An Easy Way to Determine the Working Parameters of the Mechanical Densification Process

Guillermo Munoz-Hernandez, Miguel Gonzalez-Valadez, Jorge Dominguez-Dominguez

Abstract


Currently, México has problems related to dry seasons, which reduce the
availability of forage and generate economic losses to cattlemen. But Mexico produces
about 60 million tons of agricultural crop residues every year. A good alternative use for
these residues is to produce cattle feed after the harvest season. Additional problems are
associated with the low density of these materials, such as handling, storage and
transportation. In order to solve these problems the densification process is proposed as a
solution. Some current machines use the extrusion principle as a densification process.
However, before selecting or designing these machines, it is necessary to know the
mechanical behavior of the material and the processing conditions. Thus, the main
objective of this work is to present an easy way to determine the optimal working
parameters for the densification process for fibrous agricultural materials.
The material tested was feed for ruminants made up mainly of crop residues. The closed
end die was used to simulate the densification process. Initially, a fractional factorial
design, 25-1, was run to find the effects of the most important factors in this process on the
response parameters of: density, durability and specific energy consumption. As a result of
the statistical analysis, factor relaxation time was neglected because it was considered to be
less significant. With the four remaining factors, a second order central composite
experimental design was run to obtain the functions of the responses. Afterwards, an
optimization method was used to coordinate the information represented by the response
functions.

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