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Extrusion Revolution

This article is published in International Aquafeed May 2017

Background of Innovation

Still in its infancy stage in Southeast Asia, the pet food and aquafeed industry (especially for floating fish feeds made by extrusion) has been experiencing high organic growth by volume of feeds produced every year. To fulfill this growing demand, more lines of extrusion equipment is invested. Several challenges have emerged from this unprecedented expansion: lack of qualified operators, production problems due to formulation changes (increasing the concentration of plant protein versus animal protein), loss of startup wastes, unseasoned equipment operational and maintenance skills, higher standards for feed quality, and costs of energy per ton of feeds produced.

Manufacturers of pet food and aquatic feeds have seen significant increases in the cost of their raw materials and energy costs. Profit margins have been difficult to maintain and the future promises no change in this situation. IDAH has always recognized these issues and it is built into our core philosophy to supply solutions that maximize opportunities for our customers.

Barrel for twin screw extruder
Figure 1. Barrel of ContraTwin extruder

ContraTwin: answer to all challenges

To meet these new challenges, a revolutionary extrusion system designed to fit the local markets was required. With a 40-year history in Aquafeeds Production, IDAH developed its answer: ContraTwin. It is designed with twin screw extrusion features but with re-engineered screw designs and rotation direction to accommodate future aquafeed formulation. Developed to convey very sticky and puffy material (such as high fiber materials like plant protein), ContraTwin uses a very positive pump that does not waste mechanical energy or shear. For tougher materials, operators can perform cooking in the mid-barrel system: this is where the actual work is done. The result of this strong pump and cooking significantly increases efficiency and utilizes lower Specific Mechanical Energy (SME) when compared with other single or co-rotating twin screw extrusion.

The ContraTwin is designed with an innovative 3-part transmission system. A motor drives a splitter gearbox and a relatively large bearing base is aligned and interconnected: this delivers a 24/7 rugged operation machine. The ContraTwin extruder is very easy to use and offers a unique operation experience. It is designed for beginner operators, easing most customer fears of finding skillful extruder operators.

Sharing the benefits of extruders with twin screws, ContraTwin has low start up waste and wide product characteristics compared to single screw extruders. ContraTwin can produce aquafeed with extruder die ranging from 0.6mm floating fish feeds to 27 mm sinking fish feeds. Remarkable energy saving per ton (up to 20% energy saving) have been observed at customer sites. Another method that ContraTwin saves energy is by using more direct steam thermal energy instead of mechanical energy or shear. Due to the significant reduction in energy consumption, feed millers can produce fewer carbon footprints: directly giving them sustainable feed products.

Features and Benefits of ContraTwin:

  • Patent design with counter-rotating twin screws. Unique drive train to minimize capital costs, energy costs and maintenance costs – We engineer for rugged 24/7 operations.
  • ContraTwin screws don’t waste energy shearing product. They convey even the most difficult fibrous ingredient mixes to the point in the extruder where we choose to do the work. The very positive action of the ContraTwin screws forms highly uniform pellets even when fiber content is high or viscosity is low.
  • ContraTwin mid-barrel die with shaft support system is the place we choose to do the work for most products. This short intensive work zone minimizes the wasted energy resulting from traditional extrusion systems, with minimum back-flow (pressure flow) giving minimized length of the work zone, reducing torque.
  • All this creates a machine that has specific mechanical energy (SME) costs and wear costs only typically previously seen in single screw systems, with capital costs that also match.
  • Smallest die plate is 0.6mm for floating fish feeds.
EP-156D ContraTwin Extruder
Figure 2. ContraTwin Extruder model EP-156D.

Graduated from National Taiwan Ocean University Food Science Department earning the title of Master of Science (MSc.) Albert has a strong background in science and used this science-based approach to deliver knowledge to Customers. Yearly experience in sales, technical, and marketing departments, added with continuous communication with the Customer gives him the knowledge in feed machinery and its operations.

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