During the past 6 years, increases in energy costs have adversely impacted the profitability of feedmill operations. The market values of dried feed, molasses, and d-limonene have not sufficiently increased to offset this additional cost. Lacking alternatives to processing wet peel, many of the large citrus processors have operated feedmills at a financial loss.

The optimal operation of a citrus feedmill requires that a combination of process, resource cost, and product market value data be analyzed and translated into actions that will maximize operating profit or minimize operational losses. In particular, variations in peel volume and moisture content, evaporation requirements, product market values, and resource costs require that a detailed process and economic analysis be routinely performed to achieve optimal financial performance. As a result, the complexity of achieving optimal performance on a day-to-day basis can be overwhelming to operators and managers.

This paper discusses operational challenges that are common to many citrus feedmill operations, and proposed solutions. The basis for these solutions is a mathematical process and economic model that utilizes operational data to forecast production quantities and operational costs for a specified set of operating conditions. Equations are developed for optimizing energy usage, solids value, and operating profit in real-time. In addition to optimizing daily performance, the model can be used to determine optimal product yields, train operators and managers, determine the technical and financial merit of capital improvement projects, establish realistic performance targets, and devise accurate cost accounting drivers.

Paper published with permission.

This content is only available via PDF.