Founded and based in Asissi, central Italy's Umbria region, Fragola SPA is a leading developer of turnkey plants in the livestock feed production industry.

Now led by the Fragola family's third generation, the company is renowned for its turnkey feed mills and installations in the chemicals sector, with all of them made in Italy. It has also expanded its specialisation to pet food, fish food and rendering, with plans to enter more markets outside Italy.

eFeedLink speaks to Pietro Fragola, head of sales for Fragola's domestic and overseas operations, about the company's livestock feed production process optimisation, key innovative equipment and products, as well as its major plans in feed production.

How does Fragola optimise the feed production process? What are Fragola's key innovations that are best suited to meet challenges in feed production?

Fragola feed mills are the result of 60 years of experience. Every project is customised in accordance to the specific needs of the customer. The competence and expertise of Fragola engineers allow us to minimise costs and achieve the best solution for our customers.

The flow chart of each plant is studied to allow maximum versatility and prevent the possibility of cross contamination. Our machines operate on optimum energy consumption with a minimal risk of plant downtime. Every conveyor is constructed for maximum cleanliness, strength and utilises the latest technology.

The third step is our capacity to assemble the plant from the ground up and train the staff. For these reasons, Fragola has a specialised team ready for assembly support and staff support for customers.

At Fragola, we ensure optimal extraction processes thanks to our screw extractors, rotary silos dischargers and vibrating dischargers.

It's important that medium and micro-dosing require optimal weighing accuracy, rapidity in the dosage and, above all, the absence of contamination or human errors. We respond to these challenges with our automatic dosing systems. These consist of a group of cells – it is possible to vary the number of the cells and their capacity.Each cell is provided with a discharge and cleaning system, high dosing accuracy by special screw extractors and rotary discharges, high precision weighing system and an in-option pneumatic conveyor system.

The best grinding is achieved with our MF14 and MF28 hammer mill models, designed specifically for the feed sector.For the pet food and fish feed sector, we produce MF120 hammer mill models and for the rendering sector, Fragola has the MFC hammer mill models. Moreover, we are able to supply the vertical hammer mill MFV suitable for poultry feed.

Every model is projected to obtain the best result in the specific field, with high rate of production and a remarkable reduction in energy consumption.

Fragola also constructs roller mills and crumblers. We have over half a century experience in mixing flours to ensure excellent homogeneity, with very low variation coefficients and remarkably faster process speed.The cleaning process inside the mixer is ensured through a discharge door that has a length equal to the tub. Fragola supplies single paddle shaft, double paddle shaft and double paddle shaft in rapid mode (high rpm value).

In the pelleting process, thanks to our conditioners and pellet mills, we are able to provide an advantage in productivity, reliability and reduced energy consumption.

Our different models of conditioners can provide sanitation and conditioning for various timings and temperatures, resulting in pellets with a high durability and high productivity.

Our vacuum coater mixer is a machine specifically designed for processing pet food and fish feed, which is able to add up to 25% of fat. The vacuum coater uses the porosity of the kibble and the vacuum principle to encapsulate the liquid in the core of the kibble and obtain very high protein values.

The cooling process is ensured by the RSF static cooler. Most difficult challenges can be dealt with adjustments in accordance to the height of the product.

Some of Fragola's key customers include Cargill and Nutreco. Can you tell us more about your international market presence?

Our presence has been rapidly growing for the last 20 years. Our main markets are Europe, Africa, Russia and the Middle East.

Has COVID-19 impacted Fragola's operations, especially in the feed production sector? What has Fragola done to overcome challenges caused by COVID-19?

During the COVID-19 lockdown, our company's operations (such as the assembly of plants in and outside Italy) were impacted, along with travel restrictions preventing our sales staff from travelling. Many exhibitions this year were cancelled too. In the company, we've implemented several measures to prevent the spread of the disease, which includes prioritising work from home for our staff.

For the livestock feed equipment sector as a whole - despite the COVID-19 crisis - we believe the industry continues to grow.

What can we expect from Fragolain in the future, in terms of new technology and machines for feed production?

The feed market has seen continued development, with producers having to work around restrictive regulations for pollution and traceability. Of course, this will be a required feature for feed mills - it is our aim at Fragola to produce new, different finished products using specialised technologies.
 
Fragola projects immense growth for the feed production equipment industry, especially for manufacturers that are able to ensure their customers are provided with the highest level of engineering and technology.