MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. – The International Association of Millers (IAOM) – Kansas State University (KSU) partnership offered multiple courses in October focusing on flour quality, milling efficiency, and machine operations. 

Through hands-on training, course participants engaged in classroom discussions, experienced real-life practices at the Kansas State University Hal Ross Flour Mill and learned quantitative tools and techniques to help influence and impact their grain industry futures.

During the IAOM-KSU Basic Milling principles course held Oct. 8-12, participants delved into topics including wheat classes and uses, wheat and flour testing practices, cleaning and conditioning systems, the milling systems granulation curves and flowsheets.

“We had 19 participants from the U.S., Taiwan and Mexico,” said Shawn Thiele, flour milling and grain processing curriculum manager. “The participants had the opportunity to learn about the different classes of wheat, milling systems and how to set up the mill for those different wheat classes. We spent time in labs, milling all six classes of wheat and looking at how granulation distribution and optimal conditioning can affect the mill performance and product quality. The participants also spent time in the Shellenberger Hall baking lab understanding how flour quality affects the baking process and seeing first-hand the effects of different wheat flours on breads and cakes.”


The participants were able to gain a wide variety of knowledge, one of which includes a deeper look into the theory behind the practices taking place in flour mills today.


“I knew a lot of the terms and what’s there, but I didn’t know how they all interacted,” said Robert  Walker, project engineer at General Mills. “I really enjoyed getting to piece it all together, put definitions behind words and see it all come together.”


As an expansion to the IAOM-KSU Basic Milling principles, the IAOM-KSU Advanced Milling principles course offerings included topics on analyzing and improving grain processing flows, understanding variables that impact  production efficiencies  and techniques and tools to enhance the troubleshooting skills for mill personnel. These classes were held Oct. 1-5 and Oct. 15-19.

“The advanced milling courses had great success with a total of 26 participants  from around the United States, Taiwan, Brazil and Mexico,” Thiele said. “The courses were very hands-on and included a lot of time training in the Hall Ross Flour Mill.”

He explains that the offering focuses on more in-depth understanding of mill flows and equipment operations and how to optimize mill processes, efficiencies and consistencies in a mill. During classroom discussions, students learned about mill equipment, flow designs and techniques to aid millers in making more informed decisions around mill efficiency. Students were then able to apply their knowledge with hands-on exercises in the Hal Ross Flour Mill.

“My favorite part of the course was working in the mill,” said Chris Rodriguez, warehouse and production manager at Grain Craft. “Working hands-on and with all the Bühler products was cool to experience because my mill is a bit more old school. Seeing the new ‘toys’ was really fun.”