World Grain - February 2021 - 38

FEED QUARTERLY: UNIVERSITY UNVEILS NEW FEED TECHNOLOGY CENTER

have different levels of protein. In the past to account
for that variation, additional protein was used. At the
Feed Technology Center, protein levels can be measured, and adjustments can be made in real time.
Data from the system will be uploaded into Bühler
Insights, powered by Microsoft Azure, allowing analysis by data scientists. This analysis, combined with
Bühler's team of technologists and process engineers,
along with University of Illinois animal scientists, is
expected to uncover new insights and provide new
tools for feed mill operators and animal producers.
Overall, Bühler supplied $1 million in equipment for
the facility, some through donation.
For the first time, the campus will have an extrusion system dedicated to manufacturing animal diets,
including a Wenger extruder and auxiliary processing
equipment donated by Alltech. This will help with
research into using ingredients with low nutritional
value as well as broadening the feed mill's capabilities into pet food manufacturing, Johnson said.
" We have one of the top companion animal programs
in the country, " he said. " With this system, we will be
able to manufacture experimental diets for pets. "
Johnson believes the center will provide multiple
opportunities to engage other departments within the

university. For example, students in engineering or
computer science could study data generated by the extruder. The data also will be a valuable tool in training
students enrolled in the Computer Science (CS)+ANSC
and CS+CPSC (Crop Sciences) programs, and in advancing precision animal agriculture, a critical ACES
area that aims to address local and global challenges
related to food and agriculture, families and communities, and the environment.
" It's a place where the sky is the limit, " Johnson
said. " I see lots of opportunities for engaging groups
all across campus. "
The old feed mill did not lend itself to student visitors. In designing the Feed Technology Center, additional space was added around milling equipment,
making room for groups of students who may visit as
part of a course.
Outreach to the industry is another component of
the center, including hosting workshops relevant to
the industry, Johnson said. There could also be the
potential of offering the mill to third parties conducting research.
" We haven't worked out that model yet, " Johnson
said. " From the extrusion perspective there may be a
company that has proprietary information on a diet

The FTC
includes a
GSI dryer.

38	

WG_Feb21.indb 38

February 2021 / World Grain / World-Grain.com

2/12/2021 8:30:46 AM


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World Grain - February 2021

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