DENVER, COLORADO, U.S. — While milling may be one of the oldest industry’s in the world, there’s still plenty of new technology being introduced to improve the production process.

Milling companies at the International Association of Operative Millers Annual Conference and Expo in Denver, Colorado, U.S., were highlighting equipment designed to improve quality, efficiency, safety and cost of production. The show continues April 18 with additional educational sessions, expo time and the Banquet and Awards Ceremony.

Henry Simon Milling introduced during the show its in-line flow meter, which can measure the flow rate of gravity-fed stock in a downspout. It can be added to various points in the mill flow to allow the miller to monitor what’s happening at a particular point in the process, said Andrew Bailey, with Henry Simon.

“It’s a novel feature and relatively low cost,” he said. “The idea is you can get as many as you want into the mill flow, depending what passages you think are critical to monitor.”

There is minimal interruption to the milling process and the miller can keep an eye on production without having to stop and take a sample manually. The device can recognize any changes of material and machine conditions as well as prevent trouble such as clogging. 

“These days you’ve got bigger mills producing more products with less people so the more tools you can give an operator, the better it is,” Bailey said. “Sometimes all the bells and whistles don’t really add value. What we’re trying to do is automation that genuinely relieves some of the pressure off the miller.”

Solving problems for millers was the key to the development of Ocrim’s titanium-coated rolls for the fluted passages in the grinding process. Marco Bellini explained the benefits of the rolls during a Product Showcase on the Expo floor.

“We’ve been testing them for the last year and the results are amazing,” he said.

The rolls are four times harder than uncoated rolls, which means the fluting lasts longer and maintenance costs are less. Bellini said with the rolls nominal plant yield lasts longer and energy consumption is reduced.

During testing, the average granulometry of the outgoing product was 885 microns. After 100,000 tons, the average granulometry shifted to 950 microns, which shows there was insignificant wear of the roller, Bellini said.

Bühler showcased several of its products, including the MKZK sieving machine, which features hygienic design and easy control.

It features stainless steel and a cleaning opening that can be unlocked with a single twist, said Bühler’s Aidin Milani.

“It’s designed with safety in mind,” he said, adding that the sieve can be pulled out for inspection and cleaning within 30 seconds.

A tray underneath the sieve area can catch anything that might fall out during maintenance, preventing it from falling into the product stream.

Bühler also highlighted its MultimpactFine hammer mill, which can produce finer particles from products that are more difficult to grind.

“This is designed to push the product more to the center to make sure that it’s engaged with the hammers so nothing is trapped on the outside,” Milani said.

Longtime miller and past IAOM president Joe Woodward, with ADM Milling, said he likes to walk the Expo floor looking at products and reconnecting with people.

“It’s good just to brainstorm, see what’s new and talk to new people,” he said. “Millers are a tight-knit group. We’re always communicating and trying to learn.”