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Questions and Answers

Q:  What is a pellet mill?
A:   A pellet mill is a machine that takes raw materials and shapes it into pellet form for multiple uses.
 
Q:  Will I need to use a binder to make pellets?
A:  Possibly, most biomass materials, including wood, will need a binder added to it to make it pelletize.  Some clients are experimenting with steam as their binder.  Leaves require no binder and paper forms pellets just using water!

Q:  What kind of materials can be pelletized?
A:  Materials such as saw dust, corn cobs, corn stalks, straw, switch grass, other grasses, (DDG) distillers grain, paper, etc. Basically, most Biomass material that can be ground down to sawdust form can be pelletized.

Q:  What are pellets used for?
A:  Pellets are used  mainly for heating, animal feed, and animal bedding. Many other applications may apply.

Q:  Is there a formula for making pellets?
A:  It is more of a process than formula, depending on your raw material.

Q:  If I purchase a pellet mill, will you show me how to make pellets?
A:  We will be happy to discuss the equipment you need, and give you pointers on what we have learned in our own tests and trials.  We have learned every material is a little different, and requires different steps and procedures.  You will have to do some experimenting of your own, to get your material to pelletize.

Q:  What is the feed rate of your different mills?
A:  The feed rate varies with the material being used.  Talk to a sales associate about your specific product.

Q:  Where do I get replacement parts for my Pellet Mill?
A:  We stock replacement parts for the mills.
 
Q:  What are the approximate BTU per pound of some pellet fuels??
A:  Alfalfa Pellets = 7729 BTU/lb
Aspen Pellets = 8501 BTU/lb
Corn - Shell = 8100 BTU/lb
Dried Distillers Grain (DDG) = 9400 BTU/lb
Hardwood Pellet = 8573 BTU/lb
Oats = 8242 BTU/lb
Soybeans = 10230 BTU/lb
Straw-Wheat Pellets = 7375 BTU/lb 
Straw-Oat Pellets = 7626 BTU/lb
Sugar Beet Pulp Pellets = 7345 BTU/lb
Sunflower Hulls = 9654 BTU/lb
Wheat (Hard Red Spring) = 8063 BTU/lb 
 
Q:  Are there other by-products not listed above that could be used for fuel?
A:  Yes.  Once you have your own pellet mill, use your imagination and the possibilities are endless.  Give it a try and share your findings.

Q:  What moisture content do I want in my finished pellets?
A:  This will vary a bit, depending on the biomass product being used.  Generally, if you can get between 5-10% moisture, your pellets will burn just fine.

Q:  What is the life span of the roller and die set, in a pellet mill?
A:  This is something that will vary, depending on the material being pelletized.  Manufacturer guidelines state 400-600 hours(approx.) of operation, on a die. The life span also depends on proper maintenance and procedures followed when pelletizing.

Q:  Will I be able to just dump my sawdust in the mill, and it will make a pellet?
A:  A binding agent will be needed to help your sawdust pelletize. A binding agent would be any oil based seed such as soybean, sunflower, flaxseed, hammered down corn, DDG (dried distiller grain), corn starch, steam, vegtable oil ect....

Q:  Can I purchase a mill without a motor?
A:  Yes.

Q:  Can I power my mill with the PTO from my tractor?
A:  yes.

Q:  I have a huge supply of wood chips, can I make pellets  out of them?
A:  Yes, but you will have to grind them down to a sawdust form, to run through the pellet mill. We sell hammer mills that will do that for you.
 
Q:  No matter what I seem to try, I just can't make pellets.  What am I doing wrong?
A:  The best thing to do is to just start over from scratch.  First, clean out your die and rollers.  Start up your machine and adjust roller tension.   Then start with something basic like your binder.  Run straight DDG, or soybeans through the machine.  Next start adding some material into your binder.  Keep track of how much you started with, and keep adding material to your mix untill you find the mix that works for your material.  You may also need to adjust your moisture level along the way.  Try some dryer material or add some water to your mix. Try different sizes of your material.  Sometimes material can be too fine.  Keep experimenting and soon you will find a mix that works for you.
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Q:  Pellet mill is slow producing pellets.
A:  First, make sure all the holes in your die are open, and not plugged. Make sure material is correct size,1/4 inch or less. Make sure the dies are warmed up properly prior to pelletizing. Also, when using some hard woods, production will be slower.

Q:  I made some pellets, but they just smolder in my burner, what is wrong?
A:  Moisture content is too high in pellets, they need to be dried some more.

Q:  My raw material runs through the machine, and will not form a pellet.
A:  Raw material is too dry or too fine. You need a binding agent. Try adding some water and a  binding agent like  veggie oil and flour, starch, wax, gluten, distillers grain,corn meal, corn, soybeans, sunflowers or experiment with something else.

Q:  Can I catch the pellets I make in a bucket, and pour them into my pellet stove?
A:  No, They will be warm, moist and soft when they come out of the mill, 150 to 180 degrees approx. They need to be cooled to harden, so they hold the form.

Q:  My pellets come out short, and in little pieces.
A:  You need to add a binding agent to your material or lessen the moisture.

Q:  What size does my material need to be, to run through the pellet mill?
A:  All materials must be 1/4" size or less.

Q:  What size pellets can I make?
A:  We have dies sizes from 2.5mm-10mm, depending on the machine.

Q:  What products can be used as binders with my material?
A:  Flour and veggie oil, corn oil, corn, corn meal,wax, tallow, shell corn, soybeans, soybean meal, alfalfa,corn starch, or dried distillers grain (DDG).

Q:  Have you tried pelleting any manure?
A:  Yes, we have pelletized hog, turkey and horse manure successfully.  
 
Q:  My pellet mill will not make the production amount it is supposed to.  What is wrong?
A:  The production amounts on all of the mills will vary widely. Things such as, feed rate, material being used, material size, material moisture, material temperature, ambient temperature, humidity, binder, and amout of binder used, will all affect production numbers. The numbers we list with our machines are a guide line, given to us by our factory, but by no means a guarantee you will be able to produce pellets within those limits. Too many variable come into play.
 
Q:  Other companies advertise mills that will make pellets without using a binder. They claim the natural lignin in the wood will act as a binding agent.  Why won't yours?
A:  It takes over 220 degrees of heat to extract the natural lignin out of the wood. Our mills do not reach that temperature inside. The only way to achieve that much heat is to add a steam injection to your system like the industrial models. Be carefull, and do your research before buying.  Also the lignin level is very low when you are using kiln dried sawdust.  
 
Q:  I have seen similiar pellet mills to yours on e-bay and other Web sites.  Why should I buy from you?
A:  Do your research and you decide. We have been in business since 2007. We were the first company to offer these products in North America. We stock all parts for our machinery.   We offer a full 6 month parts warranty on our machines. We offer customer demo to see our machinery work before purchasing if you wish.  Our machines are custom designed to our specifications, not just run off an assembly line. Our electric cabinets meet the US standard for single phase mills.  We have thousands of hours of testing on our machines with numerous materials.  We also use our mills to make chicken and hog feed and corn stalk pellets for personal use.  We can offer assistance on animal feed rations using locally available materials.  
 
Q:  The rollers on my mill don't turn all the time, or turn hard.
A:  First check to see if they are adjusted down, to touch the die plate. Try a different binder, or more binder with your mix. Make sure your rollers are greased well.  Make sure you do not have any foreign objects jammed between the rollers and the die. Possibly your die plate it worn down too much, and needs to be replaced. Remove the rollers and shaft, clean, and reinstall. Make sure your material is not too large, or even too fine.  If you are greasing the rollers as recommended then you will need to replace the bearings.  
 
Q:  Can I make pellets all year long?
A:  Yes you can. You will be fine all summer, but when the outside temperature dips below 60 degrees, you will need to have your mill and material indoors. You are trying to keep the temperature inside the mill as warm as possible. The colder the surrounding temp, and the colder your material is, the harder it is to keep the roller and die warm enough to produce pellets.
 
Q:  Does humidity affect my pellet production?
A:  Yes, dry product in very dry weather may need moisture added. High humidity winter or summer has proven to make pellet production more difficult. A mix of material and binder that works well on a cool dry morning will have to be adjusted for a warm humid afternoon. A few hours can make a difference on how you make pellets.
 
Q:  Do you ship worldwide?
A:  Yes.  We have sent mills to Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Ireland and Australia.
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Q:  Do you ever have any used equipment for sale?
A:  Yes, from time to time we have equipment that has been traded in, or equipment that we have used for testing.

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