Custom premix system proves to be the ideal solution

Jon Lawson

Jessica Stank presents two case studies in which operations needed to expand and a custom premix system proved to be the ideal solution

An expert in premix products wanted to expand its operations in North America and needed to greatly increase its manufacturing capabilities at three locations. Management decided that the new system should be fully automated with front-to-back inventory control. Since the product would be distributed to several different feed manufacturers, the company needed to track each ingredient that went into its products, as well as each finished good that was produced.

The design-build engineering firm the premix company hired approached APEC to see what it could offer in equipment and controls.

APEC worked with both the premix company and the contractor’s engineering staff to develop specifications and an implementation schedule. APEC designed a system that included barcode scanning for ingredients so they could be tracked within the plant, all the way through the process, and to their final finished packaging. The system used off-the-shelf components and a software package that can be easily modified as the client’s needs change.

The APEC Premix System gave the customer the capability to automatically produce and track its formulas. The system also keeps track of the quality control functions that are used for both incoming ingredients and finished packages. Since the system is completely automated, the needs for accuracy, record keeping, and ingredient tracking are easily accomplished with reports that are generated by the control system.

Nutraceutical manufacturer

A manufacturer of vitamin and mineral premixes formed a partnership with a major pharmaceutical company in Mexico. The success of the joint venture quickly increased the demand for their products along with the number of products offered. The new partnership soon expressed a desire to have improved recording keeping and ingredient tracking. These capabilities were not possible under their current system due to the manual aspect of the machinery. They also needed the new equipment installed without interrupting production.

The partnership approached APEC with their plan to improve their premix process. APEC’s engineering staff worked with the ownership team to develop a horizontally oriented system composed of a completely automated premix system. This system included 30 ingredient bins, material handling conveyors, three scales, one mixer, and two packaging lines to allow for proper tracking and record keeping.

The major scales, minor scales, micro scales, and support structures were manufactured at APEC with the large carrier bins being manufactured locally (based on APEC’s designs). This was part of a plan to save the partnership’s money on freight and also to assist in facilitating a quick and seamless installation.

To avoid any interruptions in production, the system was installed in a custom-designed warehouse that was being ordered and constructed while APEC designed and assembled the equipment and control systems.

The system gave the client the ability to formulate, mix, package and track both large and small bags of premix and concentrate. Due to complete automation, the needs for accuracy, record keeping and ingredient tracking were easily met with the reports generated by the APEC control system.

The capacity of the system easily met the client’s needs on a single shift basis. As the company grows, it is able to easily increase production by adding shifts.

Jessica Stank is with APEC

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