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Transcript of Design Considerations for the Construction

An ASAE/CSAE Meeting Presentation

Paper Number: 044143

Design Considerations for the Construction and Operation of Feed Milling Facilities. Part I: Planning, Structural, and Life Safety ConsiderationsGregory D. Williams, Ph.D., P.E., S.E., Manager of EngineeringFWS Design Builders Inc., 1600 E. Cliff Road, Burnsville, MN 55337,

Kurt A. Rosentrater, Ph.D., Agricultural and Bioprocess EngineerUSDA, ARS, Crop and Entomology Research Unit 2923 Medary Ave, Brookings, SD, 57006,

Written for presentation at the 2004 ASAE/CSAE Annual International Meeting Sponsored by ASAE/CSAE Fairmont Chateau Laurier, The Westin, Government Centre Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 1 - 4 August 2004Abstract. Feed mills represent an important segment of our food production system, supplying the nutritional need for animals in our meat supply system. Agri-industrial facilities such as feed mills have a number of unique design requirements that are relatively unknown. The purpose of this paper is to summarize state of the art design procedures for feed milling facilities constructed in North America. To this end, in Part I of this series, planning, life safety, and structural design criteria for these facilities are examined and relevant theory is presented. Additional resources are cited for further study of concepts. This paper should be of benefit to both academics who teach facility design and practitioners, alike. Keywords. Agri-Industry, Concrete, Feed Mill, Foundations, Life-Safety, OSHA, Planning, Steel, Structural Design.

The authors are solely responsible for the content of this technical presentation. The technical presentation does not necessarily reflect the official position of ASAE or CSAE, and its printing and distribution does not constitute an endorsement of views which may be expressed. Technical presentations are not subject to the formal peer review process, therefore, they are not to be presented as refereed publications. Citation of this work should state that it is from an ASAE/CSAE meeting paper. EXAMPLE: Author's Last Name, Initials. 2004. Title of Presentation. ASAE/CSAE Meeting Paper No. 04xxxx. St. Joseph, Mich.: ASAE. For information about securing permission to reprint or reproduce a technical presentation, please contact ASAE at or 269-429-0300 (2950 Niles Road, St. Joseph, MI 49085-9659 USA).

IntroductionA key component in the production of meat in the US agri-industrial system is animal feed production. The US Census Bureau indicates that there are currently 1779 animal food manufacturing establishments in the United States (US Census Bureau, 2004). Although a number of contractors and engineers service this industry, that number has been diminishing in recent years. Moreover, the design and operation of feed milling facilities have unique requirements that have not been extensively documented to date. Thus, the purpose of this article is to summarize state of the art standards, practices, and procedures for the design and construction of feed milling facilities, to improve the current knowledge base of the industry.

Overview of a Feed Milling FacilityFeed is produced for a number of animal types including (1) poultry, (2) swine, (3) ruminants, (4) pets, (5) fish, and (6) other small mammals. Feed mills may be single- or multiple-species production facilities. In the United States, feed mills tend to be single species feed mills. In Canada, however, it is more common to have multiple species feed mills. Feed mills can produce pellets, mash or liquid feeds, and these products are shipped in bulk or bagged form. Ingredient storage, conveyance, and proportioning are of utmost importance in a feed milling facility because dozens, if not more, raw ingredients are used in the production of most animal feeds. In the United States, feed production facilities are regulated by the FDA and are considered true food production operations. The health and safety of our food supply is essential for the health and welfare of all North Americans. Because of this, good design, sanitation, and operational practices are essential for all feed mill operations. Two major construction materials are used for feed mills: concrete and steel. Concrete feed mills are typically slip formed (a vertical continuous extrusion process), whereas steel feed mills are typically assembled from bolted bin construction, which are sold as modular units, but may occasionally be welded. Welded bins are usually shop fabricated due to the economies of shop techniques. Feed milling facilities typically involve the storage and handling of large quantities of grain, thus large grain storage units of concrete or steel adjacent to the mill are very common. Major areas of a feed milling facility include the mill tower and associated grinding, mixing, pelleting, and cooling operations. Other areas include receiving, whole grain storage, and the warehouse for the stored products as well as boiler areas. These areas are shown in Figure 1, while Figure 2 depicts the relationship between these components via a general block flow diagram.


Whole Grain Storage

Boiler Building

Mill Tower Boot Pit Reclaim tunnel Liquid Storage Warehouse



Figure 1. Plan view of a typical feed milling facility.

Bulk Grain by Truck or Rail

Grain Reciving Grain Cleaning Grain Storage Magnetic Seperator Milling Mixing Surge Hopper Storage Conditioning Meal/Mash Steam Storage Weigh Other Ingredients Storage

Pelleting Pellet Cooler Crumbler/Granulator Pellets to Storage

Screen Storage Shipping Bagging

Figure 2. General feed mill block flow diagram.


Facility PlanningProper facility planning and design is dependent upon a number of long-range planning and financial decisions. Planning is critical to the long range success of an operating facility. Major items of consideration include: (1) long range planning, (2) expansion versus new construction, (3) site selection and design, (4) facility layout and design, and (5) economic considerations.

Long-Range PlanningIn long range planning, the owners team must look at long term trends in demographics, current production capabilities, as well as consumption trends, to determine the justification for the construction of a new feed milling facility. The management team must also ask if the construction of a new feed milling facility fits into the longer-term strategic goals of the corporation. Finally, the team must examine if the local market can support the existence of a new feed milling facility. Once these decisions have been, made the owners team can proceed to the next level of planning, which is the planning of the actual facility.

Expansion vs. New ConstructionOccasionally an owner may have an existing facility where the addition of extra storage, or the replacing or upgrading of various processing equipment, may be all that is needed to increase production capabilities to meet market demands. Items that must be considered in the decision to upgrade or improve an existing facility should include a thorough examination of the condition of the existing equipment, buildings, and storage. The local community must have the infrastructure present, or at least the desire, to support the expansion of an existing facility.

Site Selection and DesignIf an existing facility cannot be expanded then a new site must be selected and designed. Proper site location can have a major impact on the profitability of a new feed milling facility. Items that should be examined in the planning phase for a facility include transportation, utilities, labor availability, ingredient supplies, and soil conditions. Location of infrastructure such as rail lines and roads can have a major influence on the cost and availability of transportation. Owners may be able to obtain better ingredient pricing via high volume sales with readily available rail service. Locating a facility near a major highway will have the potential to reduce truck shipping costs. Availability of a ready labor supply will ensure that there are people available to operate and maintain the facility. Because mill structures tend to be heavily loaded, soil conditions must be sufficient to support these higher bearing requirements or soil improvements and/or deep foundation systems, such as piling, must be considered, which will increase the capital outlay for a facility.

Facility Layout and DesignIdentifying the type of operation (applicable species; mixed feed, pelleted feed, or a combination thereof) can have a major effect on specific operations within the feed milling operation. Determining the desired production capacity needs will allow for optimal selection of plant, storage and equipment sizes. Specific processing issues are more extensively discussed in Rosentrater and Williams (2004).


Economic ConsiderationsReturn on Investment (ROI) is the final but most important item in the assessing the potential to design, construct, and operate a new feed milling facility. The management team must determine the discounted cash flow streams in terms of expected revenues and expenses to determine if the decision to build a new facility is economically justifiable.

Life Safety Design ConsiderationsOnce the decision to build has occurred and a site is selected, the structural and life safety planning must begin. Federal and state building and safety codes dictate life safety planning issues. These codes are administered at state, local, and federal levels. Federal regulations, such as Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards from Title 29 of the Federal Code of Regulations (NARA, 2004), or state-adopted model codes, such as the International Building Code (ICC, 2000) dictate how facilities are plan