Fluid Power Talk

Pet-Food Production Perks Up with Pneumatic Valves

Simmons Pet Food Inc. produces a range of different cat and dog foods, as well as pet snacks.

When expanding its facility in Emporia, Kansas, Simmons Pet Food reached out to IBT Industrial Solutions to improve its pneumatic conveying system for processing commercial pet food. IBT incorporated more pneumatic valves into the system to improve the control of ingredients flowing through food-grade, stainless-steel piping. The new valves, along with other new equipment, improved the Kansas plant’s productivity by 35%. 

The programmable-logic-controller controls the pneumatic valves in the plant, for proper flow of ingredients through the factory.


Simmons depends on an automated pneumatic system to direct uncooked poultry, meats, and other ingredients through their respective pipes. “This is an extremely busy facility,” said David Leffert, IBT’s Fluid Power Specialist. “This plant runs nearly 24 hours a day, almost seven days per week.” The system is responsible for transporting the correct ratio of ingredients to the kitchen, in order to make specific recipes.

The new pneumatic system uses more valves than before to optimize control of the ingredients through the plant. IBT incorporated ¼- and ¾-in. Festo valves, which control the position of 2-, 3-, and 4-in. pneumatically actuated ball valves. These new valves keep ingredients moving in the forward direction and maintain precise control of the flow. PLCs control the valves to direct quantities of uncooked ingredients to the kitchen. Faculty at Simmons can program these PLCs to control the flow of ingredients for specific recipes. 

Source: IBT Industrial Solutions PrimeMover Enewsletter

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