A commitment to flour milling

by Teresa Acklin
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Satake Research Mill devoted to technological development, testing and education.

   The Satake Research Mill, a commercially-sized flour mill erected in its own building in the Hiroshima complex of Satake Corporation, is regarded by Robert S. Satake, chairman and chief executive officer, and his staff as signifying in a powerful way the company's commitment to flour milling. Installed at a cost of more than U.S.$5 million, the highly flexible all-purpose plant was planned over four years before its start-up early last year. In a full day's operation, the plant will produce 48 tonnes of flour.

   The mill, which has 12 rollstands on its first floor, as well as a complete range of purifiers and sifters, has three principal purposes:

   • to serve as a research facility for the testing of new equipment and milling processes

   • to allow Satake customers from flour milling to test the technical and economic results of various plant and equipment configurations as well as milling results depending on a range of wheats used; and

   • to serve as the focus of a milling school that Satake is establishing at its Hiroshima headquarters, with the first class scheduled for this month.

   A visitor to the mill immediately appreciates the differences from a regular plant. The mill is constructed to allow milling of wheat by a conventional system or by the PeriTec system. Every phase of milling may be modified to measure results in yields, in power consumption and in every other aspect of milling important to deciding about plant design and equipment needs. Extensive testing procedures, with monitors set up in a central control room, allow instantaneous measurement of an almost infinite range of configurations, all designed to allow testing under commercial conditions.

   Considerable attention has been given to allowing a variation in mill flow, number of breaks and passes, as well as conventional or radical revisions in the milling system. A large baking laboratory facility adjoins the Satake Research Mill, thus allowing for immediate testing of the effects on baking results of various milling systems.

   In the case of companies that have ordered milling equipment or entire new mills from Satake, the Research Mill is being used to pre-test the planned flow before its final implementation. For example, the Research Mill was utilized in this way to gauge the results for Harvest States Milling Co. at Houston, Texas, U.S., which has installed a Satake PeriTec unit in its new plant.

   “This procedure is used in each case to adjust the engineering in the actual mill to the needs of the specific customer,” Mr. Satake explained.

   The “Satake School of Milling” will have its start this month with the enrollment of 20 students drawn mainly from Japanese and Asian milling companies. The present plan is to offer a 14-day course that will attract a maximum of two students from any individual company. Four such courses will be offered in a year.

   Also, each year a more intensive full-month training program in milling technology will be offered for the same number of students. Tuition will be charged for the course.