Buhler expands training center, makes room for Swiss Milling School

by Dana Holt
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UZWIL, SWITZERLAND — Improved opportunities for training in the milling industry are available in 2000 as a result of recent developments by Buhler Ltd. at its headquarters in Uzwil. The company's decision to expand its training center coincided with the need for the Swiss Milling School at St. Gallen to find new premises for the practical training.

Buhler officials said that demand for its training courses had increased so much that the training center was running out of space. To meet increased demand, Buhler built an extension to the existing center with extra classrooms and more space for demonstration and training equipment. While building its own extension, Buhler was able to incorporate additional space for the Swiss Milling School.

The Swiss Milling School is run by Gerold Haeberli, who has been its head for the past 25 years, and a staff of trainers. The school also upgraded its training plant and equipment with a new mill incorporating the latest technology and demonstrating all combinations of flow patterns.

Students learn about the entire milling process in theory with complementary practical training in a unique combination, giving them a thorough understanding of all stages of the milling process. New production control laboratories are designed to teach students about quality control.

In addition to the school's new equipment, students also will have access to the latest equipment in Buhler's training center. The Buhler training center is under the direction of Walter Eugster, with a staff of two technical trainers plus one electrical and one mechanical specialist.

The center provides training for Buhler's customers in all stages of milling projects, from start-up, greenfield sites to incorporating new equipment into existing mills.

Trainees from countries all over the world attend courses at Buhler each year. Classes are normally restricted to six to 10 people, with up to six groups at a time at peak training periods.

Among the new equipment installed in the Buhler training center is the high-capacity plansifter with the new sieve generation Nova. The metal frame and combined cleaner, which cleans the sieve as well as the bottom, have enabled the net sieving area to be increased by 20%.

Course participants also will be able to work with Buhler's latest advance in milling technology, the Newtronic roller mill. This technology incorporates several important innovations designed to further improve the consistency of the milling process and meet ever higher sanitation requirements.

Among these innovations is an electronically controlled feed roll system with gravimetric measurement, which automatically controls and monitors the process of feeding the product to the grinding rolls. The feed module swings out to allow complete cleaning of the feed section to meet the highest sanitation requirements. The roller package has been designed as a self-contained cassette, which can be lifted out in one piece and replaced in a single move. This reduces maintenance and shut-down times to a minimum.

Martin Schlauri, head of Buhler's flour milling business unit (see box next page), said the training center makes a vital contribution to the efficiency of existing projects and the early success of new mill installations. He cited the example of a mill in Egypt, which is still working as efficiently as the day it was installed 15 years ago because the staff were trained thoroughly to work with the new mill and have been given ongoing technical support ever since.

Trainees at the center also have the opportunity to meet millers from other countries, and learn about their problems and ideas, Mr. Schlauri added.

Buhler also offers training courses for management, which help those involved in the financial and administrative side of the business learn about the practical side of milling.

"We are very pleased that the need for expansion at Uzwil has given us the opportunity to expand and improve the facilities at our own training center and, at the same time, to provide a new base for the practical training of the Swiss Milling School," Mr. Schlauri said.