Customer Case Story

Background

Nola is a South African company processing agricultural raw materials such as corn, soybeans and sunflower seeds into dog food as well as a variety of consumer products. The company was founded back in the 1940s, and started out as a farm. Nola has grown substantially since then, and is now the South African market leader for several of its products.

Nola had been using Perten Inframatic feed analyzers for about 10 years, but wanted to know how the latest technology could be used to improve their operation.

Perten solution

Perten presented the Diode Array Feed Analyzer, using modern diode array NIR technology. Perhaps its most important feature is the ability to analyze inhomogeneous samples of all kinds without drying or grinding, even hay or feed pellets.

Practical experiences

Over the years Nola has experienced several benefits of their Perten NIR instruments.

One example is the optimization of dog food oil content. If the oil content is too low the dog is not getting its recommended daily allowance, but on the other hand a higher oil content will introduce too many calories in the diet and increase production costs. Using an Inframatic Feed Analyzer, Nola is able to control the amount of oil added to the pellets thereby making savings in raw materials and ensuring the nutritional value of each batch. The instruments are placed at-line and thanks to the rapid analysis the operator can make immediate changes to the process when necessary.

Another at-line application Nola is benefiting from is the monitoring of the moisture content in the finished dog food. The product is analyzed immediately after the drying oven and the results provide information on whether the oven temperature and drying time is correctly adjusted. Too high moisture content means a risk of fungal growth, whereas too low moisture content means unnecessary drying costs and a lower production yield.

With the Diode Array Nola analyzes both whole dog food pellets and sunflower seeds, avoiding tedious sample grinding. An immediate effect of this was that the four employees who were working with sample preparation were able to move on to other tasks that create more value to Nola.

The ability of the Diode Array to analyze inhomogeneous samples meant that Nola were able to tighten their specification of oil in the soybean press-cakes by one percentage point, thereby considerably increasing the efficiency of their oil crushing plant. In economical terms the advantages were so large that the Nola management decided to purchase a second Diode Array equipment from Perten Instruments.