Bühler’s second Virtual World, held March 22-26 and then extended until the end of April, introduced new products and services to the food, feed and mobility industries.

“Even in these challenging times, we see multifold opportunities for our customers,” said Stefan Scheiber, chief executive officer at Bühler. “The food, feed and mobility industries have never been more dynamic, embracing new, more sustainable and at the same time more economical products and solutions.”

Under the motto “get connected” Bühler featured 25 solution areas with many innovations for consumers to improve competitiveness and profitability, and become more sustainable, such as by reducing CO2 emissions.

“By multiplying digital connectivity and services and our new range of innovations, we can help cater to market demands and balance the demands of economy, humanity and nature,” said Ian Roberts, chief technology officer at Bühler.

Bühler’s Virtual World online platform integrates 3D visualizations of solutions and technologies, and a virtual event with keynotes and a conference zone with breakout rooms for presentations as well as individual online meetings. As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bühler hosted its first Virtual World in May 2020 to engage with customers and partners.

Encouraged by the success of this first endeavor, Bühler expanded the approach, building a 3D landscape featuring all Bühler businesses. The Bühler Virtual World showcased a series of new solutions and product launches designed to “delight consumers, strengthen competitiveness, and increase sustainability.”

Product collaborations

CHRONOS OML-1060 is the first solution developed through the Premier Tech and Bühler joint venture. Photo courtesy of Bühler.

Bühler highlighted its SmartRolls, which is the result of a collaboration with Balaguer Rolls from Spain. The rolls allow for remote condition and performance monitoring and are connected to Bühler Insights.

“The collaboration agreement will serve customers worldwide by building on Balaguer’s recognized knowledge in the field of cast iron rolls and proprietary optical measurement system while making full use of Bühler’s strong process knowledge and leadership in digitalizing processing lines through Bühler Insights,” said David and Santiago Balaguer, owners of Balaguer.

“Customers will benefit from significantly more efficient operation with higher safety and optimization of service downtimes provided by the different elements of the SmartRoll service technologies developed by Balaguer and Bühler,” said Johannes Wick, CEO of Bühler Grains & Food.

Bühler and Balaguer will work together in the development of the next generation of rollDetect built on the Balaguer optical measurement system and provide SmartRolls connected to Bühler Insights enabling improved mill performance.

This collaboration agreement will allow Bühler to access the optical roll measurement technology from Balaguer. Therefore, Bühler will gradually replace its rollDetect service with the new optical solution.

During the event, Bühler and Premier Tech announced the first solution developed through its joint venture announced in 2019, the CHRONOS OML-1060.

With the same design and technology utilized in their existing solutions produced in Europe, the new fully automatic OML-1060 packaging solution for the grain, food and feed industries is a more affordable iteration of an existing high-end solution. Manufactured in Premier Tech and Bühler’s joint design and manufacturing center in China, the companies said the quality of the solution remains unchanged,. The most requested features have been incorporated and requirements of the emerging markets are met, without compromising accuracy or reliability, they said.

As the first open-mouth bagger from the Premier Tech-Bühler alliance, the OML-1060 can easily handle free-flowing granular material such as animal feed, pet food, rice, seeds, and plastic pellets. It can handle 20- to 50-kg bags at a speed of up to 600 bags per hour. It has been designed to run any type of bag, including non-laminated poly woven that can be problematic to fill due to their irregular properties. It is also compatible with the most common bag closing systems.

Its small and compact footprint optimizes floorspace and its lean design eases operation and maintenance. With safety in mind, this fully enclosed automatic packaging technology requires very limited operator interaction, enabling better working conditions.

Insect protein

Grown black soldier flies at Protix’ insect protein facility in Bergen op Zoom. Photo courtesy of Bühler.

Bühler also announced during the event that it has reached another step in its insect production and processing capabilities with a unique larvae storage system that decouples insect rearing from processing, providing flexibility in the operational schedule.

Last year, after four years of close collaboration, Bühler reached the major milestone with one of its partners, Protix, as its fully automated industrial black soldier fly processing plant in Bergen Op Zoom in North Brabant, Netherlands, reached its full processing capacity. This marks a proof point in the insect industry and the successful completion of the joint venture between Bühler and Protix.

“We congratulate Kees Aarts and his team at Protix on the extraordinary achievement of their insect protein facility,” Roberts said. “To be the pioneer in an industry is a challenging role, and to be the first to deliver a commercially viable, large-scale insect plant is a significant step on their ambitious journey. We extend our sincere thanks to Kees and his team for this collaboration.”

Insect-based ingredients can offer a new category of nutrition for the food system, but it will require a total ecosystem approach with multiple parties collaborating, said Kees Aarts, CEO and founder of Protix.

“At Protix, we work with multiple parties to advance the advent of sustainable nutrition enabling a food system in balance with nature,” he said. “The collaboration with Bühler is a strong example of that. We will further support the growth of the industry and are convinced that further collaborations are needed to achieve important milestones on our journey.”

Bühler said it provides technology solutions for the growth and processing of insects to enable industrial-scale transformation of organic residues into high-value insect-based ingredients.