Petfood Smart Extruder Automation

Project Summary

DAD’S Products Company — a $60-million manufacturer of canned, dry, and soft-moist dog and cat food — looked to Bachelor Controls to minimize waste and reduce the load on the wastewater treatment facility.

Objectives / Requirements

Minimize slurry end-of-run waste to reduce the load on the wastewater treatment facility, including:

  • Handle the wet additive independently rather than in a batch slurry, so slurries can be more generic across products and the more specific flavor and preservative ingredients can be metered at the extruder
  • Automate the ingredient feed system and meter ingredients into the dry feed system at the extruder pre-conditioner
  • Integrate the extruder formula setup/management system so that each formula must be linked to a product that has been defined and resides in the batching SQL Server database
  • Add two additional Readco/Bonnot units to the core BCI AUTOPILOT® configuration and control all three units from a single operator interface
  • Monitor process performance and quality

Results / Benefits

The amount of waste material going to the water treatment facility during change-overs was reduced, producing:

  • 10 percent increase in yields
  • More than 40 percent increase in production throughput
  • 66 percent improvement in change-over times, from 90 minutes to 30 minutesDADS – cat+family
  • “Enormous improvement” in product quality — in terms of shape, color and consistency (Jeff Lang)
  • Eliminated extruder set-up errors against the dry mix product to be run by synchronizing the batch systems’ Batch Campaign Management and extruder’s Formula Selection screens
  • Equipment-independent master recipes, used across production lines, have increased manufacturing throughput and flexibility
  • Data for each step of the petfood production cycle are electronically collected, stored and displayed.
  • The real-time link between the company’s batch process and its business planning functions enables engineers to access information, release batches, and make on-line changes to recipes from workstations across the network.


Bachelor’s ability to provide an installation-friendly panel should not be overlooked. The panel items were grouped, packaged and routed to enhance the installation effort. There are just a lot of little details that are a standard part of a Bachelor panel.

Jeff Lang
Vice President

It’s running fantastic! I love it! We’ve broken three production records in a row. We’ve seen over a 40-percent increase in throughput on average, and we’ve seen change-over times drop by over 65 percent.

Jeff Lang
Vice President