Never change a winning team!
Never change a winning team! This is also how we think about the execution of our feeders. In over 50 years this has cost us blood, sweat and tears, but we have learned the hard way. Every time we received justified comments or warranty requests, we immediately adjusted our design accordingly. But in the end you have a top product, a "winning team," and then you have to maintain that quality. And that's why our VERBA dry feeders have been the same since 2010. Simply because over the years we have incorporated all solutions and comments into them and the price/quality ratio is optimal. Modifications increase the risk of comments; a more expensive feeder is excessive and a waste of money.
We give a 7-year warranty on our dry feeders, so we stay directly involved about the required quality much longer. You don't see that with any other feed trough supplier!
In this article, we explain a few things about some deliberately chosen details.
Pop rivets or bolts with nuts?
In 97% of deliveries, we assemble our dry feeders with stainless steel pop rivets (blind rivets is the official term). The purchase price of stainless steel blind rivets is twice the purchase price of bolts and nuts. Also, the investment in pneumatic equipment in the workshop (tools, air lines and compressors) is higher for setting rivets than for electric hand tools for tightening bolts and nuts. On the other hand, assembly time is shorter with rivets.
But these are not the true reasons why we primarily mount dry feeders with stainless steel pop rivets. We always jokingly say: are airplanes and cars also mounted with nuts and bolts? The answer, of course, is no. And this is for two good reasons: vibration and coefficient of expansion of materials.
Dry feeders are made of plastic sheet materials mounted together with stainless steel gussets. These sheet materials and stainless steel both have a different expansion coefficient. With temperature fluctuations, stainless steel expands differently than the plastic sheet materials, which can cause the attachment with bolt and nut to become loose. A good stainless steel blind rivet, on the other hand, pulls itself completely into the plastic sheet material. As a result, no space is created between these 2 materials during shrinkage. In addition, a lot of vibration takes place at feeders 7 days a week and almost all day. Due to these movements of the pigs, bolts with lock nuts eventually vibrate loose and this is amplified when the plastic sheet materials and stainless steel have shrunk. If one does not keep checking and tightening the bolts and nuts consistently on a regular basis, the operation of the feeder and the adjustment is lost over time. This is the real reason why we mount our dry feeders with rivets and single do so with nuts and bolts if our customers specifically request it. Because if the customer necessarily wants it, then of course we will do it (after explaining it properly first).
Slide adjustment or spindle adjustment?
Both are possible, but 95% of our customers want a slide adjustment. We can also make a stainless steel spindle adjuster. But why do we and most of our customers actually choose a slide adjustment?
Single 1 answer fits here: speed of adjustment. Speed and ease of labor are hugely important in our society because labor is scarce and expensive. You have to be economical with this.
The slide adjustment, like a spindle adjustment, is infinitely adjustable, but adjusting a dry feeder with a slide adjustment is done many times faster than with spindle adjustment. Imagine the following: you have a stable with 120 double-sided dry feeders with 2 spindles per side. You then have 240 sliders to adjust by means of 2 spindles per side. One spindle lowers or raises a bottom slide by 1.25mm per full 360-degree turn. The conclusion is that you have to turn a tremendous amount to adjust all the feeders correctly. With a slide adjustment, you unscrew the star knob and you can use the handle to raise and lower the bottom slide as high and low as you want in 1 motion. If there is food under the bottom slide that you really can't get through, just open the star knob, the slide will automatically lower as the pigs feed. Shortly thereafter, pull the bottom slide with the slide adjustment to the desired height and secure it with the star knob. With a spindle, you are so strong that if there is feed under the bottom slider that you can't get through with the bottom slider, you will destroy the entire spindle mechanism fo the slider if you stoically keep turning. You should want to avoid this but unfortunately this does happen sometimes with spindle adjustments due to time constraints.
Plastic trundle or stainless steel trundle?
We supply both, but a stainless steel bottom slide has an additional cost over the plastic bottom slide because of the higher material cost. In over 85% of our sales we supply dry feeders with a plastic bottom slide. We prefer a plastic bottom drawer for two reasons. First of all, no heat passes through a plastic bottom slide and this prevents bridging of the feed. If pigs are simultaneously eating at a trough, a lot of heat from the noses ends up on the bottom drawer. When the environment is colder or more humid, this body heat penetrates the material of the bottom draft door through the 1.5 mm thick stainless steel bottom draft door and causes a lot of condensation on the inside/feeder side of the draft door. This can cause bridging of the feed, causing the feed to jam in the feeder. With an 11mm plastic slide you are guaranteed not to have this problem, not single because of the thickness of the material but also because plastic is a much better insulator than stainless steel. The second reason is the price. Plastic is cheaper than stainless steel.
Over the years we have developed our own anti spillage rim for dry feeders. These are really necessary for dry feeders because the pigs like to drink while eating. Because there is no drinking nipple in a dry feeder, the pigs walk away while eating. The special anti spillage rim that we have developed stops spillage of the feed to a large extent. Should you start comparing dry feeders, first see if they have a spill rim at all. If they do have one then see if that the inside of the spill rim also connects 100% to the trough plate. This ensures that no food can creep inside the spill edge which will rot here and destroy hygiene. Moreover, no ear tags can get stuck behind it, which is the case with an open anti spill edge.
As an alternative to this anti spill edge, we very occasionally get asked if we can weld a round bar on the inside of the front of the trough across the entire width instead. We have done this a number of times by special request. We are convinced that the standard anti-spill edge works better, but welding in a round bar is possible.
Open compartments or closed compartments?
Our dry feeders are equipped with open compartments between the eating compartments. In the SL feeders for piglets with Ø 6mm stainless steel round bar and in the SM feeders for fattening pigs with Ø 8mm stainless steel round bar. The compartments are provided with a bottom bracket so that pigs cannot get stuck. Because of these open compartments, pigs can see each other eating very well and seeing food makes them eat. In addition, a pig does not like to go head-to-head in a closed space, as a pig is a flight animal. Moreover, open compartments have the advantage that they are much easier to clean with the pressure washer. However, we can also weld the compartment dividers shut with a stainless steel plate if one wishes, but this has no advantages in our opinion.
Feed trough on trough-front bottom open or closed?
We leave the trough open at the front and never close it. This is for 3 reasons. First reason: if the space between the bottom of the trough and the floor is open then you can also see what is underneath. If the front of the trough is closed and runs to the floor you can't see anything and it's just guessing what's underneath. Second, with an open bottom you can spray under it with the pressure washer should there actually be dirt or manure. So with the closed version, you can't spray under it which significantly increases the chance of pests. Third and final point: pitting corrosion. Stainless steel needs oxygen as a protective medium when damage occurs on the stainless steel. This ensures that stainless steel is and remains truly rustproof. Oxygen protects the antioxidant layer of stainless steel and keeps it from rusting through. If there is no oxygen, stainless steel can simply rust through. Low to the floor in a stable, the oxygen content is lower or zero (especially if the manure is too high in pit) and in addition, the environment in a pig stable at pit height is aggressive. Therefore, if the front sides of the feed trough are closed at the bottom and the stainless steel trough can single be aired through the bottom then no oxygen can reach it.
In addition, with a piglet feeder, it is not good anyway to have a straight front of the trough. For a piglet that is still small and stands with its legs forward, it is good that it can stand partially with its legs under the trough that slopes inward. This allows him to reach the feed in the trough in a natural position. If the front is straight, the piglet has to stand further and in an unnatural position away from the trough. This makes access to the feed worse, which in turn is detrimental to growth.