ADM Milling's latest expansion

by Arvin Donley
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When the ceremonial ribbon was cut by ADM Milling executives and employees, signifying the official opening of the company’s newest facility, a “C” mill at its Beech Grove, Indiana, U.S. wheat flour milling complex, visitors attending the grand opening were ushered inside for a tour.

Every floor of the six-story, 32,350-square-foot building includes the most up-to-date technology designed to produce quality wheat flour and byproducts in the most efficient manner.

“It is a state-of-the-art facility,” ADM Milling President Mark Kolkhorst said in remarks during the grand opening ceremony. “We increased milling capacity by 8,400 hundredweights (cwts) of flour per day (420 tonnes), it has 31,000 hundredweights of flour storage (1,550 tonnes), and it has eight loadout bins which increased our loadout capacity 100 percent. It is designed for efficiency, sanitation and quality.”

Most of all for ADM Milling, a wholly owned subsidiary of Archer Daniels Midland Co., Decatur, Illinois, U.S., the completion of this $32 million mill expansion in suburban Indianapolis means it can serve its numerous customers in the Midwestern U.S. better than ever.

“Our customers continue to grow, and it is our job to support them in that growth,” Kolkhorst said, while in the background a steady stream of trucks filled with recently harvested soft wheat rolled toward the new mill. “This new capacity will allow us to expand without sacrificing the service and quality that our customers throughout the region have come to expect.”

With the expansion, the Beech Grove flour milling facility, which includes “A”, “B” and “C” mills, is now the third largest in the U.S., according to Sosland Publishing Co.’s 2014 Grain & Milling Annual, behind North Dakota Mill’s Grand Forks, North Dakota facility (33,000 cwts of production capacity) and Kraft Foods’ Toledo, Ohio plant (31,000 cwts). The Beech Grove facility now has a production capacity of 28,000 cwts per day, a 45% increase. No additional grain storage capacity — which currently stands at nearly 6 million bushels — was added in the expansion.

“Beech Grove’s growth is aligned to our customers’ needs,” ADM said in response to a questionnaire sent to the company about the new mill. “Our Beech Grove mill has experienced substantial customer growth, and we plan to be there for them as their growth continues.”

Products at Beech Grove include spring, winter and soft wheat flour blends, providing a range of options for customers. The facility serves customers primarily in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. The plant is in close proximity to numerous cities in the Midwest with populations greater than 250,000 and it has excellent access to four different interstate highways leading to nearby major cities – I-70 to Columbus, Ohio (174 miles); I-65 to Chicago, Illinois (184 miles) and Louisville, Kentucky (115 miles); I-74 to Cincinnati, Ohio (110 miles); and I-69 to Fort Wayne, Indiana (124 miles).

Among the end products produced with the flour from the Beech Grove include bread, cookies, cakes, pizza crusts, pastries, tortillas, pretzels, breading and seasonings. The facility also has the capability to produce finely granulated cake flour.

Whole wheat flour is also produced at the Beech Grove facility. “We produce several types of whole wheat flour and have the capacity to produce as much as needed to meet our customers’ needs,” ADM said.

The new mill processes hard red winter and hard red spring wheat. The “A” and “B” mills at Beech Grove grind spring, hard winter and soft red winter wheat.

“We source nearly all of our soft wheat locally, and most of our hard wheat comes from Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota,” ADM said.

Several co-products are produced at the Beech Grove facility including wheat germ, red dog and wheat middlings. Wheat germ typically is used for its oil while red dog and wheat middlings are sold in the feed markets, ADM said.

The “A” and “B” mills were opened in 1994, after the company shut down its mill in Indianapolis and moved production to Beech Grove.

ADM Milling is one of the world’s largest flour millers, with multiple wheat flour mills in the United States as well in Canada, the Caribbean, Central America and the United Kingdom. In the U.S., ADM Milling ranks second in daily wheat flour milling capacity, with the expansion at Beech Grove pushing its overall total to just over 300,000 cwts. It would have been ranked No. 1 this year if not for the recent merger of Horizon Milling and ConAgra Flour Milling, now known as Ardent Mills, which, according to the 2014 Grain & Milling Annual, has daily milling capacity of approximately 530,000 cwts.

Inside the Mill

Wheat enters the “new style” cleaning house and runs through a Bühler Vega Venta to remove light particles. From there it passes through a wheat heater from Steam Engineering to reduce condensation and prepare the wheat for tempering before moving through Bühler scourers, recycling aspirators and the Sortex A5 color sorter for destining and removal of unwanted seeds. Next it passes through an Automatic Moisture Analyzer and intensive dampener for consistent moisture content; the temper time is 24 hours with blending capability thanks to two flow balancers. Finally, before being sent to the mill, the wheat is sent through wet scouring and aspiration. A second tempering is also possible.

The mill section features 7 double-high roll stands, 9 single-high roll stands, 3 10-section sifters, a four-section sifter for rebolt, an aspirator and four purifiers, all supplied by Bühler. All finished products are weighed for exact Yield Management, integrated in Bühler’s WinCos R2 automation system.

“The mill flow is an automated, state-of-the-art Bühler design,” ADM said. “This automation incorporates the mill going into suspension and temporarily stops the process if a problem is detected. There are sensors throughout the mill to control the automation. The roll stands have several automated features which include engaging when load is present and disengaging when load is not present.”

ADM said the automation and efficient design have made the mill more efficient and sanitary. “When a problem is detected, processing automatically stops until the problem is corrected,” the company said. “This prevents unwanted product accumulations that could occur.”

Storage capacity for the finished product at the Beech Grove mill is 74,000 cwts. There is precise blending capability with loss-in-weight scales below the flour bins. Microingredients feeders are installed in load-out transfer which allow for very flexible flour handling. Flour can be transferred to eight loadout bins (216-tonne; 4,800 cwts) or to existing storage and packing of the “A” and “B” mills.

A quick loadout system which allows ADM to fill a flour trailer with more than 50,000 pounds of flour in about 4 minutes was installed in the “C” mill. The system is also utilized in the “A” and “B” mills.

Nearly all of the flour produced at Beech Grove is shipped in bulk trucks. The remainder is shipped by rail car and in 50-pound bags.

ADM, which is located on the CSX rail line, has an on-site facility in which trucks and rail cars may be washed and dried as well as serviced.

ADM said the “C” mill was built with the idea of potentially adding a “D” mill in the future. “There is room for further expansion,” the company said.

Todd & Sargent Inc., Ames, Iowa, U.S., was general contractor on the project, which took 18 months to complete, with production starting in May 2014. The mill operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Indianapolis’ long milling history

The opening of ADM Milling Co.’s new “C” mill at its Beech Grove facility was the latest chapter in Indianapolis’ rich history of flour milling.

It began in 1821 when Isaac Wilson, a Revolutionary War soldier, constructed a mill on West Washington St. in Indianapolis near the White River and the National Road, a major thoroughfare linking the east and west coasts of the United States.

Twenty years later, in 1841, John Carlisle built another mill on West Washington St. The facility had several owners before Samuel F. Robinson acquired it in the 1870s and organized Acme Milling Co. Robinson’s heirs sold the company in 1898 to Arthur Gillet, who consolidated the mill with his properties. The business in 1909 merged with that of another miller. George T. Evans & Son, and was renamed Acme-Evans Co. The Evans business had first established a mill in Indianapolis in 1832.

By 1909, the combined mills had daily capacity of 4,000 cwts, a figure that was increased to 7,000 when the mill at 710 West Washington was destroyed by a fire in 1917.

Edgar Evans, the son of George T., was president of the business from 1909 to 1933. The younger Evans was the last surviving founder of the Millers’ National Federation and was the organization’s president in 1931-32. His son-in-law, Samuel R. Harrell, was president of the business from 1945 to 1949. The Harrells remained active in the business until it was sold to ADM Milling in 1988.

ADM Milling in 1994 closed the flour mill on West Washington in Indianapolis and moved to the current site in Beech Grove. The Indianapolis mill was demolished as part of the state’s expansion of the White River State Park, home to the Indianapolis zoo.