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Spotlight: Hansen-Mueller Fremont Feed Facility

We're celebrating the 1 Year Anniversary of Hansen-Mueller's Fremont feed facility operating! Check out this state-of-the-art bagging facility for animal and pet food products under the direction of Sr. Trader/Merchandiser, Kathy Butler.
Hansen-Mueller Fremont Facility Outside ViewOctober 2019 is the one-year anniversary of Hansen-Mueller's Fremont feed facility operating. The state-of-the-art bagging facility for animal and pet food products is under the direction of Sr. Trader/Merchandiser, Kathy Butler.
 
For those of you familiar with Fremont, the facility is the old Shade Pasta Inc. plant on South Union Street. The 60,000 square foot facility had been on the market for several years before Hansen-Mueller purchased the property.
 
Inside, Kathy and her team oversee conventional and organic bagging lines for cattle, poultry, horses, and pets. The facility packages under a number of well-known brands, private label companies, and their own Hansen-Mueller branded products.

Let's Talk Technology & Traceability

You might be wondering what makes this facility state-of-the-art? We're going to tell you about it.
 
It begins with traceability, it's a trend that's becoming more prevalent as technology becomes more available and consumers want to know more about the food they are feeding their pets and animals.
 
In the office, staff is monitoring inside and outside the facility with strategically placed cameras. Contracted product suppliers have been given radios to communicate with the office. When one of their trucks pulls onto Hansen-Mueller's property, the staff are able to see them and direct them to dump pit one or two with the radio after probing their truck sample with a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) probe.
 
Each truckload is tested for mycotoxins. Samples are retained on-site for nine months. If the grain or other products being supplied are for one of the Non-GMO feed products, staff will sample the ingredients or grain with their Romer Labs Testing Equipment.  Romer Labs is now an approved lab source for Project Non-GMO.
 
Having worked with Romer Labs' technology, Kathy wanted to continue using their equipment and together the two companies are both Project Non-GMO verified.
 
Hansen-Mueller decided to start participating in Project Non-GMO in 2018. They began their work with Project Non-GMO to fulfill customer needs knowing they had the skills and equipment to successfully implement the traceability required.
 
Non-GMO samples are refrigerated and kept for nine months. The refrigeration helps maintain the quality of the sample longer by restricting heat changes and light changes.
Staff Member Explains the Monitoring System Used

Once sampled and unloaded, the grain and ingredients are distributed to a designated location in one of the eight overhead bins, 12 bagging bins, three totes, two liquid tanks, or three micro bins that feed into either a blending line, pelleting/crumbling line, or one of two bagging lines. Each of the 20 bins can hold about 27 tons or one truckload of material contributing to traceability of ingredients.

Using Faith Technologies, staff are able to monitor any bin or processing line throughout the facility on one of four strategically placed monitors. If the system detects a component not operating correctly or a hazard, the system will automatically shut down. The system shuts off in reverse order decreasing other problems that could occur from continued production on the front side of the process. This also reduces clogging as the system is able to clear out pipes and belts as it winds back to the start of the process.

If the issue is small, the machine can be fixed and restarted within 15 minutes. If it's a technology issue, staff are able to work with tech specialists virtually. If it's a complicated technology issue, there is an Electro Sensors computer on site connected to the monitoring system.  The ability to work virtually with their tech specialists saves time and money as most fixes are minor. ­­

While four monitors run the system, the organic line can still operate if the conventional line needs to be shut down and vice versa. Also, the monitors have the capability to monitor temperatures of gears and bins throughout the process. All greasing is automated with a food-grade grease. Formulas for each of the feeds are pre-programmed into the monitors. This standardization reinforces the consistency of the product and reduces human errors. The ingredients are numbered, named, given a designated location, and percentage amount.

When beginning the production process, the staff fill out their batch sheet and select the product to be made. The monitoring system keeps an electronic log as secondary verification of the batching process.

The blending line runs 27 to 40 tons per hour.  The blending lines can accommodate whole grains or textured feeds. Hansen-Mueller has the ability to atomize solutions onto feed products, increasing consistency in applicability and concentrate evenly throughout the product. The cleaner could process 3,000 bushels per hour of deer corn with flavor, a project Kathy has interest in undertaking.
 
Touring the feed facility and looking at the cumblerUsing CPM's Pellet Crumbler, Hansen-Mueller worked with CPM who had developed a crumbler that is motor driven allowing Hansen-Mueller to pick the crumble size desired.  For more info contact CPM https://www.cpm.net/index.php.  Using EBM's air system, Hansen-Mueller is able to clean poultry crumbles and scratch in a four-bin process. The first bin screens out large foreign material such as corn stalks and leaves. The second and third bin screen and collect dust. The fourth bin houses the dust.

Throughout the facility, dust is being reduced and collected. The pelleting equipment collects dust, the legs have dust collection systems, and there is a blower pack.  The 2019 Spring Flood didn't stop production for long. The flood took out compressors. To remedy the situation, a change was made to expand the compressor room into an unused room and tilt the floor for better drainage. The added room allowed the extension of a third compressor hook-up that could be brought in if one of the compressors needs to be fixed. The facility runs off the two compressors. The compressors are linked so that each one runs the same number of hours pulling the same amount of air. And just in case, there are backup electrical generators. The facility has been built to run 24/7 without interruption if needed.

Worker Capacity:

With four monitors throughout the facility, individuals can partner up on tasks and it also provides capabilities of reducing the number of individuals required in the warehouse to keep the production lines operating efficiently. If help is needed in the bagging area, an individual can still monitor the mixing while assisting in the bagging area. 

Bagging and Transport

On the other side of the blending lines, two electronic robots, nicknamed Mabel and Hazel, are ready to help with bagging. The bagging lines can process 22 tons per hour of pellets or corn.
 
Two identical Hamer/Fischbein bagging lines await to bag the product. The products have already been programmed into the monitors to fill bags to a specified weight. The bags are filled automatically until the system runs out of produced product.  An industrial sewing machine sews the bags shut, stamps the bags with a lot code, and the bag runs through a shaper and flattener before being weighed again. An electronic eye monitors and stops the line if the bag is open.
 
Hansen-Mueller Robots Mabel and HazelRobots Mabel and Hazel won't pick up a bag unless the bag is positioned a certain way. With a handheld device, the Hansen-Mueller staff trained Mabel and Hazel to pick up and stack each bag layer by layer so that the pallets maintain equilibrium and uniformity for transportation. Once the robot is trained on how to layer a pallet it is memorized and can be used again.
 
The pallets are then shrink-wrapped and stored on Grade A pallets. Three forklifts can operate in the facility simultaneously which allows staff to load a truck efficiently. On the east side of the building, there are five loadout docks with screens to keep bugs and foreign material out, but also allows fresh air inside the building on nice days. 
 
Throughout the facility, you will notice radiant heat systems along with the ceiling throughout the facility. Hazel and Mabel must be kept to 65 degrees or warmer or they don't want to work as efficiently. They also prefer to operate in the cleaner environment. Reducing the amount of dust helps Hazel and Mazel run more efficiently and for a longer period of time.
 

More Info on the Facility

Grain Company Announces Plans for Bagging Facility In Fremont
Hansen-Mueller Looks to Expand Footprint with New Feed Bagging Facility
Photos of the Event

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