Why ICAD Automation?

ICAD has been in the business of pellet mill automation for 20+ years.  Our customers choose us because we combine our extensive experience with the latest proven technology and then tailor the whole package to each project’s custom requirements.

Our Take On Pellet Mill Automation

Of course, we can create a control system for stand alone pellet mill.  But our true value is delivered when we not only integrate with the pellet mill, but all of the ancillary equipment feeding up to and taking away from it–walking floors, screening equipment, hammer mills, conveyors and packaging.  We integrate it all into one complete package. Every project is tailored to each customer’s requirements, and systems can be built as simple or complex as the customer desires, but a sampling of our pellet mill automation options are as follows:

A pellet mill used create wood pellets

Pellet mills use several sensors to control the process and ensure customer safety.


An operator can start or stop the plant by pressing one button on a touchscreen.  The pellet mill automation system will then start or stop the machinery one-by-one in order.  Additionally, each piece of equipment is interlocked in our logic, so that if a machine suddenly stops working, all equipment feeding it will shut down immediately to prevent clogs.

Automatic Feed Rate

One of the keys to a smooth and efficient process is a constant rate of product flowing through your machines.  Unfortunately, depending on how the operator is feeding product into the line, it can vary greatly.  Thankfully, we can utilize variable speed drives to smooth out the ups and downs and give you a constant feed rate into your plant.

Weight Tracking

By including in-line scales at various parts of the process, you can see in real-time the throughput of your facility.  Additionally, production totals can be automatically recorded and emailed to management at periodic intervals.

Automatic dosing of micro ingredients

Do you need to add steam, water or oil to your pellets?  What about micro ingredients?  With our pellet mill automation system, we can automatically vary the dose of these items to match the follow rate of product through the mill.  This gives more consistent percentages and a better quality product to your customers.

Smart Motor Controls

Gone are the days of guessing why a motor stopped or hoping that no motor problems crop up during a critical product run.  By utilizing smart motor control centers, you can see the health of each motor (amps, overload status, total run hours, etc.).  This allows you to see potential issues before they become problems.  By automatically recording and having a history of this data within the pellet mill automation system, you can see clues as you why a specific piece of equipment failed, so that you can take steps to prevent the problem next time.

Our Design Process

A computer screen shows the operation conditions of a pellet mill shown in the distance

Computerized control systems allow the operator to see critical variables of the process from the control room.

Our role in these projects typically starts with the initial design of the pellet mill automation system long before ground is broken. During this time we coordinate heavily with OEM manufacturers of the individual pieces of assembly line equipment (such as Bliss, Buhler and others) to ensure all of the inputs and outputs that they require are accounted for.  We also consult with the customer, to develop a full design package including:

  • Network diagrams
  • IO & control panel drawings
  • Controls narrative
  • Sequence of operation

As typically happens with projects of such scale – we rely heavily upon our experienced engineers who knew exactly how each component worked due to specific customized client needs and unique business processes.  Our seasoned engineers design intricate, yet easy-to-use systems including Rockwell Automation PLCs, Ignition and other suppliers like EatonSiemens and Schneider Electric.

Unlike many of our competitors, we can also provide in-house wet stamped professional engineering for the electrical infrastructure from the main service all the way to every individual motor.  By providing the electrical design in addition to the pellet mill automation, our customers can count on us to be their one stop shop for everything electrical within the facility.  We even handle all coordination with the electric utility company, which is typically a tedious and extended process that customers dread.

Depending on where the project is located, our sister company, Lighthouse Electrical can install the electrical and automation infrastructure.  We can also work with 3rd party electrical contractors chosen by the customer to complete the project.

We pride ourselves on our ability to execute correctly and deliver quality engineering and electrical work on projects like this that often require custom solutions, creative engineering and industry experts to deliver. – Joel Ratto, Vice President, ICAD Automation

Whereas many OEM pellet mill manufacturers offer pellet mill automation services, we stand apart as being the ONLY CSIA certified integrator in this space.  Some integrators may be CSIA members, but only those that are certified have gone through a rigorous audit process to ensure that your project will be completed with minimal timeline and headaches.  By us being CSIA certified, you are assured that we have the processes and best practices in place to bring the project in on time and budget.

Our customers appreciate that we can handle both the design and installation of the system.  Even if we are doing doing the installation, since we have pellet mill automation installation experience, we can effectively design a system for real world practicality rather than a complicated mess that only the original engineer/programmer can figure out.  Our remarkable team is able to handle any electrical or automation project, no matter how intricate. From start-to-finish they ensure timely delivery and 100% accuracy at launch. These are the types of project our team enjoys that put our expertise to the test and create lasting client relationship

How Can We Help?

If you need help with your pellet mill automation project give us a call or shoot us a message.  We look forward to working with you on your project’s specific needs.