Frequently Asked Question
Feed Milling Automation
Feed Milling Automation
- Most feed mills start with batching and/or pelleting because they usually have the quickest return in terms of labour costs and increased efficiency of production.
- We advocate automation in all areas of the mill from receiving to loading because of benefits in traceability, stock inventory, quality control, security and optimisation of labour resources. We call the The Holistic Approach
- The basic components of an automation system are a programmable logic controller (PLC) and a PC.
- Other technology may be used depending on the customer’s needs for example PDAs or smart phones and bar code scanners
- Must have internet line to the feed plant in order to provide on line monitoring and fault diagnosis and updates.
- Using internet also provides for remote access either from PC or Mobile device
- Developed to meet customer needs in Asia Pacific region
- We are specialist in both livestock feed mills and aqua feed mills
- Flexible without any compromise on quality
- Can be adjusted for each customer
We can show Smart Feedmill via internet provided we have permission of the customer
Q6: Do you generate and release periodic software updates and are these available to the existing users and if so, how do you perform the updates?
- Smart Feedmill is continuously evolving
- We issue updates on a customer by customer basis
- Will depend on service contract
- Updates downloaded via Internet by TAT staff
- We have more than 16 years experience servicing existing customers
Q7: What happens when a plant is to be expanded, does the existing software and hardware support the new inputs or do we need to change everything?
- Depends on the initial hardware installation but most will support future expansion
- We can generally add software as required or install additional hardware if required
- All new Smart Feedmill software is compatible with existing software
Q8: What is the minimum module clients need to have from the beginning in order to support future expansions?
Q9: What parts of the installation and commissioning are done by Agentis Innovations engineers and what is the client responsible for?
- Clients have responsibility for installation, wiring to control box and test running machine with external equipment
- Our engineers have responsibility for the control system for example inside control box and computer systems and commissioning the system
- We provide a supervisor for each installation
Q10: How much down-time and disruption to production can be expected if the replacement of an existing mill control package is being undertaken?
- In the replacement of an existing mill control we recommend to use new installation parallel with old system
- Will run it once a week for 1-2 months and this way it will not have interfere with the old system
- Our engineers then complete transfer over to new system once satisfied everything is working. Usually 1 -3 days stopped production to check wiring and signals and then 2 days production testing depending on size of mill
Q11: Is it possible to “test drive” SMART FEEDMILL on a simulation facility, during the course of the construction of the package in order to de-bug the system before installation?
Yes, we perform Factoring Acceptance Test from their office (FAT) for every client before installation to test drive new system and check for any errors
PLCs and Computers
- For Smart Feedmill and Smart Batching we use Mitsubishi PLC, which is a competitive high end brand, easy to maintain, durable and has excellent reliability and 24/7 service.
- For Smart Pellet we use B&R PLC which is more suited to this part of the process
- We use Dell computers, which have good reliability, long life, easy to maintain and on site service (clients can select their own computer brand if they prefer a local service)
- Mitsubishi PLC is one of the top four PLC in the world.
- We can get the best technical support from Mitsubishi PLC manufacturer
- When there is a need for expansion, with Mitsubishi PLC, we only need to change the CPU module and add the new input/output but with many other PLCs we will need to change the whole hardware to support the expansion needs which is much more expensive.
- With Mitsubishi PLC’s SFC programming language, you can debug and monitor the process easily.
- With Mitsubishi PLC, you can back-up the entire PLC program and all PLC data in the local work station.
- We use Mitsubishi PLC Q-Series which is the newest Mitsubishi PLC model providing a warranty of more than 17 years and spare parts.
Q13: Can other brands be accommodated to suit client preferences or regional/ local supply conditions?
- For PLC we strongly recommend Mitsubishi because of 24/7 service and reliability
- If customer require another PLC, they must provide full specification
Q14: What is the size of the standard output screens that come with the package and are larger output screens supported by the system?
- Screen size 24”, resolution 1920*1080 (Full HD)
- Client can use bigger size and also provide by themselves.
Q15: Does SMART FEEDMILL fully interface with third party control software, such as a pellet mill supplier’s own pellet mill control package, for the exchange of operational information?
- Yes, Smart Feedmill can interface with third party software but needs to have process from third party and data from client such as Buhler, Chronos, Degussa, Mettler Toledo, WinFeed, As400, Komos.
- We can add more 3rd party systems as required by customer.
Q16: Is the standard hardware supplied compatible will all types of sensors and monitoring instrumentation or might these need to be changed to comply with the specific needs of the SMART FEEDMILL hardware?
SmartFeedmill use standard sensor electrical standard signal:
- 24 Vdc. digital input
- Contact relay digital output with 1 A. fuse protection.
- 4-20 mA. or 0-10 Vdc. analog input with isolator.
- 4-20 mA. or 0-10 Vdc. analog output with isolator.
Q17: Why choose serial interface (digital signal) for getting the data from the weight indicator rather than analogue signal?
- Because when the data is transmitted from the weight indicator to the PLC, we do not want any error in the transmitted data
- If use the cheaper analogue signal you would get an error in the digital convert to analogue (Indicator output) and analogue convert to digital process (PLC input).
- The approximate error in the analogue converter is up to 0.5% of the Full Scale.
When we first developed Smart Batching we made it from SCADA Software. However, we found that when we wanted to generate the reports by reading all the data from PLC, we got many errors because we were unable to control the reading process. Therefore rather than rely on SCADA we decided to develop our own software.
- We do not require license fee for additional Work Stations. (SCADA need license fee for every Work Station.)
- It is easy to combine with other technologies, for example, data base (MIS), liquid dosing system applications from third party, CCTV etc
- We use software technology from internationally recognized National Instrument, USA
- Finally, because we develop the software ourselves, we have great flexibility from the most simple processes to the most complicated solutions.
- We always recommended client has ground system and online Uninterupted Power Supply (UPS).
- For Input/Output we used Isolator
- For PLC power supply we used UPS
- For 24 Vdc. Power supply we used Surge Protection
- We have backup program on client server and have security of protection following:
- USB flash drive lock
- Windows recovery system
- Raid1 protection (Hard disk backup)
- All system backup at TAT server and can be released to the client if required.
Yes, we have 24/7/365 service provided system can connect to the internet
Q23: If an operational issue is identified as being the result of a software problem, how long will it take to get an engineer remotely connected to the system to perform diagnostics to identify the problem?
We have VPN remote online system that can perform diagnostics in 30 minutes- 1 hour
We have firewall to protect and recommended to often change password and we used remote technology called Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256 bits which is the most reliable coding
Yes, TAT already included Maintenance Agreement in first year. For following years customer can purchase additional MA.
Our screen never shut down because we have UPS.
Q29: Does the SMART FEEDMILL system have its own back-up battery and if so, how long does it last and can it be upgraded?
We use true online UPS system, 1 system for PLC, 1 system for PC. Time for backup up to battery generally 10-15 minutes long and it can be upgraded.
Q30: What happens when the power returns? Does the system re-initialize in a “safe mode” which requires operator intervention before returning to automatic operation?
Yes, Operator must action by accepting alarm
Q32: What happens when the power returns? On start up, can the user go back to the last screen before the power failure?
Q33: What happens when the power returns? Can the SMART FEEDMILL system track the raw material and the feed that is already halfway in the system, particularly any incomplete batch in the weigher(s)?
Import from file, key in or import by XML server.
User can change batch size by themselves but must be careful for weight when manual dump by hand which has to be changed as well.
System will alarm “Ingredient not flow” and user can switch to weighing in another bin provided it is the same material bin.
We can order to weighing from 3 bins at the same time (same ingredient) and system will cut from 2 bin into 1 bin when reach target weight (Precut Weight set by operator)
Q38: Can Smart Batching be configured to produce batches for more than one discrete production line, possibly producing differing types of feed such as aqua-feed and agri-feeds?
It can but client would need to send flowchart to us to design Smart Batching so that it is compatible with client’s system.
Q39: Do Smart Batching and Smart Premix automatically decrease the raw material stock by the weighed usage amounts per batch produced and, in combination with Truck+ and Intake Station, does this provide a real-time book inventory of raw materials?
Q40: Can Smart Batching be used to “explode” formulations to give a forecast of raw material usage in the short (shift or day) and medium (week or month) term?
- When ASiS EE combine with Smart Feedmill user can see energy usage in real time
- Production energy usage (Ton)/ shift
- Production energy usage (Ton)/ 15 mins.
- Production energy usage (Ton)/ day/week/month
- Production energy usage (Ton)/ job
- Production energy usage (Ton)/ production
Q42: Can reports be customized to suit an individual client’s business requirements as a standard part of installing SMART FEEDMILL?
Client can set different user level access.
Q44: Does the software communicate with other, stand alone business management and management information systems?
Yes it can communicate with another system such as feed formula system or ERP by Datasocket or OPC or XML format or text file.
Energy Monitoring & Management
Energy Monitoring & Management
ASiS EE is a real time energy monitoring software that offers the means to any commercial facility for managing electricity usage efficiently. ASiS EE is a vital tool used for managing electricity costs. It provides the transparency required to understand and monitor the daily electricity usage via the real-time monitoring of multiple electricity parameters and through the optimization of electrical demand
ASiS EE is capable of calculating demand in real time, peak demand monitoring and forecasting at specified time intervals. These capabilities ensure that the user has the required real-time information to make on-time decisions, manually by the operator or automatically via ASiS EE Control option, that helps towards reducing the risk of exceeding the peak demand allocated to the facility and therefore managing the risk of excessive electricity costs. Additionally, ASiS EE provides the tools required to efficiently control the electricity load such as the option to automatically switch on or off machines or utlilties as required.
ASiS EE can connect with a digital meter with rs-485 module in any brand by wiring a communication cable to converter and convert signal to computer.
Standard hardware for ASiS EE system are
- Digital Meter with rs-485 signal
- Communication cable twisted pair with shield 1 pair 2 core.
The operating systems supporting ASiS EE software are:
- WindowsXp service pack3
- Windows7 32 bit 64 bit
- Windows Server 2008, 2012
ASiS EE can be monitored via Android application and web browser.
We have ASiS EE Draw tool for user to create graphic monitoring by themselves. An additional feature allows the user to create their own design using Web Browser which will provide the ability to view on mobile devices.
ASiS EE has an auto report function in excel format to allow users to create reports by themselves and to automatically send to user via e-mail
ASiS EE has alarm function that you can set yourself. You can set alarm for any chosen parameter and the alarm will show in message, sound and e-mail.
ASiS EE has a load control option which allows you to choose the control condition for example: demand, electricity parameter, schedule.
Moisture Measurement & Control
Moisture Measurment & Control
The Agentis Innovations moisture measuring method uses a planer sensor to generate a low-powered microwave field resonating characteristically within well-defined parameters. Filling or covering the planer sensor with a product – e.g. a powder or granules – will change the position and strength of the resonance. These changes largely depend on how much water the product contains. The resonance readings are proportional to moisture. The effects of the product density variations or sensor load are automatically compensated for. The method allows several dozen, or even several thousand, readings to be taken and shown every second
• MORE ACCURATE – due to high water selectivity
• FASTER – the results are available within milliseconds
• INDEPENDENT – the moisture determination is independent of density,
surface structure and color of the sample
• FREE OF MAINTENANCE – no consumables, no aging, no wear
Very fast results, suitable for measuring In Line fast flowing materials
- High accuracy of results
- Measuring independent of product density or product load
- No impact of optical factors on measuring, such as color changes, product surface structure, dust
- Measuring of moisture at product surface and core
- Non-destructive measuring
- No consumables, such as reagents, etc.
- Sensors are maintenance-free and easy to use
Agentis Innovations has developed the manufacture and design of the M007 sensor specifically for the milling industry. This includes pre-programming the M007 sensor for In-Line, real time automated process control for a wide range of manual or semi manual functions . The M007 systems provide real time moisture measuring and automated process control solutions in a feed mill or raw material handling and storage environment.
With the M007 In-Line moisture measurement technology it is now possible to not only monitor moisture but more importantly control the moisture characteristics of the product throughout the process.
The M007 is a versatile standalone In-Line system specifically designed for instant analysis of moisture and density of fast flowing material at a processing line. There are two other types of sensor:
M007 Plus – Specifically designed for heavy duty applications such as product temperature in excess of 80°C and for installation on vibrating platforms and surfaces
M007 By-Pass – Specifically designed for fast flowing in line continuous processes that require not only accurate measurement of moisture but also highly accurate density measurement.
In-Line process control systems involve SCADA programming to collect the moisture data from the M007 sensor and use it to activate commands which can automate a process in response to the level of moisture detected. For example, as grains are passing over the M007 sensor the data readings can be programmed to control the addition of liquid mould inhibiters according to the real time moisture of the grains. This will result in the correct dose level for all of the corn, rather than most systems that rely on a sample test moisture and a fixed dosing rate for a specific period of time regardless of fluctuations in moisture during the time period.
Agentis Innovations team of programmers are expert in SCADA control and automation systems ranging from on/off command functions to highly complex In-Line batching reformulation programmes.
Q8: What processes in the feed mill are ideally suited for measuring and monitoring moisture using the M007?
The M007 sensor technology can be installed at almost any point in the process flow where moisture is critical and requires monitoring in the feed mill or raw material handling and storage environment in real time. Manual interventions can then be made based on the data generated.
There are two key additional benefits for Aquaculture and Petfood mills:
- the use of dryers in aquaculture and petfood requires precision control to avoid over or under drying. The M007 Dryer sensor will not only monitor the moisture at the dryer but can also communicate appropriate control signals to optimize the final feed moisture content.
- where physical properties are so critical the additional functionality of the M007 to provide real time density measurement delivers a significant benefit.
Q10: Which parts of the installation and commissioning are done by Agentis Innovations engineers and what is the client responsible for?
The first step is a visit from our site engineer to identify the appropriate installation point and sensor for the job. A wiring plan will then be produced for approval and any additional hardware (for example automatic sampler) identified which the client will be expected to complete prior to installation.
The installation of the sensors usually takes a day followed by set up, calibration and commissioning by the Agentis Innovations engineer.
Because the M007 sensors are fitted In-Line the production at the installation point must be stopped to allow installation. The time required to stop the line will depend upon the complexity of the installation and any required interface with the mill PLC but in all cases our engineers work to ensure any disruption is minimized.
Once calibration has been completed the M007 control box is connected using Modbus or I/O to other PLC or controller. Additional wiring and some hardware will be required depending on the process step and level of control required.
Calibration is carried out by our site engineer once the installation is completed and process flow operational. Samples of raw material or finished feed are taken and compared to the sensor reading using an accredited analysis system such as dry oven moisture or in some cases NIR if appropriate. The system then determines the regression function automatically
The calibration process depends on how many different types of formulation there are to check and how quickly verification test results are turned around. The target completion is 3 days but that may vary depending on the site and other limitations such as production schedule for finished products. Once base calibrations are set up, additional data can be added remotely by the Agentis technician using the remote on line function within the M007 TMV Super User software.
The M007 can accommodate up to 200 calibration curves, however it is not usual for a plant to require such a high number.
Usually within the same species there is no need for separate calibrations unless there are significant difference in raw material make up. For example, broiler starter, grower and finisher would usually only require one calibration where as layer feed could require a different calibration.
Using the remote access feature the Agentis technician can set up and input data for a new raw material or product formulation at any time as required by the client
Once the calibration is set up there is no need to regularly adjust unless there are significant changes in the raw material or finished product. Agentis Innovations carry out an annual calibration verification test on behalf of all their clients
Calibration selection can either be manual or automatic. To achieve automatic selection the sensor needs to be programmed and communicating with the mill PLC and formulation system using the Agentis Process control system.
Q19: Do you generate and release periodic software updates and are these available to the existing users and if so, how do you perform the updates?
Periodic software updates are issued to existing users as required
Depends upon the client IT system and levels of security
One time per week a wipe with a dry cloth to prevent any build up of residues. There is also a simple empty check test that is performed each week.
Q23: Does Agentis Innovations provide Maintenance and Service contracts covering both hardware and software?
Yes, Agentis Innovations already include a maintenance agreement for the first year. For following years additional service contracts are available.
Data before power down is retained in the M007 memory
Q25: Does the system re-initialize in a “safe mode” which requires operator intervention before returning to automatic operation?
No need for operator intervention following a power down
M007 TMV Super User allows report generation with user selectable parameters
Q28: Does the software communicate with other, stand alone business management and management information systems?
Yes the information is exportable
During the installation and calibration process the on site QA and Produciton and Engineering staff will be trained in calibration and sampling protocols, on site maintenance and performance checks. Additional training can be provided as required.
The sensors and a control unit are manufactured in Europe
The M007 corresponds to the essential safety regulations which are required according to the guidelines of The Approximation of Law of the Member States concerning Electromagnetic Compatability 2004/108/EG and Low Voltage Directives 20 06/95/EG
The M007 is suitable across a wide range of industries that all require accurate and fast measuring of moisture in final products. Examples include; Seed and Grain, Coffee, Wood and Paper, Food Industry and Pharmaceutical