Si-Ware: NIR based tool allows feed millers to maximize use of high-value raw materials
Time spent waiting for lab-grade analysis on feed quality can limit the profitability of an operation, said the US developer. Using its FT-NIR spectral scanning technology, raw materials are measured for nutrient content and protein levels, allowing real-time decisions to be made to maximize feed production and reduce overall input costs.
Ralph Hewitt, vice president of global Sales, Si-Ware Systems, was showcasing the company's NeoSpectra technology at IPPE in Atlanta last month. We spoke to him to hear more about the potential benefits of the handheld nutrient analytical tool for feed millers.
“The technology has benchtop quality, accuracy, and precision, which is not something typically seen in a portable unit. That is one big differentiator that we have."
Another plus is the technology's protein measurement capabilities, he said, which would, evidently, appeal to poultry processors and the feed mills responsible for vertically integrated poultry farms.
Users of the device, he reported, are seeing a high level of accuracy and precision in relation to their protein measurements, and that is down to the technology’s large-wavelength or wave number range. “There have been a lot of handhelds released over the past 15 years or so but the place they all seem to struggle is in protein measurement.”
Along with protein, the handheld device can measure moisture, fat, fiber, ash and starch content of poultry feed raw materials.
“Because our FT-NIR [technology] has the full wavelength range it also has capabilities in relation to measuring essential amino acid composition.”
Such data is becoming increasingly critical in relation to the poultry processing business, globally, added Hewitt.
“A paper from researchers based at Ohio State University references our technology as regards evaluation of amino acid composition in soybeans.”
There is low initial investment and cost of ownership associated with the device. “So even small-scale processors would be able to buy a unit at a fairly low cost and thus expand the range of measurements they carry out.”
Optimizing high-value raw material use
The handheld technology can support feed mills in measuring incoming feedstuffs, determining their quality and consistency, so they can ensure that what they have been sold meets specifications.
“Inputs costs on raw materials such as soybean meal, and corn gluten meal are going up. We need to make sure that, when our customers are using these devices, they can get accurate and precise numbers so they can make adjustments on the fly and optimize the use of these high value materials.”