity and analysis, ingredient compatibility, and computerization level. Consider baseline requirements based on current and projected production volumes plus desired functionality improvements over existing equipment.
Prioritize Your Production Goals
Your main priorities determine which automated feed equipment merits investment. If chasing maximum throughput to meet business growth aims, large batching systems with high volume surge bins and fast programmable speeds merit consideration. Operations focused on fine-tuning formulations for performance may value precision micro-dosing tools and specialized sensors to properly measure minute additives. Or if operational efficiency through data and safeguarding diet consistency top the list, integrated scheduling, formulation, batching and record keeping solutions bring the most benefit.
Validate through Hands-On Testing
While device specifications provide a starting point for automated feed equipment selection, hands-on experience verifies real-world performance and usability. Sourcing trials of shortlisted systems onsite utilizing actual ingredients allows direct workflow and output assessments rather than sales claims. Testing productivity, flexibility, calibration needs, data functionality, and ease of use firsthand highlights potential pitfalls saving major hassles down the road.
By combining precision weighing modules with adjustable program settings, connectivity, and data functionalities, the new generation of automated feeding equipment offers livestock producers more control and insights for optimizing accuracy.