Becoming a top global market player

29.08.2007 If you set out to climb Mount Everest, you will choose the best possible equipment to take along with you. If you want to get to the top of the world in animal feed production, you will best rely on Buhler plant and equipment. The Asian trade journal “Feed Livestock” recently reported that Betagro has set a course for achieving world­class manufacturing status. The article details the program set up after a business slump in the year 1997, designed to turn the Betagro Group into a global market player. Beside improving its employees’ general quality of life and taking action to cut costs and enhance quality, the focus of this future­oriented strategy of the Thai agro group is on implementing international standards.

Operational development squad
Since the strategy was defined, a special operational development squad has been busy making sure the goals are achieved. A rigorously applied quality management system has reduced production losses and thereby cut costs. Work processes and procedures have been fine­tuned, and transportation costs have been minimized by setting up a closely knit network of warehouses. In addition, a Group­wide productivity­enhancing program is now in place, which focuses on maintenance: Greater thoroughness in training the Group’s operating crews is to help maintain the plant and equipment in a good operating condition.

Animal feed factory for exports
In order to achieve the international competitiveness aimed at, the Betagro Group management decided in 2003 to build a state­of­the­art feed manufacturing plant. It is located in the province of Lop Buri northwest of Bangkok, a two­hour drive away. The special thing about the new plant is that it has been designed solely for making broiler and breeder feeds. This is done in compliance with extremely stringent sanitation regulations to allow export to the United Kingdom and Japan.

Repeat order
Following detailed planning, Buhler was awarded the contract in July 2004 to supply the new facility with a capacity of 80 metric tons per hour. The order comprises the conveyors, two grinding lines, one blending and mixing line, and two systems for pelleting and shipping the chicken feed. Even during the installation of these facilities, Betagro ordered a third grinding and pelleting line. The heart of the new feed production plant are the three advanced HYSYS pelleting systems.

The first stage of the new feed manufacturing plant went into service in the summer of 2005. The final construction work was completed in the spring of 2006. In November 2006, the plant operating personnel underwent training in Uzwil. And on January 19, 2007, Betagro Chairman Dr. Chaivat Taepaisitphongse officially inaugurated the new facility in the presence of high­ranking government officials.

120,000 metric tons per month!
In addition to the new export facility for chicken feed, the Betagro Group also constructed a Buhler­equipped factory for producing aquafeeds in the province of Lop Buri. Betagro now operates a total of eight Buhler­supplied feed manufacturing plants with a total monthly output of 120,000 metric tons – which is equivalent to the entire formulated feed output of Switzerland. Broiler feeds account for 50 percent of total production, pig feeds for 30 percent, and layer feeds and petfood for dogs, cats, and fish for 20 percent. The construction of two new factories and the expansion of an existing feed manufacturing plant have already been decided. In addition, a new in­house study is in progress for the construction of two more feed mills in the south and in the northwest of Thailand.

Growing demand
Official forecasts predict that demand for animal feeds in Thailand will increase in 2007 by 7 percent to 11.5 million metric tons. Chicken feeds account for most of this number, amounting to about 6.325 million tons or 55 percent. The Betagro Group’s market share of this total is 15 percent. As a comparison: China produces between 80 and 100 million tons of formulated feeds annually.

The reason for the high demand for chicken feed is simple: Thai chicken farmers are aiming to export about 300,000 tons of poultry meat in the current year.

The new chicken feed factory of the Betagro Group in the Thai province of Lop Buri.<br />
<br /> The new chicken feed factory of the Betagro Group in the Thai province of Lop Buri.