Interpretation of Process Flow Diagrams

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$495 for members
$795 for non-members.  

Course Description: Interpretation of Process Flow Diagrams focuses on interpretation, use and creation of process-flow diagrams, especially in grain-handling and grain-processing facilities. Featuring animation, the course will discuss the purposes, benefits and limitations of flow diagrams, and then investigate how diagrams depict processes in facilities devoted to grain-handling, feed processing, grain dry milling, and wet-process separation. At the end of the course, students will be required to develop their own relatively simple flow chart. The course is not intended for experts, but it will require some math.

Course Goals: This course teaches participants how to interpret and use process-flow diagrams, and shows how they are applied in various grain and processing facilities. The course identifies and discusses the process steps and types of equipment that flow diagrams may depict, as well as diagram symbols and nomenclature. The course will enable participants to use flow diagrams to identify and understand capabilities and restrictions in a process, and covers the concept of mass balance. The course also discusses how flow diagrams help visualize and manage critical-control points for food safety and other considerations. The final lecture asks students to create a flow diagram in response to instructions.

Target Audience: Designed for grain and processing facility operators and supervisors, maintenance supervisors, trainees, quality-control officials, HACCP inspectors, government inspectors, company management and others wanting to understand process-flow diagrams and how they are applied. Note: The course is not intended for those with sophisticated knowledge of process-flow diagrams, but will require some math.


Fred Fairchild  Kansas State University Department of Grain Science and IndustrySee Bio

Before arriving at KSU in 1994, Fred Fairchild had more than 30 years of industry experience in the design, construction, operation and management of feed, flour, dry corn milling and pet food manufacturing facilities. A professor of grain science and industry, Fairchild worked previously at Todd & Sargent in Ames, Iowa, where he was vice president of engineering. A licensed professional engineer, Fairchild specializes in plant design and construction, manufacturing technology, maintenance, materials handling and plant management.

Allan Tedrow  McCormick Construction Co.See Bio

Allan Tedrow, is sales executive at McCormick Construction, based in Rockford, MN. He has more than 25 years of experience in heavy construction in agribusiness, including structural design of facilities for the grain, feed, soy-crushing and alternative-fuels industries. Previous employers include Bratney Companies and Todd & Sargent. His experience also includes design of renovations and upgrades in the grain and feed industries. Allan is a graduate of Southwest Community College, Creston IA, and the University of Phoenix.

Dr. Alok Singh  WL Port-Land Systems, Inc. See Bio

Dr. Alok Singh, is a Proposal Engineer at WL Port-Land Systems Inc., design-build company based out of Pittsburgh, PA. He has been involved in engineering, procurement and construction projects (feed mills, grain elevators, biofuels, material storage/ handling projects) since 2008. As a Proposal Engineer, Dr. Singh creates custom system solutions and oversees the full life cycle of proposal generation. He manages and directs the proposal development including scope of work, conceptual design, specifications, cost estimates, and technical proposals. He coordinates with sales, engineering and project personnel to ensure the best solution for clients. Dr. Singh earned his doctorate from Mississippi State University in Agricultural and Biological Engineering. He has a Master of Technology degree in Agricultural and Food Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, India and Bachelor of Technology degree in Agricultural Engineering from Rajendra Agricultural University, Pusa, India.

Jason Watt  Kansas State UniversitySee Bio

Before arriving at Kansas State University in 2015, Jason Watt spent more than seven years in the flour- milling industry, overseeing both day-to-day operations, as well as leading projects and continuous improvement efforts. Currently an instructor for K-State’s Department of Grain Science and Industry, Watt worked for both ConAgra Mills and Ardent Mills as both a head miller and plant superintendent in four locations across the western half of the US. Watt specializes in plant operations, maintenance and process improvement.

Connie Hardy   Iowa State UniversitySee Bio

Connie Hardy joined the ISU Extension Value Added Ag & Rural Development Program in September 2005 after having served as a Program Coordinator in the ISU Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and the Center for Crops Utilization Research. Connie’s role has been to provide technical and business assistance to organizations that are developing food, feed, or industrial products from grains and agricultural crops. Working with the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative, she has contributed to a database of information about local biofuels processing and its impact on Iowa agriculture. Connie holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Food Science and Technology from Iowa State University.

Kortney Wagner  Iowa State UniversitySee Bio

Kortney Wagner is a graduate student at Iowa State University in the Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering Department, where she also graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree. She currently works with the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative Laboratory, and her studies have focused on grain processing, specifically corn-to-ethanol and soybean solvent extraction processes. She has developed mass balanced based models for these processes. Wagner’s other research topics include the estimated processing value of soybean products and the value of amino acids in swine and poultry feed formulation.

Course of Study

Week 1Details

Lecture 1 – Introduction: Flow Diagram Purposes and Functions
Before the course moves into details and applications, Lecture 1 will set the stage with a discussion about the main purposes and values of flow diagrams, how they’re used to organize, define, sequence and depict the steps in a grain facility process, and describe some of the main symbols used. The lecture will also introduce a simple flow diagram.
Lecturer: Fred Fairchild

GEAPS members can access this lecture for free in the GEAPS Knowledge Resource Center.

Lecture 2 – Capabilities, Limitations and Plant Safety
What sorts of information can a flow diagram provide? What are the limitations? This lecture will investigate the informative capabilities of flow diagrams, how they can be applied, and where they may not be useful. It will show how flow diagrams are used to identify and list equipment pieces and capacities at a facility, and examine how diagrams can be used to promote plant safety.
Lecturer: Fred Fairchild

Week 2Details

Lecture 3 – Flow Diagrams for Grain-Handling Functions
Lecture three (as well as lectures four, five and six) get specific, investigating how flow diagrams are used to represent and illustrate the processes, equipment, capabilities, functions and sequences at various facility types. This lecture will introduce and discuss flow diagrams for whole-grain handling, storing, drying and cleaning. Students will follow an actual flow diagram to see how the processes, functions and steps are depicted and tied together. The lecture will also introduce the topic of critical control points. What are the facility’s limitations for reaching production goals? Where in the process (and facility) are the limitations? Where is there potential compromise in safety?
Lecturer: Allan Tedrow


Lecture 4 – Flow Diagrams for Feed Processing
This lecture will introduce and discuss flow diagrams for feed-processing facilities. Students will follow an actual flow diagram to see how a feed-processing plant’s functions and steps are depicted and tied together. The lecture will also cover critical control points. What are the feed facility’s limitations for reaching production goals? Where in the process (and facility) are the limitations?
Lecturer: Alok Singh

Week 3Details

Lecture 5 – Flow Diagrams for Grain Dry Milling
Lecture five will introduce and discuss flow diagrams for dry-grain milling processes, including those used with corn and other grains, as well as to produce flour. Students will follow an actual flow diagram to see how a milling plant’s functions and steps are depicted and tied together. The lecture will cover critical control points.
Lecturer: Jason Watt

Lecture 6 – Flow Diagrams for Wet Process Separations
Lecture six will introduce and discuss flow diagrams for grain wet milling, ethanol fermentation, oilseed crushing and oil extraction. Students will use a flow diagram to discuss, identify and understand the processes and investigate the key process control points.
Lecturer: Connie Hardy

Week 4Details

Lecture 7 – Investigating Equipment Requirements
Information in a flow diagram can help identify equipment requirements, including capacities and capabilities, and this lecture will show how. It will also discuss how flow diagrams are used to create automated, computer-screen depictions that allow equipment- and process-monitoring and troubleshooting, as well as making assessments about plant modifications such as retrofitting or expanding.
Lecturer: Fred Fairchild

Lecture 8 – Mass Balance: Quantity In Equals Quantity Out
Lecture eight will help students understand the term “mass balance,” and how flow diagrams are used to illustrate, monitor and account for physical, chemical and biological properties of ingredients as they pass through a plant. Students will work through several numeric examples, using flow diagrams presented in the specific process lectures.
Lecturer: Kortney Wagner

Week 5Details

Lecture 9 – Working With an Example
To help ensure that students understand basic concepts, this segment will provide students with a real-world process-flow diagram, and then ask them to respond to specific questions. What steps are needed to perform a certain function? What is the routing? What equipment is being used? How do you troubleshoot a given problem?
Lecturer: Jason Watt

Lecture 10 – Drawing a Flow Diagram
In the final segment of the course, students will be asked to draw a relatively simple flow chart in response to given details. The diagram should show all main steps, sequences, equipment and processes needed. Some students may be able to use computer-aided programs to produce the diagram, but freehand done neatly works, too.
Lecturer: Fred Fairchild