Company will be main supplier of equipment for new Feed Technology Center
Bühler Group has contributed more than $1 million worth of equipment to the new University of Illinois Feed Technology Center.
With its contribution of milling, grinding, mixing and pelleting equipment, the company will become the main supplier of grain and feed processing equipment for the facility.
According to the University of Illinois, “digitally connected facility will feature a Bühler multi-channel, inline NIR system, which will monitor the compositional quality of feed ingredients, in real time, during diet preparation.
“The data will be uploaded to Bühler Insights, their IoT cloud platform, powered by Microsoft Azure, enabling analysis by a team of data scientists. This analysis, combined with Bühler’s team of technologists and process engineers, along with University of Illinois animal scientists, is expected to uncover new insights and provide new tools for feed mill operators and animal producers. Bühler will also supply the automation hardware and software to operate the facility, along with technical expertise.”
Rodney Johnson, head of the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois, said the equipment at the facility will support the department’s research.
“The animal industry is experiencing a digital transformation,” he said. “Our new Feed Technology Center, equipped with Bühler’s newest technology in feed production, will facilitate research that enables real-time decision-making to enhance diet quality and production efficiency. The partnership with Bühler aligns perfectly with our push into the precision animal management space and our newly established joint degree with Computer Science.”
In November 2018, the University of Illinois said it had entered a public-private partnership to fund the Feed Technology Center. Plans for the center have existed for more than 20 years, but the funding has not been available. The public-private partnership, similar to a lease-to-own arrangement, will enable the project to proceed quickly. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2020.
The facility will have capacity of 8,000 tons of specialized small-batch research diets per year, along with numerous interdependent capabilities integrated to provide full system services, including production and storage of grain and forages; storage of specialized diet ingredients; precise diet formulations; milling; ingredient processing; and pre-mixing, mixing, pelleting, extruding, crumbling, bagging and delivery of animal diets for research.
In addition to serving as the site of faculty research, the Feed Technology Center will offer opportunities for students to safely gain hands-on experience with the latest feed technologies, positioning them as strong contenders for leadership positions within the industry. New undergraduate and graduate courses are being created to expand the curriculum in animal nutrition, including a new undergraduate concentration in feed processing technology.