Cold Weather Operation

If you are like us in the Midwest, it has been extremely cold this year. Cold weather can make operating your equipment like an extruder or oil press a little difficult to start-up as well as maintain the right temperature.

Part A: Mechanical
It is very important to have a regularly scheduled maintenance program in place. I, personally, suggest every 600 to 800 hours all internal parts need be checked for wear and either rotated or replaced depending on the amount of wear to each part. External parts also need to be checked at the same time for wear and rebuilt or replaced depending on the amount of wear.

Technical Advice for Mechanical Issues
When starting the extruder in extreme cold weather, I suggest removing the nose cap and running about 50 to 100 pounds of product through the extruder to warm it up. Then, put the nose cap on and start the extruder. If you are using an oil press, don’t over feed it while starting it. Trying to force too much product through the oil press may cause a bearing or shaft failure to occur.

Part B: Raw Ingredients
Raw material is going to be about the same temperature as the ambient outside, this can make it difficult to achieve the optimum running temperature and larger steamlocks may be needed to do so. In addition for soybeans: a moisture level of 9% to 11% is ideal for extruding. Please contact me directly for specifics by your extruder type.

Adjusting the nose cone is also very important to achieving the correct temperature. If you start your extruder with the nose cone two “turns” out then you have 1 ¾ “turns” you can adjust the nose cone in. I have talked with some operators who have become nervous about turning the nose cone in, once they are one complete turn in. My advice is to take it slow and turn the nose cone in ¼ turn at a time until you reach ¼ turn from the nose bullet if necessary.

Equipment Lubrication
In extreme cold it is very important to use synthetic oil. Synthetic oil will help the equipment operate with less stress during start up. Synthetic engine oil cranks easier, engines start easier and have oil circulating sooner, thus preventing the wear that occurs in a cold dry start.

Your Insta-Pro model 9400, 2000 and 600 series extruder bearing housing is filled with an ISO 220 synthetic oil, this needs to be changed every 5000 hours or at least once a year. The gearbox on the vol metric feeder may or may not be maintenance free depending on how new your extruder is. If the gearbox on the Vol metric feeder on the extruder you have has a breather plug and a fill plug, it is not maintenance free. In this case, change the oil annually with synthetic worm gear oil. If you are using a model 2500 or 2000 series, the bearing will need to be greased every 400th hour, 3 to 4 pumps of a good high temp molly based grease.

Your Insta-Pro model 1500 or 2000 oil press bowl gear is filled with ISO 460 synthetic oil, This needs to be changed every 5000 hours or at least once a year. All lube sites and grease fittings should be greased once a month with a high temp molly based grease. The gearbox on the Krammer may or may not be maintenance free. If the gearbox has a vent plug and an oil fill plug, it is not maintenance free. Change the oil annually with synthetic worm gear oil.

If you have any questions about proper set up for your equipment, especially during this colder weather, please feel free to contact me at or anyone in the shop at +515-254-1260.

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