As the global economy emerges from recession — with some industries recovering better than others — a universal truth has remained: people must eat, and during difficult economic times they want to consume products that are inexpensive and nourishing such as bread, pasta and noodles made from wheat flour.
This truth is reflected in the results of a survey by World Grain of the global grain industry’s wheat milling equipment manufacturers who say demand for their products is very strong, particularly in countries which have milling industries that have not yet matured.
For example, one company said of its business activities in recent months: "Demand centered on Africa and South America, whereas Europe and North America tended to show some weakness."
North Africa, the Middle East, Central America, Russia, China and Southeast Asia were all cited by those surveyed as areas with strong demand for mill construction and equipment.
Demand for new facilities is dominating the manufacturers’ orders, but many are still seeing consistent requests for the upgrading of established facilities. One manufacturer noted that in the Southern African region it has seen a vast trend towards new "green field" projects. This is mainly due to the fast-growing demand of quality finished products, and that millers cannot afford to interrupt their existing production facilities because they may lose market share to their growing competition.
According to the survey, cost-efficiency is still the most important factor to the world’s mill operators as they look to purchase milling equipment. Millers strive for low-production costs, which are driven by energy costs, cost of maintenance and employee costs. When mill owners look at their bottom line and consider the equipment they are going to purchase, they want equipment that is energy-efficient, easy and inexpensive to maintain, and automated to minimize labor usage.
The survey also found that sanitation and food safety are also high on mill operators’ list of desirable characteristics. Materials like stainless steel and thermoplastic materials are becoming universal in milling equipment. The following are just a few of the major milling construction projects that are under way or recently have been completed.
NEW MILL IN LIBYA
San Giorgio delle Pertiche, Italy-based Omas received a contract in July 2009 to build a mill in Bengazi, Libya for the Harvest Co., and the mill is currently under commissioning. The €8-million project will feature a soft/ hard wheat mill with a milling capacity of 300 tonnes per 24 hours for the production of high water absorption flour. A wheat storage silo with 30,000 tonnes of capacity is also being erected.
It involves both a "green field" project and the expansion of an existing mill that Omas supplied five years ago. The existing mill had a capacity of 200 tonnes per 24 hours (100 tonnes per 24 hours soft wheat and 100 tonnes per 24 hours hard wheat) with a storage silo that held up to 15,000 tonnes. The new mill has been erected in the same area as the existing facility on a concrete frame with four stories for the cleaning section and three stories for the milling section.
The mill is enclosed inside a prefabricated metallic hangar. The Hangar is 20 meters high and 25 meters wide. Omas supplied all the construction, civil works drawings and carried out the supervision of the local contractors for the realization of the concrete casting. Omas said the civil works were reduced to a minimum in order to control the project’s cost and realization time. The facility was producintg flour within 12 months.
The plant is equipped with two cleaning sections and two tempering stages. The cleaning equipment is able to process imported hard wheat and local wheat with very high impurity (5%). The air channels on first cleaning are not closedair recirculation. A dedicated aspiration system has been design for the de-stoner in order to remove 99% of stones.
The mill is composed of two doublehigh roller mills and 10 single-stand roller mills. All the rolls have a diameter of 300 millimeters in order to produce flour which will pass through a 125-micron mesh and have a water absorption rate higher than 55%.
The product sifting is designed on 0.7 square meters per tonne of product. The plansifters are manufactured in stainless steel with thermal insulated walls to avoid product condensation and bacterial growth.
The flour silo has a storage capacity of two days and is equipped with mixing section and flour improvers.
The mill uses imported hard wheat or local Egyptian or Libya desert wheat with protein contents of 11%-13% for bakery and house flour. The flour is packed in one, five to ten, 25- and 50-kg bags within an 8 hour shift. All of the flour is for the local market.
SOUTH AFRICAN EXPANSION
Kromdraai Best Milling is a family business located in Frankfort, Free State, South Africa. It started in wheat milling with a plant that had a daily capacity of 60 to 70 tonnes per day and was located in a warehouse.
In 2004, a contract was awarded to Satake Corporation’s European division to build a new flour mill with a PeriTec Debranning system with a capacity of 120 tonnes per 24 hours. The building was a steel frame structure. In 2005, Satake supplied a PeriTec Debranning system in the front end of the mill to increase the capacity of the first plant with new roller mills introduced in a phased manner.
In 2008, Kromdraai awarded Satake a third contract for a plant with a capacity of 240 tonnes per 24 hours. This mill has 13 roller mills (type SNR) having a combination of two-high, 1,250- and 1,000-millimeter lengths to suit the milling flow diagram. There are two plansifters (type SPSB830 G), 11 in-line flake disruptors (type SEDB) and one pin mill (type SPM). The front end Debranning system is comprised of SHD5A hydrators and two VCW5A debranners prior to the first break. The mill’s pneumatic system and all accessories such as spouting and exhaust ducting were supplied by Techmach Technology, which is the agent of Satake in South Africa.
The plant has a PLC control system that controls all the production facilities. The single cleaning plant has a capacity of 24 tph with a Delta Cleaner and destoners and the Satake feedback moisture control system (type SWMC).
Satake said its PeriTec Debranning system was the key for the client in its decision to award the contract for the new line, with the main reason being the quality of the flour it was producing from its two existing plants.
Prior to the third wheat milling line being built, all the flour was packed in bags on a 24-hour basis. With the total capacity close to 480 tonnes per 24 hours, Kromdraai Best Milling contracted a South African company to build a flour storage facility. At the same time, new packing equipment was purchased from Italpack. Over 90% of the flour produced at the mill is packed in 10-kg and 25-kg bags. The 10-kg bags are almost entirely sold through retail outlets. The primary markets for the company’s flour are plant bakeries and supermarkets.
Kromdraai Best Milling wheat is a blend of South African and imported wheat mostly from European countries.
SABEEL ADDS MILLING CAPACITY
In Nov. 2009, Selis Ltd. completed a wheat flour mill with a production capacity of 350 tonnes per 24 hours in Khartoum, Sudan for Sabeel Flour Mills. The wheat storage capacity of the facility is 10,000 tonnes. The five-story plant covers 1,250 square meters.
The milling section is equipped with 18 roller mills and four plansifters. All the equipment was manufactured by Selis. The product is transported pneumatically through the mill. End products are also transported to the end product silos pneumatically. At Sabeel Flour Mills’ request, the mill was designed to produce two types of flour and one type of bran for the domestic market. The flour is bagged on a packing carousel, whereas bran is bagged with a singlespout bagging unit.
Sabeel Flour Mills imports its wheat from Kazakhstan. Wheat is transported to the mill from the Port of Sudan by truck. To remove wheat impurities before storing raw material, separators and aspiration channels are used in the pre-cleaning section. Pre-cleaned wheat, which is stored in steel silos, is transferred to the mill cleaning sections in order to clean the wheat more intensely. Before transferring the wheat to B1 depot, Selis said it applied intensive dampening in two steps: with fully automatic PLC-controlled water-giving units and last dampening with flowmeter and screw conveyors with pallets. All engineering work, mechanical and electrical installation at the plant was completed by Selis.
MALAWI MILL COMPLETED
Uzwil, Switzerland-based Buhler AG completed a new wheat mill with a production capacity of 250 tonnes per 24 hours in Limbe, Malawi for Bakhresa Grain Milling Ltd. in January 2010. The project took approximately 10 months.
The previous owner of the site, Grain and Milling Company, went bankrupt in 2003, and Bakhresa bought the plant the same year and started operations with the existing equipment. After two successful years, Bakhresa Grain Milling contracted Buhler for the first replacement of Mill-A to a new system for a 100-tph intake and pre-cleaning system, a wheat mill with a capacity of 250 tonnes per 24 hours and a new finished product silo with high-capacity packing machines. The commissioning took place in May 2006.
In order to cope with increased flour demand in Malawi, Bakhresa decided to contract Buhler in March 2009 again for the replacement of its B mill with a new wheat mill with an additional grinding capacity of 250 tonnes per 24 hours. The new B mill has six 200-tonne silos.
One modified common cleaning section with a capacity of 528 tonnes per 24 hours is serving mills A and B, and the technological process allows for the possibility of producing different finished products on each milling system.
The facility could be expanded to feature more silos, bran pelleting and products with added value, snack food, etc.
The cleaning section is equipped with a peeling system to ensure product safety for all finished products and to assure a high reduction in contamination. The mill system is equipped with Buhler’s Antares roller mills.
Buhler said that since sanitation is a very high requirement for the Bakhresa Group, the Sirius plansifter with the polyurethane NovaPur sieve frames was chosen for the sifting action. Spouting is arranged in stainless steel. The packing area is controlled by the latest developed Winp@ck control system.
Depending on the season, the mill sources its wheat from Germany, the U.S. and Australia and produces home baking flour, premium and special bakers flour, semolina, bran and pollard.
Bakhresa Grain Milling Ltd. has supported the transformation of Malawi from a flour-importing country to a selfsufficient flour-producing country, and with a consistent flour supply, Bakhresa has opened and secured the business for many bakeries in the country.
With the new milling line, Bakhresa not only is supplying flour to Malawi but has started exporting flour to Zimbabwe and other neighboring countries.
CARIBBEAN WHEAT AND CORN MILLS
Ocrim S.p.A. of Cremona, Italy is upgrading an existing wheat mill and building a new corn (maize) mill in San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic for Cesar Iglesias S.A., a 100-year-old firm and a growing company in the production of consumption goods in the area (oil, pasta, paper, detergent, soap, candles, drinkable water and bottles).
The wheat mill and corn mill will have capacities of 370 tonnes per 24 hours and 130 tonnes per 24 hours, respectively. The completed facility’s monthly grain storage capacity for both wheat and corn will be 15,000 tonnes and the annual capacity is 180,000 tonnes. The facility will be five stories tall, 1,000 square meters and have room for expansion. The project will be completed for €5 million, and the start-up date is projected for January 2011.
Ocrim is installing the following equipment in the wheat mill: one superimposed RMXQ roller mill; 10 RMX roller mills; two SFL 830 plansifters; two SDX flour mills; and a 20-tph cleaning section with high-efficiency rotary separators and fully automatic intensive dampening.
The facility has an automatic section of premix and mix of different flours and different ingredients for the preparation of a variety of ready-made flours for pasta production, bakery and pastry. In the future, the mill could also install a whole wheat flour production section.
The corn has three RMX rollermills, one SFL 630 plansifter, two DGV’s (brand new vertical degerminator) and a 6-tph cleaning section. Ocrim designed a tailor-made diagram that permits the facility to produce three different products: brewery grits, corn flour and chen (specially-sized grits that are a typical Caribbean food). The mill sources its wheat from the U.S., and its customers are located in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Caribbean.
The start up date for a wheat flour mill with a capacity of 500 to 550 tonnes per 24 hours, which was installed by Alapala of Corum, Turkey, was June 15, 2010. The facility was built for Aton Transilvania SRL in the Carani, Timisoara. The project took 12 months (eight months for production and four months for commissioning) to complete.
The "green field" project will have daily and tempering bins with a total storage capacity of 1,000 tonnes and wheat storage silos with a total storage capacity of 150,000 tonnes. The six-story building will have enough room for the installation of a second milling line with the same capacity.
The finished facility will include the following equipment: elevator scales, grain separator, air recycling Tarar, scourer, debimeter, automatic dampening machine, dampening machine, screw conveyors, sensors, silo discharger, nebilizator, roller mills, bran finisher, purifier, plansifter, vibro sifter, vitamin machine, impact detacher, durum detacher, vibro feeder, filter, fan, blower, ecluse, silos, packing machine and hammermill.
Alapala said the facility will be highly automated, energy efficient, sanitary, easy to operate, user friendly and have the widest possible range for finished products.
Alapala said that Aton Transilvania sources its wheat from its agriculture division that manages about 35,000 hectares of land. The facility will produce four types of wheat flour, coarse semolina, fine semolina, germ, red dog, bran and pellet. The mill’s main product will be flour type F650, which will be distributed over the northwestern and central regions of Romania.
Konya, Turkey-based Genc Degirmen completed a wheat flour mill with production capacity of 350 tonnes per 24 hours on March 30, 2010 for Sarl Moulins Hadi Salah El Qued in El Qued, Algeria for €1.28 million. The facility’s five silos have a total capacity of 1,750 tonnes.
Genc Degirmen installed a wheat cleaning unit with a capacity of 50 tph, 16 of the company’s new Crocodile roller mills and four square plansifters and a full automatic PLC packing unit with a capacity of 25 tph. The new mill’s Crocodile roller mills feature 250 millimeter rolls assembled to the chassis. The roller mills feature automatic and manual adjustable roll space and reducer control. The hinged covers can be opened for operators to reach the feeding and rolls. Control of the covers is provided with safety sensors. The operation safety is at a maximum level. The feeding cylinders are independent and can be removed in a short time, which makes it possible to clean without any remnants. All parts and power transmissions do not require lubrication.
The rolls are independent and can be removed in a pack in a short time. The production interruption periods are shortened thanks to quick and practical roll replacement. Genc Degirmen said shortening the interruption periods provides the possibility of continuous production and high productivity. The self-tensile pulley set achieves the faultless and perfect grinding process at high sensitivity settings.
The rotation speed on the Crocodile roller mill’s feeding cylinders is automatically adjusted against product increase and decrease with level control. The automatic level control system controls the feeding unit by means of adjusting the product flow rate continually and gives information on the panel screen. The feeding cylinders homogenously distribute the product on the rolls. A stable and standard production is ensured with the grinding quality through regular product flow.
The facility imports its wheat from a variety of locations and its flour and bran are sold in the local marketplace.
NEW MILL IN TRIPOLI
In late 2009, Ugur Makina completed a "green field" wheat flour mill in Tripoli, Libya with a production capacity of 200 tonnes per 24 hours. The wheat storage capacity of the facility is 6,000 tonnes. The facility is a six-story steel building that covers 2,500 square meters. Ugur said its machines are high capacity, high performance and require little energy to operate. The turnkey project was built from the foundation up to commissioning. Ugur provided the company the infrastructure work and all land works ranging from the truck scale to the flour loading to trucks. All of this was turnkey. The mill produces two kinds of flour and one kind of bran.