November 16, 2017

17/11/2017: Wedding dress initiates Weber’s successful expansion

Austrian seed specialist improves purity and yield of more than 50 products with Bühler’s SORTEX optical sorting technologies

Bühler SORTEX technology is enabling a fifth-generation, Austrian small family business to expand and diversify. Seed specialist Weber is using Bühler’s PROfile shape, colour and InGaAs technologies to sort a wide variety of agri and edible seeds, as well as superfoods, such as quinoa and white poppy seeds, to improve both purity and yield.

The Weber family has farmed land in Mühlviertel, Upper Austria, for more than 300 years and today four generations live together in a Vierkanthof – a traditional style of farmhouse specific to the region. 

Emanuel and Franz in the field
Image credit: Bühler
In 2000, Franz Weber decided to branch out from dairy farming, when he saw there might be a profitable opportunity in producing and selling grass seeds. However, he quickly realised that the reason grass seeds are so expensive is because cleaning and sorting them is a complex process – they are so small and the difference between them and foreign seeds so slight, that discerning between them is very difficult.

Mechanical engineer Franz experimented with different fabrics to see if he could “sieve” the seeds. After testing various textiles, he ingeniously discovered that oat grass seeds stuck to the petticoat fabric of his wife’s wedding dress, while foreign seeds simply fell away. And so, Weber’s very first sorting machine was based on Mrs Weber’s wedding dress!

Weber went on to employ several types of mechanical sorters to sort not only seeds but a selection of spices, pulses and grains. However, these machines were limited to very basic sorting and not sophisticated enough to distinguish the minute size and weight differences between product varieties, or colour variations.

So, for instance, they were unable to remove grass seeds and sclerotia from cumin, ergot from rye or dark coloured and immature grains from millet. Fast forward to 2015 when Emanuel Weber, Franz’s son, took over the business.

He selected Bühler, after comparing various optical sorting solutions, to reinforce Weber’s reputation as a leading, quality supplier and third-party processor for small farmers, agri-seed processors, spice traders and mixers.

Bühler’s SORTEX optical sorting equipment can not only distinguish between common seed varieties, but also difficult-to-sort products. For example, SORTEX technology can detect and remove broken seeds, different shapes of marigold seeds, dark pumpkin seeds, slight colour variations between amaranth and sorghum, sticks the same colour as garlic flakes, ergot from rye, as well as foreign materials, such as glass, wood, plastic, metal, sticks, stones and soil.

Since the installation, Weber has diversified its business, to sort more than 50 different product types, including exotic herbs and spices. They also upgraded to a quick chute-change system, so they could easily swap between the flat, 32 and 64 channel chutes, to suit the product being sorted. The channelled chutes are designed for products that are prone to bouncing and rolling, as they help control and separate them for the best camera view.

Weber recently attended advanced training with Bühler’s technology specialists. “Even though we already use many of the sorter’s pre-programmed modes to process our products, we wanted to ensure that we could fully utilise the highly flexible sorting possibilities. We are now confident that, if required, we can fine-tune pre-set modes or set up additional modes to run new products with unique applications”, said Emanuel Weber.

This capability is pivotal to Weber being able to diversify the product range sorted and drive its business into many different areas – serving customers ranging from small farmers through to agri-seed processors, spice traders and mixers and seed trading companies.

In fact, Weber Seeds’ reputation is such that customers now refer to the purity and quality of its products as “SORTEX clean” in recognition of the cutting-edge technology that underpins Weber’s processing operation.

Emanuel continues, “We are delighted with our SORTEX sorter. It is very easy to set up and operate – plus the support offered by the Bühler team is excellent and they are easy to contact. We can now give our customers the highest levels of assurance that the seeds we supply are of the highest quality. The optical sorter has an intuitive interface and the sorting result was impressive from the first demonstration. Vitally, it is proving to be 100% reliable.”

Johann Hoegler, Sales Engineer at Bühler adds that the sheer complexity of Weber Seeds’ operations posed a difficult challenge, but one that Bühler SORTEX technology rose to with ease.

“We invited Emanuel to watch one of our sorters in operation at another plant in Austria, where he could see for himself its accuracy and efficiency. Another critical issue for Emanuel was our wide service network and the fact that our engineers could be on-site quickly if there was ever an issue. Thankfully, in the two years since our machines were installed, Weber hasn’t needed an engineer call-out.”

Visit the Bühler website, HERE.

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

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17/11/2017: Phung Hoang plans its fourth Bühler plant, putting quality at the heart of Vietnamese rice production

Bühler technology is powering the success of Vietnam’s biggest processor of Jasmine, Japonica and ST21 fragant rice. Phung Hoang Rice Mills latest solution is a fully-automated, energy-efficient, 24/7 Bühler plant, enabling them to increase their total daily production to 1,200 tonnes of premium quality, ‘Phung Hoang’ branded rice.

They are now able to export their rice to customers in Europe and the Middle East and have just announced plans to further extend their rice processing business in 2018, with the introduction of a fourth Bühler plant.

Vietnam produces 45 million tonnes of rice a year, exporting seven million tonnes of that production - making it the world’s third largest rice exporter - and Phung Hoang’s investment in premium rice milling technology is helping to raise the profile and value of Vietnam’s high quality rice crop.

Rice quality can vary drastically depending on the methods and machines used to process it. Quality issues can vary from kernel breakages to weevil infestations, which are a risk in rice that is not dried correctly. By implementing reliable, high quality processing technology, Phung Hoang is able to retain the high-quality of Vietnam’s rice varieties. 

Image credit: Patrick Dep on Flickr
(CC BY-SA 2.0)
Hồng Thị Bίch Tuyền, CEO of Phung Hoang Rice, is on a mission to enhance the world’s perception of Vietnamese rice quality – and to convince global customers that by using trusted Bühler technology, her company can consistently deliver top quality rice.

"I want Vietnam to produce the best rice in the world," she says. “But the image of the rice exported is not what it should be, mainly because of outdated technology, which doesn’t take food safety needs into account and doesn’t allow rice producers to control their mills to achieve the highest efficiency and the best, consistent rice quality.”

Phung Hoang’s newest rice plant, the company’s third Vietnamese operation in the Mekong Delta – Vietnam’s largest rice-growing region, is capable of handling 400 tonnes per day of wet paddy and turning it into, high value, bagged rice for export.

This top level integral solution includes conveying, reception and handling of the still moist, unhulled, and often dirty paddy rice, to cleaning, drying, hulling, polishing, sorting, packing and despatch to the harbour. The Phung Hoang lines feature the SORTEX S UltraVision™, a patented technology launched just three years ago and widely regarded as the most technologically advanced, energy-efficient range available for rice sorting.

Bίch Tuyền says the plant has four SORTEX S UltraVision™ lines, capable of optically assessing each rice kernel for discolouration or damage at a rate of 20 million kernels per minute, with 250 data points and an outstanding hit rate.

“This has enabled us to meet a quality level unknown up to now in Vietnam and, as contaminated kernels are systemically removed from the food chain, we can now guarantee the highest level of food safety standards,” she adds.

Phung Hoang Rice Mills is one of many Bühler customers in Vietnam and South-East Asia, where it has secured more than $100m USD of rice processing contracts within the past two years. Its relationship with Bühler began back in 2013 when it installed Bühler rice hulling technology on the advice of Lương Trung Hiếu, a Bühler engineer and rice industry expert.

Broken rice is of inferior quality and around 35  percent less valuable, so Bühler’s hulling technology played a significant role in generating five percent fewer broken kernels and it was the introduction of these hulling machines that paved the way for Phung Hoang’s second project with Bühler in 2014. This plant, aiming to double capacity to 400 tonnes a day, included; new optical sorters, automatic bagging machines and 30, new, 100-tonne storage bins. This completely new automated rice reprocessing system, was installed in a record time of four months, and became the most advanced plant in Vietnam and achieved an input capacity of 500 tonnes per day, with 20 percent better efficiency and maximum uptime.

Speaking about the installation, Hồng Thanh Hải, Technical Manager of Phung Hoang, adds, “I was very impressed with the Bühler team. They worked hard and completed the installation to an excellent standard.”

It was the remarkably improved results that gave Bίch Tuyền the confidence to invest in the company’s third and most recent, completely new, Bühler-powered, rice processing mill. What’s more, it was installed in time to be up and running for Tân Niên, the first day of TET (Vietnam’s New Year), a vitally important trading time for Vietnamese businesses.

Bίch Tuyền says, “The best business is done just after TET. If we’d failed to start up the plant by then, we’d have been behind for the whole business year. It was a particularly challenging time for both Phung Hoang and Bühler Vietnam, but from the very first day of our collaboration, Bühler always delivered what it promised.”

The installation began in mid-November and was finished ready to begin production after the Vietnamese New Year celebrations in February. As a result, Bίch Tuyền was able launch into an export offensive, delivering 1,000 tonnes of top quality rice to Dubai, while also expanding to more customers across the Middle East and Europe. Proud of what she has achieved so far, she now has her sights firmly focused on the future, with an ambition to increase the plant’s capacity by the factor of five.

Visit the Bühler website, HERE.

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

For additional daily news from milling around the world:

17/11/2017: Pasta, a miller’s legacy

by Clifford Spencer, Chairman, M4L

Many years ago as a young farmer I won a competition for growing the best durum (semolina) wheat in Europe
Clifford Spencer

It was a pleasing result because the often-wet British weather is not the most conducive to producing quality wheat, as many UK farmers will testify.

Lots of little agronomic tricks went into achieving that result but at the time I did not realise the significance of the event in terms of growing crops ‘out of region’ so to speak.

I had visited Italy as a tourist a couple of times before this farming victory but had never really taken in the great food culture there, and in particular the major role of pasta in the Italian diet.

I have just returned from an assignment in Bari, the capital of Puglia, a region of southern Italy, which reminded me of this past farming achievement.

Some of the best traditional foods in Italy come from Puglia, the region in the heel of Italy’s “boot”, and its deeply-rooted cucina povera tradition, meaning its cuisine tends to be simple and delicious, relying on fresh, local produce.

Even the act of eating itself is a serious local tradition in Puglia. Walking along the cobblestoned streets in Bari’s old town, I noticed that families usually ate lunch and dinner with their windows and doors open, filling the air with fragrance—and with it the hope of being invited in as a curious passer-by for a bite!

More seriously in Bari, people even hand-roll pasta out on the street. So all this and a bottle of Italian lemon beer got me thinking of the role of milling crops and the effect it can have on everyday life and more importantly giving life.

Indeed this was effectively Roger Gilbert’s great concept in forming the charity Milling4Life. Pasta is normally made of flour, eggs, salt and water and most pasta is made with durum (semolina) wheat flour, but other grains, such as corn, rice, quinoa, spelt, and kamut can be used.

The word pasta is commonly used to refer to the variety of pasta dishes and is typically a noodle made from unleavened dough of durum wheat flour mixed with water or eggs and formed into sheets or various shapes, then cooked by boiling or baking.

A global history of pasta through civilisation
For nearly 200 years, pasta has been centre stage in Italian cooking – and it is becoming an essential part of cooking globally. The number of pasta lovers globally is now enormous and very heterogeneous.

Italy is the leading consumer of pasta, with nearly 30kg per capita per year, but each American for instance eats an average of 10kg per year. Thousands of books and magazines are published on the subject of pasta and the innumerable ways to prepare it and how to enjoy it. Many countries are inundated with food shows discussing the subject and there are now true pasta connoisseurs on just about every continent.

The history of pasta through the millennia can be used to trace the history of civilisation spanning cultures and continents ranging from Asia, the Mid-East, Europe, the Americas, and parts of Africa, and reaching back at least 3,500 years and there are many aspects of pasta’s history that are surprising.

Read the full article in Milling and Grain November edition, HERE.

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

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Profile: Norwood and Company

With almost 100 years of collective experience in the family business, Norwood and Company has provided multiple services to our customers that have been used to help launch their projects and keep them under budget and on time.

According to their website "We know the mechanical workings of the grain, feed, and milling industries like no one else, and our knowledge can make the difference between a successful project and a costly one."

Visit the website 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.

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16/11/2017: Emerson introduces non-contacting radar to meet bulk solids level measurement challenges

SIL 3-capable device provides greater measurement reliability, helping to increase process optimisation and support plant safety

Emerson has launched a dedicated version of its Rosemount™ 5408 Non-Contacting Radar Level Transmitter to meet the specific demands of bulk solids level measurement.

Through advanced technology and human centred design principles, the SIL 3-capable device delivers enhanced accuracy, reliability and ease-of-use, supporting improved process optimisation and plant safety across a wide range of industries. 

Rosemount™ 5408 Non-Contacting
Radar Level Transmitter
Image credit: Emerson
Measuring solids level in vessels, bins and silos presents various challenges, the most fundamental of which is the inclining or sloping nature of the material surface.

The peaks and troughs of uneven surfaces deflect energy away from a radar signal and can generate false signal reflections which affect measurement accuracy.

By using a signal processing algorithm that merges surface peaks, the Rosemount 5408 provides a high level of accuracy.

The device’s two-wire Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) technology produces a continuous echo to maximise radar signal strength and produce a more robust and reliable measurement.

The considerable amount of dust created during the fill cycle in solids applications creates a further challenge for measurement technology. Non-contacting transmitters usually handle dust in the vapour space well, but a heavy layer of dust on the antenna could block the signal.

The Rosemount 5408 overcomes this with an integrated air purging system for cleaning the antenna. Advanced surface tracking and a condensation-resistant cone or parabolic antenna enable the Rosemount 5408 to provide reliable measurements in very demanding applications.

In addition, radar-on-chip technology replaces a circuit board, removing sources of EMC noise which cause signal disturbance, and leading to improved measurement accuracy and reliability.

To further enhance device reliability, a unique embedded power back-up removes vulnerability to intermittent power losses. Two-wire technology enables simple installation - using the plant’s existing cable infrastructure rather than having to lay additional cabling - while still providing the same high amount of data and diagnostics that would normally require four-wire connections.

ATEX and IECEx approvals allow installation in hazardous locations and the device’s SIL 3 capability enables seamless integration into safety instrumented systems, supporting efforts to increase plant safety.

The Rosemount 5408 employs Human centred Design principles to enhance ease-of-use. Pictorial instructions and a highly intuitive software interface guide the operator through installation, commissioning, proof-testing, operation and maintenance.

Advanced on-board diagnostics support preventative maintenance and provide actionable information, streamlining the troubleshooting process. The ability to perform proof-testing and site acceptance tests remotely saves time and increases worker efficiency and safety by keeping them out of hazardous areas.

“Improving bulk solids process optimisation requires greater level measurement accuracy and reliability,” explained Margit Rastas, product manager, Emerson Automation Solutions.

“The Rosemount 5408 non-contacting radar delivers this performance, while simplifying installation and operation within the toughest applications.”

For more information visit the Emerson website, HERE

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

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16/11/2017: DEPART becomes a VERDI SPA distributor for agro industrial products

DEPART, a rapidly growing structure under Alapala Group, has added VERDI S.p.A., founded in 1987, which is a leading company in bulk handling applications, to its strong worldwide partnerships

DEPART will launch VERDI S.p.A. products to the market consisting all of its wide network and customers in 55 countries. 

Image credit: DEPART
In this vast geography, DEPART will operate sales and marketing operations of full range of agro industrial products of VERDI, which is a spearheading company specialized in designing continuous conveying systems.

As a worldwide solution partner, DEPART holds to collaborate with world famous suppliers and manufacturers well known with their high qualities.

As the last piece of this broad partner network, DEPART signed distribution agreement with Italian VERDI S.p.A., which offers the most suitable components for any specific application keeping in due consideration the economical aspect thanks to its good technical knowledge.

Visit the DEPART website, HERE.

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

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November 15, 2017

16/11/2017: Bring back neglected cereals – From ancient grains to superfoods

by Professor Dr Thomas Miedaner, Research Scientist

Why should we work with ancient cereals?
We are working together with private plant breeders in Germany and a small part of our work is with ancient cereals. Our cereals that I want to introduce are European cereals that are neglected. So we ask the question why should we work with ancient cereals? First of course, for diversity on the farm as well as gaining interesting and new features out of these cereals such as resistance to diseases or different flavours, but there are multiple others.

Key advantages:
• Greater diversity on the farm (biodiversity)
• Resistances to diseases, abiotic stress, special traits
• Nutritionally valuable
• Regional specialties and cultural diversity
• Flavour and enjoyment

However, there are not only advantages, there are of course disadvantages too.

Key disadvantages:

• Low yielding
• Difficult to plant: smaller (hulled) kernels, uneven germination, early lodging, uneven ripening
• Special problems: Loss of grain, bird damage
• More difficult to process: Dehulling, different baking properties

The main one for the farmer is low yield although there is also the difficulty to plant these cereals because as you can see they are often rather tall, as well as bird damage and the loss of grains, as well as economic performance that isn’t always good.

For the miller, farmer and baker, it is more difficult to process because it’s not this convenient product like bread wheat that we are all adjusted to. So we need an improvement by plant breeding for these cereals but we still want to take all of their original flavour and original characteristics. You can get very good products such as noodles and whiskey from spelt. But of course we have to know the characteristics of these different crops.

Looking for the growth potential
As you know, it started about 10,000 years ago with the first cereal domestication in the region of Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Syria and the archeological findings show us that about 20,000 years ago wild cereals were being collected and grinded already and used for food.

Then 10,000 years later, we have evidence of the first cultivation of barley. The neglected wheat that we are speaking of includes Emmer, Einkorn and Spelt. Looking at the different characteristics, we have a wild cereal, which is brittle and has a split head so it is losing its kernels automatically, which is important for a wild crop.

It also has hulls that we have seen in other cereals. The cultivated Emmer has no brittle head but still has the hulls, there is also the durum and the bread wheat. All these wheats have a common history that is quite long, dating back about 300,000 years ago where Wild Einkorn and Aegilops sp., combined together naturally and produced wild Emmer wheat when 10,000 years ago this wild Emmer wheat was cultivated and that in turn produced Durum wheat and Khorasan wheat as well as others.

Another lucky accident this cultivated Emmer combined with another wild wheat (T. tauschii) to produce our better-known bread and spelt wheat that are very narrowly genetically related. This activity spread to Europe over the next 5,000 years here until it reached Scandinavia and Northern Great Britain or Scotland.

The neglected wheats that we are speaking of include:
• Emmer
• Einkorn
• Different cultivations of spelt

Read the full article, HERE.

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

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