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Numéro de publicationUS3806001 A
Type de publicationOctroi
Date de publication23 avr. 1974
Date de dépôt18 avr. 1972
Date de priorité18 avr. 1972
Numéro de publicationUS 3806001 A, US 3806001A, US-A-3806001, US3806001 A, US3806001A
InventeursPratt W
Cessionnaire d'origineMicro Chem Inc
Exporter la citationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Liens externes: USPTO, Cession USPTO, Espacenet
Feed formulation system and process
US 3806001 A
Résumé
Micro ingredient formulating machine assembly provides not only for dispensing and mixing a plurality of solid micro ingredients and also liquid micro ingredients and conveying same by a solid-liquid-gas slurry under pressure to mix with animal feed mixtures while at a uniform composition and dispersing same uniformly into such feed mixture but also includes a series of mechanically sturdy program control components in a switch unit for rapidly, exactly and reliably setting timing and monitoring each of a plurality of variable operating functions. The process is controlled by calibrating and setting of adjustable components and subsequent automatic selection of such components according to a pre-arranged program.
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Description  (Le texte OCR peut contenir des erreurs.)

[ Apr. 23, 1974 FEED FORMULATION SYSTEM AND PROCESS [75] lnventor: William C. Pratt, Canyon, Tex.

[73] Assignee: Micro Chemical, lnc., Amarillo, Tex.

22 Filed: Apr. 18, 1972 21 Appl. No.: 245,084

Primary Exari1inerRobert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-H. Grant Skaggs, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or FirmEly Silverman [5 7] ABSTRACT Micro ingredient formulating machine assembly provides not only for dispensing and mixing a plurality of solid micro ingredients and also liquid micro ingredients and conveying same by a solid-liquid-gas slurry under pressure to mix with animal feed mixtures while at a uniform composition and dispersing same uniformly into such feed mixture but also includes a series of mechanically sturdy program control components in aswitch unitfor rapidly, exactly and reliably setting timing and monitoring each of a plurality of variable operating functions. The process is controlled by calibrating and setting of adjustable components and subsequent automatic selection of such components according to a pre-arranged program.

11 Claims, 14 Drawing Figures zATENTED R I 3006001 suzueora FIG. 2

RATENTEB APR 23 I974 sum 3 ur 4 F/Gl/ FEED FORMULATION SYSTEM AND PROCESS CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED MATTER IN UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE This application discloses and claims matter in a disclosure document No. 6331 filed Aug. 13, 1971 in the United States Patent Office by the inventor herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The field of art to which this invention pertains is feeding devices for animals with timer controls, hoppers and troughs, with three or more sources and a common discharge.

2. Description of the Prior Art:

Micro ingredients are those ingredients in animal feeds the amount of which is fed are described in terms of grams, milligrams, parts per million or other terms applicable to very small units or quantities and includes, for instance, minerals, vitamins, antibiotics and hormones. For instance, approximately 0.30 to 0.40 percent calcium is recommended in rations for cattle and sheep, 0.20 to 0.30 percent phosphorous, iodine is only 0.007 percent, and cobalt one milligram per day per 1,000 pounds of cow and hormones are required to be strictly controlled. Such materials are expensive yet deemed desirable if not necessary for commercial competitive feeding to beef cattle. Animals in feed-lots at different growth stages have different requirements for micro ingredients and, accordingly different amounts of different micro ingredients need be fed those animals at different stages of growth. Especially in feedlots where the animals in any one pen are in different stages of growth'than another adjacent thereto the amount of the micro ingredients to be fed to each pen must be, for best economic performance, fed with discrimination and reliability. For purposes of such discriminatory feeding an apparatus as herein which provides for individualingredient control with accuracy and dependability and ready variation of each of many ingredients has not been heretofore available.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Process and apparatus for continuously and positively driving each of a plurality of biologically active solid micro ingredients at one of several closely controlled predetermined fixed rates to a first micro ingredient mixer and conveyor at a first location and there mixing the plurality of ingredients thoroughly together to form a first uniform mixture thereof: this first mixture is passed into a liquid carrier and admixed with air to form a second mixture. Each of a plurality of metered liquid micro ingredients may be mixed and passed into the liquid carrier forming the second mixture. This second mixture is pressurized and then passed through an elongated conduit while its pressure is lowered: air

I is released and expands therein to separate the slurry The scheduled use of each of several program control plates which are sturdy and not readily altered provides a rapidly and reliable setting of all of many factors and facilitates keeping permanent records of the program of formulating the feed used.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an overall view of the animal feed forming and distribution system according to this invention shown diagrammatically partly in perspective and broken away in part.

FIG. 2 is an overall flow diagram for materials in the assemblies including the components shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a front oblique view of the dispensing assembly 24 in usual operating condition with side cover sheets attached thereto, and control panel door assembly 68 folded shut.

FIG. 4 is an overall front view of the dispenser assembly 24 with control panel door assembly 68 open and side cover sheets removed and dispenser tanks 74 and removed.

FIGS. 3 and 4 are drawn to the same scale and are scale pictorial views to illustrate the dimensions of parts thereof.

FIG. 5 is a front oblique view of control unit 22 with program controller plate slot empty and is drawn to scale.

FIG. 6 is a front oblique view of the control plate assembly 43 and is drawn to the same scale as FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a diagrammatic horizontal sectional view through the zone 7A illustrating the relationship of the control plate to some of the seitch units of the control unit when the plate is in its normal operative position in slot 41.

FIG. 8 is a rear oblique view of the dispensing assembly with side wall covers removed therefrom. FIG. 9 is a front oblique view of the micro ingredient mixing chamber and pumps and valves therefor. FIGS. 8 and 9 are each drawn to different scales but are each scale views to illustrate relative sizes of parts.

FIG. l0is a top or plan view of an ingredient bin 72 partly broken away at wall 72C to show the tube 99 therebelow and such tube is partly broken away.

FIG. 11 is a diagrammatic vertical longitudinal section through spray nozzle 27.

FIG. 12 is a diagrammatic vertical sectional view, parallel to axis of shaft 96A of screw conveyor 96, of mixing tank 78, generally along plane 12A of FIG. 4.

FIG. 13 is a top oblique view of an assembly of spray nozzles attached to a mixer tank 28.

FIG. 14 is a diagrammatic wiring diagram of control elements for one of the motors in dispenser assembly 24.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODI- MENT:

The animal feed forming and distribution system 20 of this invention is shown in FIG. 2 in block diagram and in FIG. 1 in more detail: it comprises a micro feeder system 21, a grain mixer 28, feed transport trucks 30 and feed troughs of the feedlot 31. The micro feeder system 21 is particularly adapted to feeding of micro ingredients; it comprises a control and signal unit 22 which is operatively connected by a remote control and sensing cable 23 and sensing and motor control units in dispenser assembly 24. The dispensing assembly 24 connects to grain mixer 28 through conveyor conduit 26. Feeder system 21 is a fully automated card operated system which comprises apparatus for accurate metering of three separate levels of up to six dry and six liquid micro ingredients which are delivered through the conveyor conduit 26 in a liquid slurry form to the final mixing point of the feed in mixer 28. Mixer 28 delivers the final mixture of feed plus micro ingredients 38 to a transport truck, as 30, which operates in the feedyard 31: the feedyard 31 comprises a plurality of pens, as 32, 33, 34, and 35 and a roadway 36 with feed troughs 37 and 37 on each side thereof with the truck 30 dispensing through a dispensing trough 39 to the troughs, as 37, in each pen, as 35, a quantity of feed of the formula as at 38. Conduit 26 empties to mixer 28 through a spray nozzle 27.

The control and signal unit 22 comprises a standard vertically extending rectangular cabinet 40 with rigid walls, (shown to scale in FIG. with a front face 50, switches, signal lights and a program plate support slot 41.

The face 50 is rigidly attached to supporting side walls, as 53, a floor and a top cover as 54. A rigid rear wall is attached to the top cover, the side walls and a bottom cover plate.

The upper portion of the face 50 is provided with a plurality of signal lights, as A, B, C, D, E, F, and G for each of the motors 82-85, 181, 81, 89, and 89 to indicate the operation thereof. A horn switch 55 is provided to indicate when, as shown by the signal lights, as 65' and 65" that either-the power is not on, a meter is not operative, the flush is not operative, the card is not in place, or some ingredient needs to be refilled. or the inlet water is improperly operative, the feed screw is inoperative, or the pump is unduly worn.

The bottom portion of the face 50 is utilized to form the rear face of a slot 41 for location of any of a plurality of program control cards, as 43.

A control card 43 is a rigid rectangular perforated plate 47 perforated by like holes, as 44, 44, and 44". These holes are arranged in four vertically equispaced horizontal straight rows with 14 holes in each row. Some of these holes are provided with rivets or plugs, as 45, firmly affixed in place in each such holes and blocking the channel otherwise through such hole (see FIG. 7). Front and rear faces of the plate 43 are flat and smooth and parallel to each other.

The front face of the plate 47 is supplied with identifying and orienting indicia, as arabic number 7 in FIG. 6. A base support 56" and side arms 56 and 56 firmly fixed to the lower portion of face 50 extend forwardly of the face 50 and hold the plate 43 firmly yet releasably as below described.

The lower front face 50 is perforated by a plurality of holes, as 60 and 60 arrayed in the particular embodiment shown, in four parallel horizontal rows of 14 holes each. Each of the holes is of the same size.

Each of 56 spring loaded switches, as 42 and 42 have a spring loaded plunger, as 46 and 46, respectively, projecting through each of such holes, as 60 and 60', respectively.

Each of the arms 56 and 56 have arm slots, as 57, in which the side edges and ends of front and rear faces of the plate 43 fit smoothly. The slots serve to hold the rear face of the plate 43 slightly spaced away by a small distance 58 (shown in FIG. 7) from front face 50. Such a position relative to the face 50 permits passage of the plate 43 past the projecting plungers, as 46, of switches, as 42, intended to be maintained in electrically open circuit while the rear of each plug, as 45, projects rearwardly of rear face of plate 43 and contacts and moves inwardly of face 50 each plunger, as 46, of each switch, as 42' intended to be brought to electrically closed position by the plug, as 45, positioned in plate 43 as shown in FIG. 7.

Thereby, each switch, as 42, whose plunger, as 46, is not blocked by a plug as 45 extends forward by reason of its spring loading (59) and its electrical contacts 18 are not electrically closed, while a plug, as 45, of the card 43 blocks the projection of other switch plungers, as 46', and electrically closes contacts 19 thereof, whereby the card 43 provides for closure of selected switches in assembly 22. Each programming card as 43 is firmly held in place in slot 41 by a ratcheted clamp 48 which is releasably locked by a pivotal ratchet arm 49.

A cycle timer 61, a manual or automatic selector switch 63, and the starter button 64 are provided on face 50. Other signal lights, as 67 and 67" indicate to the operator which components of assembly 24 are selected for operation by card 43; e. g., metering assembly 92. A single 110 volt A.C. electric source 24? powers the entire assembly 21; the plate or card 43 is a selective relay connection for switch control elements for a plurality of control of power to and operation of components of the dispenser unit 24. A conventional multistrand electric cable 23 operatively connects the control and signal unit 22 to the dispensing assembly 24 sensors and control components 130 therein.

The dispensing assembly 24 comprises a frame and shell assembly 70, a plurality of mixing tanks 72, 73, 74, and with controlled speed motors 82, 83, 84, and 85, a mixing and conveying assembly 69 and a pumping and conveying assembly 90.

The frame and shell assembly 70 is a rigid open frame composed of top, bottom, left and right frames and covers therefor.

A rigid rear rectangular frame A comprises rigid bar elements 105A, 106, 107, and 108 rigidly and firmly connected together to form the rear of the frame assembly 70. A rigid front rectangular frame 100 comprises rigid bar elements 101, 102, 103, 104 (FIG. 4), also rigidly and firmly connected together at their ends form the front of frame assembly 70. Rigid left side bar members 109 and 110 firmly join the vertical members 102 and 107 on the left side (FIG. 4) and like rigid horizontal members 111 and 112 (FIG. 4) join the vertical members 104 and 106.

Control panel door assembly 68 comprises a pivotal side cabinet 124 which is composed of top, rear, bottom and front and side reinforced panel members 125, 126, 127, 128, and 129 and pivotally attached to the right rear, vertical member 106 for access to the electronic control components 130 supported therein; a top cover 114 shown open in FIG. 3 is pivotally attached to the rear frame: it is imperforate and when closed covers the top of tanks 72, 73, 74, and 75.

Each of mixing tanks 72, 73, 74, and 75 is an open topped rectangular pyramidal vessel formed with imperforate side walls, as 72A, 72B, 72C, and 72D open at its bottom to a rotatable screw conveyor and agitator blade structure 92, 93, 94, and 95, respectively therefor. Adjustable speed motors 82, 83, 84, and 85 are each supported on bottom of frame 70 and are operatively connected to screw conveyor assembly 92, 93, 94, and 95, respectively in tanks 72, 73, 74, and 75, respectively.

Each primary or ingredient metering assembly, as 92, comprises a screw 96, blades as 97, a trough 98and a discharge tube 99. The'screw is a rigid metal helix. It is firmly attached to front and rear blade rings 97A and 97B. Blades, as 97 and 97 are supported on rings 97A and 97B. Screw 96 is firmly attached to drive shaft 96A. Each trough 98 forms a smooth enveloping fit on bottom of its supplying vessel, as 72: trough 98 extends below screw 96 and beyond the tank 72 as tub 99 over a mixing and conveying assembly 69. Screw 96 extends through tube 99. In operation the assembly 92 breaks up conglomerates of dry particles as well as propels such ingredient through the tube 99 at any of several pre-set rates of flow.

The mixture conveying assembly 69 comprises a screw conveyor 76 and a conveyor trough 77 therefor. Screw conveyor 76 is a screw auger with a spiral channel and is supported on rigid shaft 76D. Frame assembly 70 supports the horizontally and rear to front extending conveyor screw 76 by journals 76A and 768 in conveyor trough 77. Amixing tankv 78 open at its top to trough 77 and at its bottom to inlet lines to pumps 79 and 79 is supported on the frame at the discharge of the conveyor screw 76.

The mixing tank comprises front and rear spaced apart faces 133 and 134 with downwardly and centrally sloped side walls 131 and 132 and top walls 133' and 134 with an orifice 136 therebetween. A float chamber 138 is operatively connected to rear wall 134 of tank 78. The float 137 is operatively connected to a throttle valve 139 to control rate of flow of water into tank 78.

The float chamber 138 comprises a bottom wall 138', a right side wall 138", a like left side wall (not shown), and a rear wall 138". These walls are imperforate and firmly attached together to form a water tight enclosure 40 open through rear wall 134. Orifice 136' is below and spaced from orifice 136 in trough 77.

The motor 82 for ingredient metering assembly 92 is a direct current shunt wound motor and, accordingly, has adjustable speed: it comprises a rotatable armature 151 and a field coil 157. The armature comprises a 5 of rotation of the screw as 96.

The setting of each of several discharge rates from each of the ingredient tanks, as 72, is accomplished as below described and then the particular rate to be used is selected and the ingredient metering assembly actulO ated by a program control card' as 43 in unit 22.

The actuation of each of the motors as 82 is selectively controlled by closing of contacts as 163, 18 or 19 by the program control plate 43 in the unit 22.

The actuation of the components of motors 83, 84,

and 85 are similarly selectively controlled by the program control plate 43 operatively located in the unit 22 as above described.

To set the discharge rates of one tank, as 72, the adjustable resistance or potentiometer 160 is set to provide a given rate of flow of the particulate material from such vessel, as 72, through its tube, as 99, to the trough 77: the potentiometer 160 is set to discharge initially an approximate amount of such feed: on operation of the metering assembly, as 92 the discharge from the spout therefor, as 99, is weighed and the setting of the adjustable arm in the potentiometer adjusted to provide the desired weight of such discharge and the first potentiometer 160 then has its adjustable arm fixed to the resistance of the potentiometer at such setting. For a substantially different amount of delivery of that ingredient, with the first potentiometer set at the setting theretofore made for the delivery of such first amount of the ingredient, the assembly 92 is operated, the discharge weighed and'second potentiometer 161 is adjusted until the desired weight of discharge is proshaft 152 with commutator rings 153 and 154 thereon ingredient flow, switches, as 42 and 42' in unit 22 with normally open contacts 18 and 19 are used to selectively connect one or another of such combination of circuit elements as shown in FIG. 14 to provide any of 6 several preselected discharge rates of ingredient from tank 72 to trough 77. Ingredient flow rate is measured by weighing it.

Each of the tanks, as 72 is provided with a level sensor, as 67 connected to a level sensor signal 67 at control and signal unit 22 (tank 73 is connected to a like but differently located signal light 67") and like signals are provided for each such tank so that, by signal to the vided and the second potentiometer setting is then fixed. A third rate of delivery is similarly provided by adjustment of potentiometer 162.

Each of shafts as 96A for each assembly as 92 has a speed signal unit attached thereto; such unit herein described is exemplary of assemblies 93, 94, and 94. The unit comprises a pair of magnet bars 173 and 174 and a reed sensor 175. The bars are permanent magnets and square in cross section and rectangular in longitudinal section. The south pointing pole of each magnet is permanently affixed to the shaft 96A and the length of each magnet projects radially from the center of axis ,of shaft 96A. The centers of the bars 173 and 174 extend at an angle of about 45 to each other in a plane transverse to the axis of shaft 96A. The shaft 96A is coaxial with screw 96. A reed switch 175 is supported on frame with the contact support arms thereof extending parallel to direction of longitudinal axis of shaft 96A but spaced away from that axis by a distance slightly greater (e.g. one/eighth inch in the particular embodiment herein described) than the outer end of the (1 inch long) bars 173 and 174. The outer ends of bars 173 and 174 have the same polarity and such polarity is opposite to the polarity of the ends of such bars attached to shaft 96A. In operation of assembly 92 the shaft 96A for each assembly as 92 is rotated by motor therefor, as motor 82 for assembly 92, and the movement of magnets 173 and 174 past reed switch closes the normally open contacts thereof and connects through signal unit 22 to a signal light, as A, on unit 22. Such rate of operation signal system does not suffer from wear or interfere with the speed of the motor. The

light, as A, lights once each revolution of shaft 96A to indicate its operation.

The above described connections and parts of tank 72, motor 82 and metering assembly 92 are the same as are provided for tank 73, its motor 83 and its metering assembly 93 as well as for tanks 74 and 75, their motors 84 and 85 and their metering assemblies 94 and 95.

The pump and conveying assembly 90 comprises pumps 79 & 79, pump motors 89 and 89' respectively therefor, lines 145 & 146 and conduit 26. Liquid pumps 79 & 79' are each supported on frame 70 (FIG. 9). The intake of each pump is connected by a manifold 142 to the discharge opening 135 of tank 78: flexible lines 143' and 144 connect to intake of pumps 79' & 79 and plug valves 143 and 144, respectively; discharge lines 145 and 146 respectively connect from pumps 7 9 and 79 to join discharge manifold 149. Manifold 149 is operatively connected to conveyor conduit 26. Plug valves 143 and 144 are provided between manifold 142 and lines 143' and 144', respectively and plug valves 148 and 147 are provided between lines 145 and 146 respectively and discharge manifold 149. The manifolds 142 and 149 are made of conventional steel: line 26 is a transparent flexible plastic line: and lines 143, 144, 145 and 146 are of strong but flexible hose.

Additionally, liquid containing tanks 71 and 177 are operatively connected to liquid pumping motors 81 and 181, respectively and liquid pumps 91 and 191 are provided to drive fluid from such tanks. The liquid tanks 71 and 177 may be supported outside of frame 70 or on frame 70. The motors 81 and 181 and pumps 91 and 191 are controlled from unit 130. The procedure for setting of the speed of motors 81 and 181 to provide a predetermined rate of liquid output of liquid from each of tanks 71 and 177 is the same as above described for motor 82, as motors 81 and 181 are shunt wound D.C. motors with the same wiring relations as motors 82, 83, 84, and 85. The speed of motors 81 and 181 and the selection of speed of motors 81 and 181 and the corresponding selection of one of several fixed rates of liquid discharge is effected by the selection of the switch connections to be made by the plate 43in the unit 22 closing selected switches to the field coils of motors 81 and 181 in the same manner as the selection of one particular speed of motor (and screw. attached thereto) by selected connection of pre-adjusted field coil circuits is made for motor 82 as above described (and using an identical electrical circuit as shown for motor 82).

The D.C. power to the motors of assembly 24 is provided by a rectifiers 150 and 150 conventionally connected as in FIG. 14.

The speed of each helix as 96, and blades 97, with the level sensor 67 maintaining the level of material in the bin 72 above a predetermined minimum, disrupts any agglomerates of particles in the bin 72 prior to propelling the resultant powdery and readily flowing mass through the tube 99 and out of tube 99 to trough 77 as a shower or stream of individual particles of such ingredient as is in tank 72.

A variable speed D.C. motor 176 with adjustable step control thereon, as for motor 62, drives a sprocket wheel connected to chain 176A to sprocket 76E on shaft 76C of screw auger 76.

The unit 130 also controls a water motor 182 and water pump 183, output line 184, valve 139 and discharge lines 186 and 186'. Motor 182 is connected to and drives pump 183; pump 183 has an intake port that is operatively connected to a water source 187.

Valve 139 is controlled by float 137 to maintain a sufficiently low level of water in tank 87 that substantial amounts of air are drawn into the liquid stream passing from tank 87 into line 26.

The screw auger 76 is rapidly rotated to provide a turbulent and thorough mixing of the separate ingredients from tanks 72, 73, 74, and and so avoids an uneven distribution of micro ingredient particles that would result in a subsequent passage into the mixing bin 28 of large masses composed of only one or of substantially only one ingredient.

The angular speed of the periphery of the screw 76 in the trough 77 provides not only thorough agitation of the finely divided materials added thereto from tubes, as 99, from each of tanks, as 72-75, to provide a uniform mixture of finely divided solids in trough 77 but also the axial speed of the periphery of the screw 76 moves the mass of mixed dry material produced by passage of material from tanks 72, 73, 74, and 75 through the discharge orifice 136 of trough 77 into the mixing tank 78 at'such a rate that the slurry formed therewith in tank 78 with the water or other liquid added thereto is uniform in composition. The liquid components from tanks 71 and 177 are admixed together prior to addition to the tank 78 and are also formed into a uniform-admixture with the finely divided solid materials from tanks 72, 73, 74, and 75. The solid ingredients are mixed together in trough 77 after being separated into streams of individual particles projected into trough 77 at fixed weight rates so that a constant proportion of such ingredients is provided at orifree 136 of trough 77: the liquid micro ingredient materials are likewise mixed at constant proportions to each other prior to addition to the mixing tank to avoid or minimize any unequal or preferential different adsorption rate effects in tank 28.

The air which is added to the mixture of water and fine particles in the mixing tank 78 not only serves to increase the velocity of each of the increments of the water slurry or suspension passing through the conduit 26 but also increases the turbulence within each of such increments traveling through the tube 26 and thereby effectively prevents clogging of such slurry in its passage through conduit 26.

The water added to the additive slurry or mix in the mixing tank 78 provides for prevention of adherence of the masses of the mixed ingredients from tanks 72, 73, 74, and 75 to the hydrophobic wall of the conduit 26 and thereby provides for stability of the moving mixture composition increments from their entry into the conduit 26 to their discharge at the spray end thereof. Also this addition of water provides sufficient water for adherence--as by capillary action--of the fine micro supplement particles to the larger particles of feed in the grain mixer 28 and so avoids segregation of such fine additive particles in that mass due to possible segregation and/or separation of the larger particles of grain from the smaller particles of supplement because of the action of air currents into and out of tank 28 developed by passage of grains and air entrained therein into the mixing chamber 28.

The liquid-air-slurry of solid-solid admixture serves to transport the finely divided particulate ingredients through conduit 26 from mixing tank 78 to grain mixer 28 without segregation during such transport and also, by the vigorous spray action in tank 28, to atomize the liquid slurry into many small drops of like composition (e.g., 0.06 inch to 0.30 inch) diameter to thereby evenly distribute such small portions of even composition throughout the mass of feed in the mixer tank 28. The water holds the small solid particles together in the spray and ensures their travel together and into the grain mass without segregation due to difference in particle size and density and initial adherence to hydrophillic surfaces in the grain mass in mixer tank 28. Because of the low moisture content of usual feed mixtures some of the water in each droplet is absorbed and some is evaporated and the separate solid particles carried by the droplet are then dispersed in the neighborhood of the initial landing" or location of such droplet in the grain mass.

The size of tank 78 relative to trough 77, the amount of water added, the power of pumps 79 and 79' and speed of operation of each of the motors, as 82, 83, 84, and 85 for corresponding ingredient mixing and conveying assembly, as 92, 93, 94 and 95 provides for a thorough and even dispersal of those solid ingredients with each other and with the liquid added in tank 78: the uniformity of the solid-solid mixtures and subsequent solid-liquid mixtures in such additive mix at manifold 142 provides that the spray thereof will be uniform and this in turn provides that the dispersal of the micro ingredients through the grain mass in tank 28 will be uniform.

The addition of repeated very small increments of uniform composition of the additive mix to the grain mixture in the mixing chamber 28 provides uniformity of dispersion of the additive mix throughout the mass of the grain mix to form a mixture of solid feed grain with such micro ingredients: this is an improvement over non-uniform addition where very few and large increments of such micro ingredients are made to such a grain mixture.

Further, by this process and apparatus segregation of fine particles of the micro ingredients in mixing chamber 28 (due to possible separation of large particles of grain and small particles of the micro ingredient because of the selective carrying action of air currents developed by the passage of the grain and air entrained therewith into the mixing chamber 28) is avoided.

The tanks 72, 73, 74, and 75 each are vibrated by a vibrator 172 comprising a crank eccentrically supported on a rotating armature, with a coil attached to the wall, as 72A and the armature is, in operation of assembly 21, rotated rapidly.

The trough 77 may also have a vibrator attached thereto to increase the mixing action of the ingredients added thereto and passing therealong.

With a fixed setting of the pump 183, the float 137 in chamber 78 is connected to an alarm and signal light, as 65" to indicate wearing of a pump and permit the operator to rapidly cut off connection of the one pump, as 79, then operating by valves 144 and 148 and connect the other pump, as 79' by valves 143 and 147 as needed.

A centrifugal alarm and signal (76) connection is provided at the feed end of the screw conveyor 76 to indicate if if there is any discontinuity in the feed thereto and a sensor 185 activates a signal light and horn 55 when any undesirable plugging of the slurry mix in the discharge line 26 occurs: sensor 185 is sensitive to the back pressure in the discharge line 26.

A control 189 and alarm (at 55) is also provided for the inlet pressure of water sensed at meter 190.

The area of tank 78 over which the solid additive concentrate is added to the liquor therein is small; the discharge of the slurry container is at its bottom; water is added by lines 186 and 186' at the top tank 78 from opposite directions and its agitation in tank 78 is sufficiently violent that ceiling panels are added at the top of the slurry tank or chamber 78. There is a 45 angle from (a) where the water enters at outlets of lines 186 and 186' to (b) the zone of discharge 135 of the water with the slurry ad mixed therein.

The level of water over the discharge hole 135 of the slurry mix tank or chamber 78 is usually only about one-half inch and, with the three-quarter h.p. motors 89 and 89' for each pump 79 and 79', vortex action is visible in tank 78 as shown in FIG. 12.

There is a short conduit or manifold 142 from the chamber 78 in which the water and solids are mixed to the inlet of the pumps 79 and 79. The inlet from 142 to pipes 143 and 144 is, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 9, below the level of the inlet of the pumps 79 and 79. The mixing of the solids and the slurry with the liquid is begun in the manifold and completed in the pumps. The capacity of each pump 79 and 79' is at least twice the rate of water addition from line 184. The herein provided connections for the two pumps 79 and 79' provide that, as soon as wear occurs on one of the pump stators is noticed, by closing the valves 144 and 148 or by closing valves 143 and 147 the other stator may be used while the first one is replaced and operation of assembly 21 continues. These are self-priming pumps and operated at 1750 r.p.m. Accordingly, this is a self-priming suction pump action which mixes the air together with the water for a dispersion into and carrying of solids therein. This is not a passive mixing but a vigorous agitation with the air sucked in, beaten in and then (much later) separated out of the slurry mix during its passage through and out of conveyor conduit line 26; The pressure in line 26 is about 30 p.s.i.g. at the discharge line manifold 149 and the air is not released until the slurry mix conduit reaches the exit of the conduit 26. This provides for a reduction of plugging as otherwise occurs in a slurry mix composed solely of water and solids where there is no air, and avoids water hammer and clogging effects as might otherwise occur.

This apparatus and process thus provides for a maintenance of a large amount of air traveling along with the slurry mix which slurry mix is composed not only of the solid powdered additive and liquid additive and water but also air. The air volume in the discharge is substantial, about 50 percent of the total volume of the discharge at outlet of conduit line 26.

The mixing of the solid powders prior to their admixture with the water and the air provides a homogeneous mixture of the solids: the mixing also serves to stabilize the froth formed with the water rather than having slugs of different compositions of solids which would provide for differing slurry stabilities. This vigorous mixing together of all the solids prior to mixing with the water provides a more stable dispersion than would otherwise occur if there were only a separate mixing of each of the solids with water, and more material is dispersible in the water in this manner because of the continuous and rapid flow ofthe solids than is possible by a separate drop-wise addition. This better carrying power provides for a more uniform dispersed product at the end of the discharge line 26 and for reducing the amount of the water in the final feed while still having the same total amount of solid additives. Each of several similar control plates or cards 43 provided with different arrays of plugs 45 for different selections of process steps are provided'for contacting various plungers, as 46 and 46 according to different formulation process programs and is replaceable. The programmer panel face 50 shows the control points, conditions and the ingredient refilling alarm. In operation of assembly 21 card 43 programs provide for flushing of pump and conduit line 26 between cycles to avoid contamination from one cycle to the next. This dispenser 21 is made for bag loading as well as bulk feeding in troughs or the like. On operation of the assembly 21 there is palpable by the human hand or foot at the end of a 75 foot discharge hose 26, within 6 to 10 foot of the end of that hose, sharp and loud gurgling (sounding like glopglop) which is irregular and loud and more irregular and less smooth than a light murmur or bubbly sound hear (sounding like bubbly-bubbly or hub-hub, hub-hub) about feet from the machine 21 through the same 75 foot long pipe; the pipe 26 is an elastic yet strong rubber or transparent plastic hose of five-eighths inch inside diameter and 1 inch outside diameter hose. The amount of air released from the slurry increases from the pump discharge at inlet of line 26 to the outlet of line26 which provides for improved clearing action of the slurry material as the slurry approaches and reaches the discharge nozzle 27.

Aureomycin 231 as used in tank 72 has incorporated therein an emulsifying agent. The emulsifying agent characteristics of this are shown that putting a teaspoon full thereof with about 100 cc. of water and shaking it in a 16 ounce Coca-Cola bottle provides a very stable and large foam with the size of the foam about half the volume of the water. Accordingly, these biologically active particulate materials used in tanks 72,73, 74, and 75 have emulsifying agents and such agents are used by the above described mixing in the above described dispenser 21 and its pumps,.as 79 and 79'.

The lateral edge of each of the tanks as 72 has a lip that rests on the frame 70 outer member as 112 and the center edge of each tank as 72 has a lip that rests on a central'rigid frame member as 112 that extends from rear top member 108 to front top member 101. A rigid hanger 102' is firmly attached to and supported from frame members 101 and 108 to releasably yet firmly supports the central edge of assemblies as 98: the lateral edge is supported on its motor.

A respresentative sample of the proportions of ration ingredients fed by the apparatus 21 and delivered by nozzle 27 are set out in Table 11. Some formulae may have larger amounts of antibiotic, as is required for use when animals on such feed are subject to cold weather. Table 1 sets out data and dimensions on one embodiment of apparatus 21 and its operation.

The unit 22 and assembly 24 are in conventional operations of feedmill for feedyard as 31 usually spaced away from each other by S0 to 500 feet and connected by cable 23.

The mixing tank 28 is fed by each of three grain andor hay and/or silage tanks 28A, 28B, and 28C to form a mixture thereof in tank 28 prior to addition thereto of the additive mix from conduit 26: tanks 28A, 28B, and 28C are only illustrative.

The switch contact points as 18 and 19 (one or more of which may be closed by plug 45 of program card or plate 43 when located in slot 42 of unit 22 as above described) connect through electrically separate and distinct wires in cable 23 to activate corresponding coils as 167, 169, and 171 of switches 166, 168, and 170 respectively in assembly of panel 68. Those coils (as 167 and 169) when activated, selectively close corresponding switches as 166 and 168 respectively for control of a motor as 82 and cause selective discharge of material as above described from corresponding ingredient storage, as from bin 72, according to the schedule thus determined by the location of a plug as 45 in plate 43. Other switch contact points similar to 18 and 19 in unit 22 are similarly controlled by similar plugs, as 45' and 45" elsewhere located on plate 43 and similarly selectively actuate other switches as 170 for the motor 82 and/or the discharge mechanism for one of the other ingredients to be selectively dispensed from assembly 24, e.g., in bins 73, 74, 75, and containers 71 and 177, according to schedule or program determined by location of such other plugs as 45' and 45" in plate 43.

Each motor as 82 of each discharge assembly as 92 of each material holding assembly as 72, 73, 74, 75, 71, and 177 of assembly 21 is composed of a variable speed DC. motor and has a like motor control therefor located in unit 130 of assembly 68. Each motor as 82 comprises a field winding 157 and armature winding each connected to an electronicallystabilized voltage and rectified electrical power source 163 and 164 respectively. Such conventional voltage power sources are shown in Electronic Module No. 2120 of Seco Electronics Corporation of 1001 Second Street South, Hopkins, Minnesota 55343 and Power Module N0. 2020 by Seco Electronics Corporation.

In the apparatus 21 the electronic assembly 130 comprises, for each of the motors, as 82, a series of potentiometers as 160, 161, and 162, and relay controlled switches as 166, 168, and therefor as shown in FlG. 14 to provide a plurality of preselected different stable and reproducible levels oramount of voltage drops across the armature coil 155 of motor 82.

By the procedure as above described, by manipulation, for each motor as 82 of each of the potentiometers 160, 161, and 162, any of several (three are discussed) preselected speed of each motor as 82 for driving the ingredient dispensing means (as helix 96 in assembly 92 for bin 72) is provided. In the embodiment illustrated the voltage across motor field coil 157 is stabilized at 100 volts by the voltage regulator 163 and the voltage across the coil 155 of the armature 151 may vary from 0 to 90 voltas at regulator 164 depending on the setting of the potentiometers 160, 161, and 162. The electronic voltage regulator assembly used for regulators 163 and 164 may be one assembly as in the above described modules.

Closing contacts 18 of switch 42 in unit 22 for and connected to relay coil 167 of switch 166 closes normally open contacts 167A and 1673 and opens normally closed relay contacts as 167C and 167D of relay switch 166 in unit 130, as shown in FIG. 14. Closing contacts 19 of switch 42' connecting to relay coil 169 of switch 168 closes normally open contacts 169A and 169B and opens normally closed relay contacts as 169C and 169D of the switch 168in unit 130.

Closing of another switch as 163 in unit 22 to activate coil 171 for relay switch 170 closes normally open contacts 171A and 171B and opens normally closed contact 171C and 171D.

The connection of the potentiometers 160, 161, or 162 provides for one or another or yet another speed of the motor 82.

The wires 192 and 193 and 194 are connected across the armature voltage regulation source as a trigger circuit in the preferred embodiment but may carry the entire armature current.

On closing of contacts 167D, 169D, and/or 171D after operation of the motor by closing contacts 167A, 169A, or 171A the higher voltage in line 192 (see FIG. 14) caused by usual capacitance in the usual electronic voltage regulator 164 over the voltage theretofore in the line 193 (relative to 194) causes a brief, momentary, flow of current through armature coil 155 in the direction opposite to that theretofore passed therethrough during operation of the motor 82: this prevents coasting of the corresponding armature (151) and consistently brings the helix 96 to a full stop within one revolution of that helix. The value (6.8 K ohms) of the resistor 195 used and the low forward electrical resistance (13 ohms) and high reverse resistance of diode 196 (180 K ohms) provide this desired time factor for such time of action. Also, a relay that immediately locks in a mechanical brake or energizes an opposing current in armature 155 after cessation of forward actuation of motor 82 could be used in place of the use of the electrical circuitry here shown to provide a rapid stopping of helix 96 rotation (and any undesired delivery of micro ingredient corresponding to such rotation) following the end of the period of motor activation set by timer 61 of unit 22. Such mechanical action should be, as here, without any such reversal of motion of the helix as 96 as might cause compaction of the theretofore agitated material in a discharge tube as 99. In view of the reproducibility of mechanical action of this electrical circuit for the purposes herein described such other mechanical expedients are not deemed neces sary.

As shown in the drawings the plurality of liquid ingredients from containers 71 and 177 intermingle with each other prior to reaching the slurry water mixture in tank 78 as stream 29.

The nozzle 27 comprises a cylindrical rigid nipple or tube 200 and a baffle plate 204: tube 200 is firmly held in a collar collar 201 is firmly attached to wall 202 of tank 28 by a rigid sleeve 203: collar 201 is threaded on the outer surface and sleeve 203 is threaded on its inner surface.

A baffle plate 204 is a rigid sturdy imperforate flat plate firmly held by a rigid bracket 205 at an angle of about 45 to the central longitudinal axis 207 of cylindrical tube 200 and intersects an outward projection of that axis at a distance from outlet opening 208 of tube 200 twice the interior diameter 206 of tube 200. Tube 26 is firmly attached to and forms a water-tight seal with tube 200.

In operation of assembly 21 the slurry passes through line 26 usually at a rate of five gallons per minute. Such slurry passes through the discharge opening 208 and strikes the downwardly directed face of plate 204 and is, within a distance of one foot from plate 204 completely broken up into a shower of droplets, 209, wherein substantially all of which (i.e. 95+ droplets are larger than 0.1 inch diameter, the average diameter of droplet being about 0.2 inch and almost no drops exceed 0.3 inch diameter. Moving the baffle toward the outlet 208 provides for smaller drop size; moving the baffle away from the outlet along direction of axis 207 provides larger droplets. Larger droplets may be used for particulate particles of larger size and vice versa. The mass of mixing grain in the mixer 28 is in the zone whereat the stream is completely converted to a shower of droplets; i.e. about 2 feet from plate 204 in the preferred embodiment. Length of bracket 205 my be adjustable.

The mixer 28 is usually a conventional ribbon mixer. A mass of mixed grain 28D is vigorously tumbled in the mixer. Each of a plurality of like nozzles, as 27 and 27 are usually attached to each outlet as 211 and 211' of a tee 210. Each of such nozzles is attached as above described for nozzle 27 to a wall 202 of the mixer 28. The structure of nozzle 27, because of the absence of restrictive orifices therein, is not subject to operative interference because of clogging of the slurry therein. The like slurry sprays 207 and 207' are added to the mixing mass 28D. The movement of the material in the mass 28D helps disperse the micro ingredients added thereto from line 26 and nozzles as 27 and 27.

By the above use of term feedyard this invention is not limited to use in feeding cattle as the apparatus may also be used for poultry and swine and other animals (e.g., mink) feeding operations.

While bins and dispensers for four different solid ingredients are shown in assembly 21, a larger number of narrower bins may fit on the frame as well as that the bin 70 may be extended to support more bins and discharge assemblies therefor of the same size as shown for 72 and 92 as well as support liquid tanks as 71. The usual setting of valve 139 and pump 183 is to provide a weight of water for addition (through lines 186 and 186' to tank 78) that is approximately 1 percent of the weight of grain added to tank 28 into which the additive'mix from assembly 21 is added, usually 5 G.P.M. in the setting of pump 79 (or 79').

For use of a circuit as shown in FIG. 14 to operate with all armature current passing through and directly controlled by potentiometers 160, 161, or 162 the switch 193C of FIG. 14 may be opened, and the wire 193 disconnected from commutator ring 154, and the end of wire 194 connected to regulator 164 removed from the voltage regulator and connected to ring 154 and resistance values of the potentiometers 160, 161, and 162 are then appropriately changed for speed control thereby as above described. Switch 193C is normally closed and is opened only when a circuit for passing all armature current through the potentiometers as above described is desired. In the circuit shown in FIG. 14 potentiometers 160, 161, and 162 are (Bourne Potentiometers, type No. 34008-1-501) of 5,000 ohm resistance, and motors as 82 (by Baldor Electric, type 516D, spec. No. 35-3547-3957, I-Ip, /100 V, 2400 R.P.M. fully enclosed, 56C flange mount) have armature resistance of 1.5 ohms and field resistance of ohms.

The pressure at 149 may be raised; e.g., to 50 p.s.g. for longer travel of the slurry through conduit 16 and lowered for shorter lengths of conduit 26 in view of rate of coalescence of bubbles of air as 15, 15', 15", and 15" during travel of the solid-liquid-air slurry 16 from manifold 149 to nozzle 27 so that each of the separate slugs or increments as 16"" be sufficiently short to be of the same composition throughout and be free of any solids settling out therefrom, yet long enough so that all of theincrements simultaneously in conduit 26, as 16, 16'', and 16", have the same composition.

TABLE I Dimension Assembly (Reference Numerals) Measurement Frame 70 Front to rear, (102-107) 36" Left to right, (107-106) 52" Top to bottom, (101-103) 40" Tank 72 Top opening, left to right 22%" Top opening, front to rear 16" Height, top to screw 96 16" Blade 97, length 8" Blade .97, width 16" Blade 97, thickness 56" Diameter of ring 97A 4" Helix 96, pitch 1" Helix 96, diameter (outside) 1'' Helix 96, stock 16" square Helix speed, r.p.m. range 10-160 Change in delivery weight of powdered material from tube 99 over a period of 1 minute at 10 r.p.m. ofhelix 9 6, usual lginfili ig P 2; TuUeFQTlengTh P v 6" Horsepower of motors 82-86 A H.P. Assembly 69 Auger 76, diameter 3" Auger 76, pitch 3" Auger 76, length 24" Speed, r.p.m. 180 i l Trough 77, length 24" Trough 77, width (top) 5" Trough 77, depth 4%" Tank 78 Height, top of wall 133 to orifice 135 4%" Depth, wall 134 to 133 2%" Height, top of wall 133 to orifice 136 1" Depth, wall 138 to 133 7" Left to right width, at

top of wall 132 10" Left to right width. at bottom of wall 132 2%" Line 143- o.d. 1%" Pump 79, capacity 14 g.p.m. Motor 89, H.P. 1Q Hp. Line 26, i.d. 58" Line 26, o.d. 1" Line 26, output pressure 30 p.s.i. Plate 43 Width 7%" Height 4" Thickness w Holes, diameter V4" Material Aluminum Gear Box 156 Single reduction worm (15:1 ratio) TABLE 11 MICRO INGREDIENT RATIONS PROGRAM PLATES AS 43 PROVIDED BY Aureomycin 231; individual particle size are 0.05 mm;

clumps are 0.1 to 0.5 mm.

' HYDAN is trademark by DuPont Chemical Company for methionine hydroxy analogue; carrier particles are 0.5 to 1.0 mm. diameter, average smaller particles are 0.03 mm. average size Baciferm is an antibiotic, zinc Bactracin, by Commercial Solvents Corporation 500,000 U.S.P. units per gram, 6,000,000 units per 12 ml.

5 di ethyl stilboestrol; 20 grams of active component per pound of additive; 1.5 gm. per 30.3 ml. size distribution of particles is as for HYDAN In the particular operation of assembly 21 as in Tables l and 11 using composition of micro ingredients shown in Table 11, column 1, the slurry 16 in pipe 26 is a frothy solid-liquid-air mix at inlet 15 to pipe 26 at 30 p.s.i.g. and the slugs or increments of slurry, as 16" adjacent to nozzles as 27 are of 2 to 6 inches range of length and usually 3 to 4 inches long.

I claim:

1. A process for continuously and positively driving each of a plurality of biologically active ingredients at one of several predetermined fixed rates of mass per unit time into a first mixer at a first location and mixing said plurality of ingredients thorougly together and forming a first mixture thereof,

then continuously passing the first mixture into a liquid carrier together with air, forming a second mixture, and pressurizing the resultant second mixture,

then passing the resultant second mixture into a conduit and through said conduit toward a discharge orifice thereof while lowering the pressure from the point of entry of said mixture into the said conduit to the point of discharge thereof,

dispensing the said resultant mixture into a third feed mixture at a uniform rate of said active ingredients per unit of time and forming a uniform fourth admixture therewith,

dispensing a predetermined weight of said fourth mixture to each of a plurality of feed troughs.

2. Process as in claim 1 comprising also the-step of changing the rate at which one of said plurality of ingredients is first driven into said first mixture to a second predetermined rate and subsequently again changing the rate at which the said one of said plurality of ingredients is driven to said first mixture to exactly said first driven rate.

3. Process as in claim 1 comprising the step of changing the rate at which each of said plurality of ingredients is first driven to said first mixture to another predetermined rate and subsequently again changing the rate at which each of said plurality of ingredients is driven to said first mixture to at exactly said first driven rate.

4. Process as in claim 3 comprising the step of continually sensing the operation of said dispensing steps and providing visible and audible signals to indicate the continued, operation thereof.

5. Process as in claim 4 comprising the step of controlling said process from a location distant from said first location by simultaneously changing rates of addition of several of said ingredients into said first mixer and from said first mixer into said second mixer.

6. Process as in claim 5 wherein said resultant second mixture is dispersed into said third feed mixture as droplets of 0.01 to 0.04 inch diameter.

7. Apparatus for dispensing animal feed supplements comprising, in operative combination, a control and signal unit, and a dispenser assembly;

the control and signal unit comprising a frame, audible and visual signal means supported thereby, plural electrical circuits supported on said frame, and a plural electrical circuit closing support means with a particular array of circuit closing means supported thereon and operatively connectable to selected electrical circuits supported on said frame and releasable holding means holding said plural electrical circuit closing means in operative connection to said circuits, said plural electrical circuit support means being one of a plurality of circuit closing support means of similar shape and size with differing arrays of circuit closing means supported thereon,

the dispenser assembly comprising, in operative combination, a plurality of particulate material bins each having a discharge opening and a first agitation and conveying means supported at said bin discharge opening, motor means operatively connected to each of said first agitation and conveying means, said motor means including a plurality of adjustable speed controlling means operatively connected to one of said electrical circuits in said control and signal unit,

a second agitation and conveying means comprising a container and an agitation and conveying means, each of the plurality of said first agitation and conveying means having the discharge opening open to said container of said second agitation and conveying means whereby to direct discharge therefrom into said second agitation and conveying means at one group of locations therein,

said second agitation and conveying means having a discharge orifice at a second loation spaced away from said one group of locations, said second agitation and conveying means extending from said one group of locations to said second location, whereby to convey a mixture of said particulate material from said one group of locations to said discharge orifice while mixing said mixture, a third agitation and conveying chamber having an inlet opening at its top below said discharge opening of said second agitation and conveying means and a discharge opening at its bottom, said inlet opening exposed to a gas source,

a source of liquid under pressure connected to a conduit, said conduit opening into said third agitation and conveying chamber, whereby to entrain said gas into a slurry of said liquid and particulate material,

pressure raising and agitating mean having an inlet connected to the discharge opening at bottom of said third agitation and conveying chamber and an outlet thereof connected to a conduit.

8. Apparatus as in claim 7 wherein the dispenser assembly comprises a plurality of liquid containers, each having a liquid discharge opening and a liquid pump means operatively connected to said discharge openings, motor means operatively connected to each of said pump means, said motor means including a plurality of speed controlling means, each of said speed controlling means operatively connected to one of said electrical circuits in said control and signal unit, said pump means having a discharge opening open and operatively connected to the discharge opening of another of said plurality of liquid pump means and to said third agitation and conveying chamber.

9. Apparatus as in claim 8 wherein said conduit has a discharge end to which is operatively connected a spray means.

10. Apparatus as in claim 9 wherein said control assembly and signal unit are spaced away from each other.

11. Apparatus as in claim 10 comprising a fourth agitation and conveying unit comprising a bin and agitation means therein, a plurality of feed storage means operatively connected to said bin and said spray means is operatively connected to said bin.

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Classifications
Classification aux États-Unis222/132, 222/1
Classification internationaleA23N17/00, A23K1/00
Classification coopérativeA23N17/007, A23K1/001
Classification européenneA23N17/00E, A23K1/00B