You may not have given much thought to how the pellets used as food for fish, dogs and cats are produced. It is done like this: firstly the flour is milled, then liquid is added, pellets are formed and dried and then finally filled with oil, in a process requiring a vacuum.
Two problems often occur during this process. One is that the pellets break up and create dust during the process. The second problem is that the pellets, because they receive such rough treatment, break up more easily later on, for example in a feed pipe on its way to the fish.
"We have found the solution, which was actually quite obvious. We have developed a machine that delivers oil to the pellets in a more sensitive way. This method produces less dust during the process and much fewer damaged pellets after the feed has left the factory," explains Olav Fjeld Kraugerud of FôrTek.
Bought by a German company
Amandus Kahl is a German machine producer who supplies machines to the animal feed industry. FôrTek has sold the idea to Kahl, who is working to develop it further. The prototype will be presented at Victam International, a large animal feed fair in Cologne in June.
Kahl's researchers and engineers are currently working at detailed level, to enable the machine and the technical solutions to be ready in time and to fit into the company's equipment portfolio.
"I hope this can become something big," says Kraugerud. “FôrTek is - and will continue to be - a neutral area for development of animal feeds. This is why we ended up by selling the technology, and have left the marketing to machine producer Kahl.”
"Perhaps the most important part for us is long-term cooperation with a knowledgeable equipment supplier. Access to good equipment and machine competence is something our researchers and students benefit from," says Kraugerud, who adds: "To work at a university like NMBU is very inspiring. NMBU has an innovation centre that assisted us during the process, both in the building of the prototype and with the agreement we were able to sign with Kahl."