October 02, 2014

02/10/2014: NIR Multi Online Technology: Real-time analysis for early detection of grain quality fluctuations at lower costs & better results

by Thomas Ziolko, Product Manager, Grain Milling, Bühler AG in Uzwil, Switzerland
Email: thomas.ziolko@buhlergroup.com

In the grain processing industry, fluctuations in the quality of the raw materials are a given. The earlier the fluctuations are determined, the better the chances are that adjustments and the associated costs, can be kept low. It also guarantees production of end products with consistent quality. To assure this, real-time measuring at different points along the entire process is needed.


Groupe Minoteries SA is counting on the timely process control based on Multi-NIR by Bühler AG. NIR spectrometry has been in use in the grain processing industry to monitor quality for many years. More and more companies are using the advantages of this technology, in the lab as well as online, for controlling their ongoing production.

Continuous measurement
The true strengths of NIR really become evident when used in its online version: The grain processing industry primarily takes advantage of the real-time process optimisations it can make using it.

NIR continuously monitors the product quality, allowing to immediately make an adjustment if necessary, which directly contributes to the mill's profitability.

To ensure that the quality requirements for the end product are met, for example, safety margins for protein, moisture or ash are calculated in. The NIR Multi Online Analyzer from Bühler also provides the possibility to constantly optimise these safety margins with support from the control functions and thus respond more quickly to fluctuations in production.

With the simultaneous reduction of random sampling and laboratory analysis, costs can be additionally lowered.

Dilemma solved
In addition to classic referencing methods, NIR lab equipment is used also for quality control in the laboratory at the Bruggmühle Goldach AG, which belongs to Groupe Minoteries SA.

Daniel Götz, production manager at Bruggmühle Goldach AG, was searching for technical solutions for making process adjustments that would allow him to intervene in the event of a deviation at the moment it occurred – without any delay due to time-consuming lab analyses.

"A visual control of the Pekar slab sample has been insufficient for meeting Q-requirements for a long time, but it was the only means to determine deviations at the moment of occurrence and to correct them."

Bruggmühle Goldach AG found a way out of their dilemma with the NIR Multi Online Analyser MYRG for online analysis of grain, flour and semolina.

The newest generation of Bühler NIR uses a spectrometer that rates up to six different measuring points at the same time. The advantage is obvious: the central spectrometer makes it possible to perform real-time analyses of the raw material and end product at up to six different measuring points, supplying the basis for smart regulation of the ongoing production.

Dream fulfilled
For Daniel Götz, the possibility of directly analyzing the mineral content with high accuracy while in production has become more and more a sort of 'dream fulfilled' in view of the increasingly restrictive specification requirements.

After a six-month trial period, his original skepticism towards applying NIR online has completely disappeared.

"Over just a short period, we collected enough data and experience to eliminate all doubt that this is an NIR which surpasses all other known devices up to now in terms of accuracy of the measurement data.

“Since then, we have been able to undertake adjustments multiple times while grinding – adjustments which have been proven to be correct in the lab two days later. With this NIR it is actually possible to produce flour from the mill that is completely accurate in terms of the specifications for mineral

“It represents an enormous simplification further on down the line."

The NIR Multi Online Analyser at the Bruggmühle Goldach AG works with three measuring points; two sensors on the flour and one on the whole grain.

"When we determined the measuring positions, we purposely looked to place them as much at the beginning of the process as possible," explains Daniel Götz.

"We don't want to use the NIR to measure the final quality. The earlier in the process we analyse the contents, the more varied possibilities we have to influence our product quality.

“In the end, we want to not only increase the quality, but also in conjunction with that, profitability,” he adds.

Read more HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine GFMT
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

For additional daily news from milling around the world: global-milling.com

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