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Toledo Alfalfa

Boosting capacity in Oregon, Ohio

Toledo Alfalfa Mills is a significant producer of U.S. alfalfa pellets. When the company needed to boost production at its plant in Oregon, Ohio, they turned to ANDRITZ FB Canada Inc., for support. The result: a 15% lift in annual productivity.

Alfalfa is a robust, fast-growing pasture crop, used for both animal feed and as a biofuel. It can be harvested multiple times each growing season and has high energy value, producing more protein per acre than any other crop in the United States.

Toledo Alfalfa Mills' product is in high demand. Therefore capacity is an essential factor for the plant, which produces up to 120 tons of pellets per day. To keep pace with customer orders, Toledo must maximize production time during optimal weather conditions. “The weather is one of our biggest hurdles,” says owner Becky Lumbrezer. “Wet conditions can make it difficult to get the alfalfa out of the ground, and dry conditions hamper growth.

Often, there’s a limited window of time to get the product from the field to the plant. We have to process quickly, so we need the best capacity and efficiency to maximize our opportunities. Naturally, our equipment is a critical component in this process.”

A NEW LEVEL OF PERFORMANCE

“We needed to increase productivity, but we had maxed out the capacity of our existing mill,” Lumbrezer states. Toledo has had a long relationship with ANDRITZ, so when the company committed to making the improvements necessary to raise their output, Lumbrezer knew who to call. “ANDRITZ was able to offer the right solution at the right price point.”

The solution: a rebuilt CPM 7930-6 pellet mill, complete with feeder, conditioner, and drives as well as a rebuilt Jacobson XLT hammer mill. “The reconstructed mill gives us greater conditioning capabilities and a more substantial die area. The rebuilt hammer mill provides a better grind with higher volume. Together, Toledo and ANDRITZ managed to boost production by approximately 15%.

While boosting production is critical, maintaining product quality is also paramount. Toledo’s pelleting process starts with drying to achieve the right moisture content.

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Next, raw materials are ground by the hammer mill before being introduced to the conditioner. The conditioner injects low-pressure steam to add heat and activate lignin in the alfalfa fibers, improving consistency and strength of the finished product.

The material is then fed into the pellet mill, and finally, the finished pellets get loaded for transport. “The pellets go through a lot during transport and are subject to a great deal of stress,” Lumbrezer says. “Durability is key, and that demands we have the right equipment, kept in optimal condition. ANDRITZ is the partner that helps ensure quality results.”

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The pellets go through a lot during transport and are subject to a great deal of stress. Durability is key, and that demands we have the right equipment, kept in optimal condition. ANDRITZ is the partner that helps ensure quality results.

BECKY LUMBREZER

Owner, Toledo Alfalfa Mills, Ohio

SUPPORT AT EVERY STEP

Lumbrezer emphasizes that the relationship is probably the most important for Toledo. “ANDRITZ offers a lot of additional options, so I know they will always have what I need and they have expertise in a wide range of process areas so they can quickly offer expert assistance and advice. But beyond that, they have taken the time to get to know our operation, and they are responsive and conscientious, always going the extra mile to ensure the best possible solution for our business.”

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