New stuff: feeder, heater, air meter

Automated Production Systems recently debuted its wet-dry feeder, a modulating heater and a positive air displacement ventilation system at World Pork Expo in Des Moine, Iowa.

The new technology is designed to foster hog health by improving the environment within the pig barn, said Brian Rieck, product manager at APS.

HI2LO wet/dry feeder

Rieck said the HI2LO is the first feeder on the market with individual trough space and individual nipples.

“It’s the only one tailored to serve the individual feeding preferences of your hogs,” he said, explaining that each hog mixes the feed-to-water ratio that it wants.

“The hog pulls feed off the shelf. There’s a feed wetter nipple in the trough. So it puts in the amount of water it wants in order to get the mixture to its own liking. It’s just natural for them to do that.

“The A-shaped shelf is new. All the other wet-dry feeders on the market have a flat shelf. But this A-shape takes feed from the hopper and forces it down into the trough so you don’t have that dead space where older stagnant feed builds up and clogs the flow.”

The standard hopper on the three-hole feeder comes from the factory with a capacity of 450 pounds of feed.

Rieck said most other wet-dry feeders require a bolt-on hopper extension as an extra-cost option.

The auto-flow control nipples at each feeding station are engineered to regulate water flow at a rate of one gallon per minute regardless of water pressure in the barn.

It maintains that flow through a range of 15 to 90 pounds per sq. inch barn water pressure.

“Another unique innovation is our trough, that you can raise or lower four inches by turning a crank,” he said.

“When the pigs are small, you lower the shelf so they have easier access to the feed. And you gradually raise the shelf throughout their growth cycle, just by turning the crank that’s built into the feeder.”

Each individual feed trough has weeping holes in the bottom to reduce the potential of flooding in the barn.

Variable Rate Heater

There are a number of unique features incorporated into the new VariFlame heater, Rieck said.

One item that seems like a little thing, but is actually a big thing, is the fact that a single quarter inch nut driver is the only tool needed to service every component in the heater.

“We took all these things that producers have said they don’t like in their forced air heaters, and we found solutions, and put those solutions into the VariFlame,” he said.

“The variable rate control lets you run the heater from 50,000 BTUs up to 250,000 BTUs. You’re not stuck with a simple on-off control as you are with most other heaters.

“You can run the heater at the BTUs that your barn needs at any given moment. One advantage of that is you can keep the fan running all the time to circulate and mix air in the barn. That lets you control humidity and eliminate dead air spots.”

He said the housing can be either stainless steel or painted, and the modulating heater is the first that can work with any control, giving the operator remote access from anywhere and from any web-enabled device.

The system can be tailored to run just the heater or also control curtains, fans and other equipment. The stir-fan mode allows barn operators to circulate air through the heater without turning on the burner.

Positive pressure ventilation

A positive pressure ventilation system uses the fans to force fresh air from outside into the barn. This pressurizes the barn slightly and pushes stale air out through countless spaces that are nearly impossible to seal in any barn.

Rieck said most barns have a negative pressure ventilation system that uses the fans to suck air out of the barn and allow air and viruses to sneak in through leaks in the building.

“We’re developing a whole package for positive pressure ventilation,” he said.

“It includes the fans, filters, evap cooling, the exhaust system and the control system.  It’s a complete climate control package we’ve designed to foster hog health.”

For more information, contact Rieck at 217-226-4401 or visit


About the author



Stories from our other publications