The Archer Daniels Midland Company recently held an open house to celebrate the opening of its new, high-tech feed facility in Glencoe.
The original plant, constructed in 1948, was very manual-labor intensive and needed a lot of updating. So two years ago, planning began for the new facility, which will have an annual production capacity of 100,000 tons of animal feed.
“It will be our most automated facility in our division,” said Ryan Goldie, VP of operations. Employee numbers will remain the same—16 hourly and seven salaried employees, he added.
The Glencoe plant contains the latest in ingredient handling, safety and plant technology. As local ingredients are trucked in, they are unloaded into one of 21 bulk bins, taking about 15 minutes per load. Employees working in the new control center follow feed ingredients through the receiving, batching and pelleting process via a computerized monitoring system. If any problems arise, the computer can do an automatic shutdown. Plus, management’s cell phones can be programmed to receive alerts about the system.
Three scales are available for weighing major bulk ingredients—protein, mineral and filler. Another scale in the micro room weighs micro ingredients—vitamins, minerals and flavors—that are stored in 34 micro bins. And a third scale outside the building weighs ‘toted’ ingredients, such as lysine and potassium chloride. A separate building, which is insulated and heated, houses three tanks for liquid ingredients—molasses, choice white grease and soy oil.
With employee and food safety as top priorities, managers made sure the building was well-lit and contained no glass. They also had a dust collection system and in-line metal detection installed throughout the plant.
New for the Glencoe site is a cold-pelleting process that will help produce feed that won’t freeze or clump in cold weather.
Another part of the feed manufacturing process that will be totally different is the bagging and stacking area. Employees did all that by hand in the old plant—holding bags for filling, carrying them for packing. Now, that process is all automated by ‘Sven’ and ‘Ole,’ said Lyle Highland, plant manager. The first machine, which they call ‘Sven,’ hangs the feed bag, fills it, sews a tag on and adds a lot code, checks it for metals and weighs it. Then ‘Ole,’ the robot, stacks the bags on a pallet.
Twenty-eight finished feed bins will hold fresh finished feed and more than 30,000 square feet of warehouse space will store product.
The Glencoe facility serves customers in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.
“This new, highly automated facility will enhance our ability to meet customer needs for quality feed in the dairy, beef, swine, poultry, game bird and wildlife sectors,” said Brent Fenton, president of ADM Animal Nutrition. “With mixing systems that can produce bulk or bag feeds in either meal or pelleted forms in various package sizes, we are excited to use the very best technology in order to offer our customers an extensive, customizable array of the very highest quality feed products.”