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Patented E-finity System Offers Gentle Kibble Conveying

One of the largest German Pet Food manufacturers, producing over 5,000 tons of animal feed daily, used traditional mechanical conveyors as part of their handling processes and required an upgrade in the technology used to transport kibble. Schenck Process first established a relationship with them by installing a pneumatic negative airlift system in 2019. With this solution, Schenck Process managed to further engrain its expansion into the food sector by becoming the company's choice to engineer a continuous dense phase pneumatic conveying solution. Its patented E-Finity® system ideally placed Schenck Process to offer optimal technology in conveying kibble gently to avoid unnecessary breakage.

Optimizing Pet Food Conveying with E-Finity®

The company identified the need to replace its existing mechanical conveying system to avoid potential cross-contamination, increasing maintenance costs, and the lack of ability to convey long distances. They wanted to convert to pneumatic conveying but were concerned about a high yield of material breakage, which they had experienced when trialing conventional pneumatic conveying systems that couldn't handle material as gently as the Schenck Process E-Finity system. Material breakage is costly, but the company was also concerned that broken pieces could reach the final customer and impact material quality. By carrying out multiple pneumatic conveying tests at its Test & Innovation Center in Darmstadt, Schenck Process presented itself and its effective conveying technology in the best position to offer an operative solution in the form of continuous dense phase conveying, utilizing E-Finity.

The E-Finity system that Schenck Process manufacture is ideal for costly, abrasive, or fragile materials, such as pet food, which are moved through enclosed pipes at low velocities to avoid degradation and equipment wear from one silo to the next. The material is conveyed in a slug form and uses precise pressure monitoring and airflow corrections to allow the system to operate efficiently under all conditions. What is unique to E-Finity is the ability to use a single source for the air controls to manage 2-3 different systems simultaneously. It offered the client a cost-effective and energy-saving solution in both installation and equipment.

Low Breakage Leading to Higher Production

One of the key benefits of the E-Finity system was how gently it could transport the customer's kibble through many different stages of the process, avoiding degradation. The steps included the dryer, the coating machine, the cooler, the final product storage silos, and finally, the packaging machines. Through all these stages, the material was moved with minimal breakage, therefore, maximizing and improving their production levels.

Immediate Impact and Improvements

Before approaching Schenck Process, the client faced issues moving their product across long distances within their existing mechanical conveyors. The E-Finity pneumatic system conveyed the product over 250m to connect a storage silo battery with a packing machine. E-Finity gave the company greater production flexibility and increased its daily production rate. This would not have been possible through mechanical conveyors, but the E-Finity could do so with its aptitude for conveying long distances and offering adaptability.

The E-Finity system became an immediate, cost-effective solution for the client and one that will reap a return on investment in the future. It significantly lowered maintenance costs as it has much fewer movable parts than a mechanical conveyor. It also eliminated the cross-contamination issue because the material is transported through an enclosed pipe that can be purged and kept completely clean. At the same time, the E-Finity also keeps material degradation to a minimum.

E-finity® Gentle Bulk Material Handling

Switching to E-Finity

The project highlights the desirable aspects of the E-Finity pneumatic conveyor and why more companies are taking advantage of this innovative technology. As with the developing nature of the food industry and demand for more efficient and cost-effective conveying, Schenck Process has delivered on a stellar piece of equipment that has substantial benefits compared to mechanical options. In protecting the materials by having a low breakage level, E-Finity positioned itself as the ideal technology for its client.

The project saw close cooperation between the sales and project management team from Schenck Process to understand and deliver on the customer's exact needs. By comprehending how the pet food needed to be conveyed and testing it at its Test & Innovation Center in Darmstadt, Schenck Process demonstrated its ability to provide a reliable suitable solution quickly and effectively. It led to the Group also providing its client with pneumatic conveying systems for raw materials before the extrusion process. 

The trust between the two companies highlights a strong working relationship and the capability of Schenck Process's pneumatic conveying applications. Nevertheless, the number of benefits E-Finity provided ultimately saw the food manufacturer quickly make gains in its handling processes.