FAQ's

FAQ's

IN ORDER TO PRODUCE PELLET IS IT NECESSARY TO ADD ANY GLUE OR AGGLUTINATING INTO THE PRESS TO...

It isn't. Absolutely not.

Some people who are trying to get familiar for the first time with the pelletisation process mistakenly believe that in order to obtain the cylindrical shape of the pellets, additive sticky substances have to be poured in to make the material "glue" together.

Nothing could be more far away from the real production process of our beloved little cubes: it is only the pressure generated inside the pellet press which create the strength and the heat necessary to melt together and form the material with the well known cylindrical shape.

For example in the case of wood, through the rupture of the cellulose molecules the lignin contained in them is released and so the agglutinating element needed to compact and maintain the cylindrical shape of the product is supplied 100% naturally. Totally healthy.

Therefore it is the main goal and also main responsibility of a state-of-art plant producer to provide the proper technologies to keep all extruded pellets always compact and dry, to avoid the presence of annoying - and not appreciated by pellet Customers - phenomena such as: irregular length of pellets (too short / too long), the presence of dust or mould (fungus) in the final packages. All those phenomena are the result of a bad production plant planning as we will see in the following answers.

The robustness of ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES machinery allows to transform all the power of the engine on the rotor straight into force for the extrusion without any loss due to unnecessary and harmful vibrations.

Furthermore, the implementation of stainless steel for any machine parts in contact with the extruded pellets supports the correct handling of the newly formed pellet without damaging it and protects at the same time the whole machinery from the wearing out due to time.

CAN WATER OR OTHER LIQUIDS BE POURED INTO THE PELLETTISING PROCESS?

All ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES Pellet Presses offer the feature to add water or other liquids in order to make softer or more fluid the product to be processed within the pellet machine chamber.

The addition of water or liquids should not be confused with the addition of glues and agglutinants, which as explained before is not only an useless action but it is also counterproductive (as that would jam the machine in a few minutes) and illicit.

ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES Pellet Mills offer an ASA-flow meter to control the water to add into the mill's conditioner and the machine is designed with two separate inputs for optional entry of steam or two different liquids.

WHAT IS THE ADD-VALUE OF THE PELLETING PROCESS?

Compared to the treatment of rough materials, the pelletising process offers clear advantages in the following aspects:

- For wood pellet more and better handling of utilisation, conservation and slow combustion by final Customers;

- For the feeding pellet more and better capacity in nutrients retention and assimilation by animals;

- For fertilising pellet more gradual and better release of substances inside the fertilisers;

- For waste recycling pellet more and better storage capacity, transportation, handling and processing.

In addition, the most important advantage is being able to balance the mix of materials in the best desired percentages, optimising the offer of the product in the easiest and most recognisable way for the final Customer.

IS THERE A MINIMUM QUANTITY REQUIRED TO JUSTIFY MONEYWISE THE START OF A PELLET PRODUCTION?

In theory there are no minimum quantities of material required to produce pellet, and it can also be produced starting from little quantity of recycled materials (e.g. some dried sawdust or sawmill trimmings, for wood pellet).

In practice, an important separation has to be made between the process of industrial pelletising and craft/hobby activities:

If the aim is simply to recycle a bit of material to obtain pellets for self-consumption, then also machines for a non-professional usage can meet as needed.
However, if the goal is to start an activity that is fully profitable and that justifies the commitment in time and investments with tangible ROI's, it is essential to take into consideration several factors such as:

- The type of material to be pelletised;

- The initial state of the material and its stage from which you plan to start your pelletising production process*;

- The quantity of moisture/humidity still kept inside the material to be transformed (responsible for the future presence of mould and funguses);

- Specific plans of amortisation of the investment plus the ease of recollection and availability of the initial material to be processed;

- The production location of the material to be collected, which has a direct impact on the costs of transportation, labour, energy-consumption etc.

Based on our experience gained with years of production and hundreds of installed plant and machineries, an accurate and detailed analysis of the project feasibility which considers all the above is the key to success of a profitable business plan. And of course, it is amongst the most important services that we at ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES are proud to provide our Customers with.

* (e.g.  for wood: starting pelletising from big logs covered by thick bark won't require the same machinery and system complexity - with its associated costs, than using only dried and ready to be processed sawdust from sawmill trimmings).

IS IT POSSIBLE TO PRODUCE PELLET SIMPLY USING ONLY A PELLET MILL?

Mainly any pellet press works materials with a very fine particle size: similar to sawdust, tiny scraps or powdery materials.

The farther from this type of starting material to be processed, the more machinery will be required in order to transform the input product with its initial size (and shape) into the one suitable for pelletisation within the Pellet Mill.

The same also applies to the materials' hardness and their level of initial humidity-moisture, since those factors are both what require specific preparation steps for the product before entering the Pellet Mill extrusion chamber.

The design abilities and the process engineering skills owned by ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES technicians are focused to maximise the yield of each production plant via minimising their system complexity through reducing the number of machines and parts needed. They are trained to control the initial required investment and the following plant's maintenance costs.

WHAT IS THE STRENGTH OF ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES PRODUCTION?

Since their outset, ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES Pellet Mills and their production lines have been conceived and designed for the processing of hard materials.
In the last twenty years we have accrued a solid and considerable experience in the WOOD pelletising sector, which constitutes a huge advantage when designing machinery to pelletise and grind all other softer materials.

The machines manufactured by ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES are indeed more robust, verified by calculation software and high-precision assembled, in order to provide our Customers with more resistant to heavy loads and mechanical stress products, which offer longer duration and reduce vibrations to a minimum.

They also comply with all EN-Plus requirements.

Furthermore, they are designed for the maximum energy efficiency, which results in tangible savings and thanks to their robustness and absence of vibration they may convey the whole KW force of each engine - without unnecessary losses - into the processes of grinding, refining and extrusion.

WHAT KIND OF SOLUTIONS MAY ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES OFFER?

ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES is widely known for its ability to offer complete and turnkey solutions, covering:

- Advising phase on business plan definition with market situation's expertise;

- Advice on the most relevant commercial aspects of the project;

- Analysis of the critical success factors and the key financial aspects;

- Expertise on fiscal and/or legislative aspects related to investments in foreign countries;

- Implementation and system management of the plant;

- Knowledge in defining the following scheduled maintenance plan.

We also provide spare parts and after-sales services, both for our products and for the different types of machines available on the market, relying on teams of well-trained technicians who are available for international quick-response interventions.

WHAT ARE THE KEY FACTORS TO SUCCESS FORTHE WOOD PELLET PRODUCTION?

The factors which determine the success of a pellet plant implementation are the same as those involved mainly in any industrial production activity.

Amongst many others we would like to emphasise, however, those factors which impact the most the process of transforming materials through pelletisation, as following:

- The ease and the availability of supply of the initial material to be pelletised;

- The production continuity, which is granted only by the most efficient plant and most reliable machinery;

- The ability to achieve (and in many cases exceeded) the investment amortisation targets and their deadlines, which is related to the reliability of the machinery, as defined on the business plan;

- All plant management and maintenance costs, which directly affect the project profitability.

ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES plant solutions are designed to work continuously 24h / 7 in order to maximize production, minimize operating costs, break down to a minimum the number of downtime, supporting our Customers with all those aspects and leaving out only one critical factor (not directly depending on our machines), which is how to ensure the continuity of supply of the initial product to pelletise.

IS IT ALWAYS REQUIRED THE DRYING STAGE TO PRODUCE PELLET?

In order to obtain a pelletised product which meets all state of the art requirements, we strongly recommend the level of moisture of the input material at the entrance of the extrusion chamber not to differ much from the following figures: between 10-14% humidity **.

The phase of drying the moisture in excess is one of the most expensive of the entire process. However excessive humidity is the main cause responsible of many problems -regardless of the type of material - affecting the final product and therefore annoying the Retail Customer.

This stage should be well evaluated during the project planning: because the higher the percentage of humidity of the initial material to process,  the greater impact the drying phase will have on the costs of the process.

** (However consider the figures only as a reference, as it may vary depending on the product to be pelletised. Please contact us directly for more specific information relevant to your needs).

WHAT SIZE SHALL HAVE THE INPUT WOOD (OR ANY HARD MATERIALS) TO BE PROCESSED BY THE PELLET MILL?

In order to obtain an extrusion of hard materials, the material to input into the Pellet Press must have a very small particle size, similar to sawdust, fine scraps or powdery materials. If the material doesn't fit those features, it must be transformed before entering into the Press Mill.

To clarify: the bigger the material's initial dimensions, the more machinery is needed (and a longer production line) to reduce its size and to make it achieve the state of (dry) sawdust.

The experience and the competence owned by ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES technicians in process designing and service engineering always aim to match the most technologically advanced projects with the less structurally complex solutions available and the most rational number of elements.

Our goal means reducing the burden of the initial investments and the subsequent management costs.

DO YOUR SYSTEMS REQUIRE LOT OF MANPOWER?

The solutions provided by ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES don't require much manpower to assist the production, as they can range from semi-automated to fully automated systems which require the intervention by the operator reduced to minimum.

Of course, the number of operators needed is direct consequence of the size and complexity of each installation and the number of scheduled work shifts per week.

In addition, all our production lines can be provided with TELESERVICE, which allows operators (also from ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES) to adjusts remotely and in real time any parameters of the whole plant both for routine checks as well as for technical intervention purposes. 

The adjustments may be performed remotely on all controls, working parameters, alarms, maintenance reminders, all historical data of the system.

This allows our Clients to minimize the number of interventions affecting their productions and to optimize the headcount of their resources needed to operate and maintain the plant.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF A TWO ROLLERS PRESS COMPARED TO OTHER SOLUTIONS WITH MORE ROLLERS?

The solution chosen by ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES more than two decades ago and kept until today for the extrusion system of our presses implements two rollers only, which - compared to solutions with more rollers - offers the following advantages:

- Reduced complexity of construction corresponding to a stronger solidity and firmness of all parts;

- Less internal obstacles resulting in extra-room within the extrusion chamber to grind the material;

- Lower inner rolling resistance thanks to the possibility to install larger rollers;

- Reduced number of spare parts simplifying all intervention operations and reducing the downtimes;

- Lower maintenance costs resulting in a more profitable investment.

WHY DO ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES EMPLOY LARGELY STAINLESS STEEL FOR ANY PARTS COMING IN CONTACT WITH HOT...

ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES solutions use of the best quality of stainless steel for all machinery parts which are in direct contact with the pellet producing.
That is one of the essential requirements for a production line capable of maintaining intact all characteristics of an organic pellet (also a strong added value to the subsequent selling process for the Retail Customer).
At the same time, it ensures a much longer productive longevity widespread throughout the plant (which is a strong added value to the investment for our direct Customers: the investors and producers), minimizing the overall impact of corrosive steam emissions onto all production line parts.

ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES considers very important to differentiate in the market from those manufacturers that use non-stainless steel materials for the above mentioned function:

- Using non-stainless steel materials would make ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES products much more economical and perhaps more competitive pricewise, but it would threaten their intrinsic level of quality = making the day-to-day plant management much more expensive and its maintenance more costly, because all parts coming in contact with the hot pellets should be replaced every couple of years by Customers!

WHAT TECHNOLOGY DIFFERENTIATE THE SERIES OF SMALL PRESSES FROM THE BIGGEST PRESSES?

All ZPM presses series share the following main features, which ensure the highest quality of any ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES products:

- A single main engine for the pellet mill press = to achieve maximum energy efficiency and substantial savings in electricity, compared to the solution with two engines;

- Group of four multi-blades cutting knives (entirely made of stainless steel) = to guarantee optimum cutting distance and consistency of length for each and every single pellet, as required by some laws and certifications (e.g. for wood the EN-Plus);

- Hoisting system on top of the machine (with electrically operated device as an optional) = to allow easy and quick maintenance, easy accessibility to the extruder chamber and to each consumable parts;

- ASA-meter for water adjustment to the conditioner =to allow micro-dosing and fine tuning of the moisture levels within the product to pelletise;

- Automatic lubrication unit = to maintain a safe and controlled monitoring of the passage of grease into the rollers and its correct quantity and presence;

- Safety pin for shaft protection from breakage = to preserve the engine rotor in case of external bodies or overload of the extrusion group;

However the two main features only that differentiate the larger presses (starting from ZPM 600 up to ZPM 1050) are:

- Automatic control on the press-rollers cooling system (standard) = to allow a much lower thermal load of the bearings and monitor the process heating with special and ad-hoc installed sensors;

- Automatic self-adjustment of the rollers (optional) = to obtain continuous micrometric adjustment between the rollers and the die while machine is running and without the need for intervention, for an optimal and long-lasting usage rate of all parts and their proper and smooth consumption.

CAN YOU PRODUCE PELLET FROM ANY MATERIAL?

The answer is positive for many materials. The list of materials that can be processed and pelletised is quite extensive. Over the years, our experience has been by building and consolidating around the following main categories:

- HARD and/or SOFT WOOD (Pine, Spruce, Larch, Beech, Olive-pits , Oak, Chestnut, Birch, etc.);

- FODDER (Straw, Hay, Alfalfa, Oats, Corn, Rye, Barley, Wheat, Leguminous, etc.);

- FEED (With mix of Cereals, Bran, Fodder, Tubers, Seeds, Fruits, Molasses, Beets, etc.);

- FERTILISERS (Manure, Compost, Chicken-Manure, Soil, Correctives, etc.);

- WASTE (Composite Materials from Recycling Chains, Municipal Solid Waste, Powdered Charcoal, etc).

With simple configurations and minor adjustments of our machines all these materials can be processed into pellets by using the very adaptable ZEPI TECHNOLOGIES products.

All that has been planned in order for our Customers to produce any formulation with specific dosages and mixes according to their specific requirements and needs, and to make them achieve the most satisfactory results out of their production lines.