LONDON, ENGLAND — The Bühler Group announced on May 13 that InVivo, a French leader in grain storage and logistics, has installed a SORTEX A optical sorter at its port facility in Metz, France. This is InVivo’s first optical sorter at one of its port silos in France.

InVivo is responsible for handling around 6 million tonnes of grain annually, via ships, trains and barges. It is responsible for 12 grain storage sites, with a total capacity of 1.5 million tonnes of grain, and also stores and loads grain at eight other InVivo-managed, partnership silos at ports throughout France. Its quality fulfilment and efficiency is pivotal in ensuring France’s grain exports, which account for half of the country’s grain production.

“Our mission is to provide efficient logistics for high quality grain exports,” said Laurent Manderfeld, head of investment for Invivo, who confirmed that the company was also responsible for four port silos in Morocco, Hungary and Romania, as part of its international expansion. “All our silos have ISO 9001 certification as well as Charte Sécurité Alimentaire food safety and GTP certifications.”

As InVivo prides itself in maintaining the quality of the grain it stores and transports, the industry issue surrounding ergot contamination in wheat during 2013 represented a significant challenge for the company. An unusually high growth of the ergot fungus on wheat from the 2013 harvest meant that around 40,000 tonnes of the wheat stored by InVivo was potentially unfit for human food grade quality.

“Our mechanical equipment was no longer sufficient to achieve the standard of quality we required, given the higher level of ergot contamination we were experiencing in incoming wheat, and we knew we had to act fast in order to reduce potential losses,” said Manderfeld. 

During 2013, wheat exhibited ergot contamination levels varying between 0.8% to 1.6% and InVivo was committed to fulfilling or improving on the requirement of 0.05% maximum of ergot contamination - the point at which grain is relegated to animal feed. 

InVivo and their partner EMC2 turned to Bühler Sortex to provide a solution that would allow it to maintain quality and ensure that the wheat it stored was not downgraded to cattle feed.  

With the installation of the SORTEX A at its Metz facility — with its state-of-the-art optical sorting and handling technology, lighting and feed systems — InVivo is now able to process incoming grain to remove ergot-contaminated product, consistently achieving a maximum ergot contamination level of just 0.02% in the finished grain, regardless of the level of input contamination.

“With the SORTEX A, we now consistently achieve a grain quality of 99.98%, with a very low reject of good wheat grains, which means very little product loss, whatever the quality of incoming product,” said Manderfeld.