Latest advances in milling technology

by Arvin Donley
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The global milling industry and the equipment manufacturers and service providers that support it are continually searching to find better methods to process wheat and produce flour.

The Product Showcase program at the 2009 International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) annual conference and expo in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S., highlighted some of the most recent technological advances that have been introduced.

Six new products and services were unveiled during the program, offering breakthroughs in a number of areas including milling efficiency, sanitation and quality control.

Here is a look at the products and services that were discussed during the showcase.


Saying that it would set new purifying standards in terms of throughput capacity, efficiency, product safety and design, Uzwil, Switzerland-based Buhler AG showcased its new Polaris purifier at the IAOM conference. The product was officially launched in March at the IPACK/IMA exhibition in Milan, Italy.

Buhler said the Polaris features a greatly increased useful screen area, but is designed so that it does not take up more space than Buhler’s previous purifier model. In addition to the increased screen area, the air flow inside the new machine was optimized. As a result, the Polaris achieves a 20% higher throughput.

Its completely enclosed design and its stainless steel materials guarantee uncompromising product safety, Buhler said, and it satisfies the most rigorous international food hygiene standards. The swing-up air ducts allow easy and efficient cleaning, and the streamlined aspiration system also ensures sanitary conditions. Another valuable feature, according to Buhler, is the Polaris’ impact-and-age-resistant inspection windows.

The company described the Polaris as "highly economical," thanks to a user-friendly air control system and integrated LED lighting, which combines energy-saving, optimal screen illumination with a long service life.


Also on display was Ocrim S.p.A’s new SFX Plansifter, which features product contact parts made of stainless steel and a modular construction that allows the possibility of having up to 10 sifter sections with a standardized central frame suitable for the different configurations.

The Cremona, Italy-based company said the use of plastic food-grade gaskets, as opposed to felt gaskets, provides for better sealing between sieves, optimal sifting performance and a decreased degree of weariness during maintenance operations.

The newly designed panels, covered with a stainless steel sheet, positioned on the side of each section, provide increased thermal insulation, which Ocrim said results in better finished product quality due to the total elimination of condensation and molds.

An additional technological innovation that enhances the quality of the finished product, Ocrim said, is using plastic material for both the sieves and the relevant holders.

Ocrim said the sifting surface of the SFX was increased 12% over previous models. Food-grade glue (not staples) is used to attach the sieve screen to the frame, and specially designed mechanical components ensure an increased resistance to the normal wear through time.


Kice Industries, Wichita, Kansas, U.S., unveiled its latest generation of bran finisher, the BF-52, which the company said offers the same unique features as the BF-27 and BF-42, but with an anticipated 50% increase in rated capacity.

The BF-27 and BF-42 bran finishers have maximum rated capacities of 2,000 pounds per hour and 4,000 pounds per hour, respectively, while the BF-52 is rated at a maximum capacity of 6,000 pounds per hour.

The BF-52 features cast iron rotor and beater bars that are weighed and match-marked for balance and smooth operation. Suction transitions or vent screens come standard on each unit along with external handles to adjust internal vanes that regulate the retention time of product inside the equipment.

Gasketed doors are hinged and have simple spring-loaded latches for easy removal. Screens are installed separately on each side of the unit for ease of access and service.

Sanitary support frames are available for floor-standing or ceiling-hung installations.


A worldwide shortage of pyrethrin ingredients is having serious effects on the availability and price of fogging insecticides used in the milling industry.

A new synthetic product, Cirrus, manufactured by McLaughlin Gormley King, promises performance and labeling comparable to 3% pyrethrin products, according to Olathe, Kansas, U.S.-based Industrial Fumigant Co., a distributor of Cirrus.

Cirrus has proven to be effective against a wide range of insects that have long been the nemeses of flour millers, including cockroaches, sawtoothed grain beetles, confused flour beetles, red flour beetles, Mediterranean flour moths and Indian meal moths.

Cirrus features a synthetic active ingredient, prallethrin, designed to perform like pyrethrin, which is extracted from Chrysanthemum flowers. The recent shortage is due to smaller crops of Chyrsanthemums worldwide.


Premier Tech Systems, Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec, Canada, gave a presentation on the ARP-500 High Speed Robotic Unitizing System, which is designed to handle a wide variety of flour bags, including small bags (4-, 5-, and 10-pound bags), bales or bundles of small bags, and industrial bags (25-, 50-and 100-pound bags).

The company said the ARP-500 can stack the small bags at 120 units per minute. Either stretch wrapper or a stretch hooder is integrated in the system. Layer gluing and tie sheet options are also available.


Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.-based SaatiTech has developed a new moisture absorption resistant (MAR) synthetic mesh material that is specifically designed for the milling industry. The SaatiMil MAR material eliminates the problems associated with humidity’s effect on sifter clothing.

SaatiMil MAR retains its tensioning properties after the screen has been installed, allowing for more consistent sifting and particle separation, SaatiTech said. It also increases the life of the cloth and decreases maintenance downtime.

SaatiTech said that in a moisture absorption test in which 4 milliliters of water was introduced to both nylon and MAR material, the average moisture absorption rate of the MAR material was 4.2% while the average absorption rate for nylon was 95.8%.

SaatiMil MAR, which is obtained from an advanced melamine free and FDA-approved polymer, is woven and finished using complex techniques, the company said.

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