BANGKOK, THAILAND — The Bühler Group, a leader in rice processing and optical sorting solutions, said on May 18 that it has secured contracts in Southeast Asia totaling more than $100 million in the last two years.

The contracts have an emphasis on food safety, hygienic production, energy efficiency and sustainability.

The company has been awarded major contracts by the largest rice processors and reprocessors across Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Myanmar including Merry Rice, Crystal Rice, Siam Parboiled, TPS Group, Capital Rice, La Suerte, Phung Hoang, Kilang Beras Pek Choo Keok Sdn. Bhd, Yoma Sun and Nine Seas. The total investment in rice processing plants and related equipment for these projects alone is set to exceed $80 million.

Working with rice processors and reprocessors in the region, Bühler said it offers and develops new market optimized rice processing solutions that add value for its customers through improved yield, performance and efficiency. It also looks to increase awareness of food-safe rice mills to ensure hygienic and safe food for consumers.

Over the past two years, Bühler has experienced significant growth in the region, with particular success gained in Thailand. This marked a record period, partly thanks to a smaller number of larger contracts, including the company’s largest ever contract for rice processing for Merry Rice, globally valued at over $40 million. The contract, for 62 of Bühler’s SORTEX S UltraVision machines, and 52 high-capacity UltraPoly polishers will result in the world’s largest rice mill, capable of sorting over 10,000 tonnes of rice per day, Bühler said.

Among contracts already confirmed are the first complete rice mill in Vietnam for Phung Hoang, capable of processing 400 tonnes a day; a complete paddy processing plant in Malaysia for Kilang Beras Pek Choo Keok Sdn. Bhd; and two complete paddy processing plants in Myanmar for Nine Seas and Yoma Sun. Crystal Rice in Cambodia has also started production and Siam Parboiled in Thailand is in the advanced stages of installation.

“Over the past two years we’ve consciously changed the way we do business across Souteast Asia,” said Mark Ledson, managing director of Bühler Thailand. “We’ve dedicated time to listen to our customers’ needs and demonstrate our ability to offer a truly complete engineered solution that is supported by our commitment to Service Excellence.”

Significant product launches in 2014 have also helped grow Bühler’s reach across Southeast Asia including the new SORTEX S UltraVision optical sorting machine – widely regarded as the most technologically advanced, intelligent optical sorter available for rice today.

“The response to the SORTEX S UltraVision has been incredibly positive, many of our customers have confirmed the SORTEX S UltraVision as taking optical sorting to the next level and sets us apart from the competition as a global leader in this market,” Ledson said. “We understand the enormous pressure rice millers are under to process rice in the most sustainable way, maximizing yield and improving quality and food safety standards. We believe high capacity processing is the future, if the industry is to match growing demand.”

In addition to the launch of the SORTEX S UltraVision optical sorting machine, Bühler teams across South East Asia have also been actively promoting food safety as a key concept. With both consumer and customer interest in food safety on the rise, particularly with budding exporters, Bühler said it is in a prime position to offer end-to-end solutions that guarantee hygienic performance and food safety, including process engineering solutions for rice, solutions for pre-cleaning, silos, drying, rice milling and automated bagging.

Moving forward, Bühler will continue to extend its reach and presence in the region by completing existing projects and securing new ones. It has developed a full-fledged factory in Vietnam and has built an accessory workshop in Indonesia. All this demonstrates Bühler’s commitment to its customers across the region, the company said.  It is also actively building its channels for single machine sales and is establishing country focused technology teams in most of the countries in Southeast Asia. Developing markets such as Cambodia and Myanmar will also present new opportunities to deliver smaller capacity rice mills, demonstrating Bühler’s ability to cater to the complete spectrum of rice mills across the region.

“In the past 24 months we have won large rice milling projects in Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. Looking ahead to the next two years, we will be looking to drive our market share across regions in Southeast Asia and enhance our Sales & Service structure (including distribution channels) along with developing new mid-market rice processing solutions to give our customers value for money and continue to build the Bühler rice brand image,” said Rustom Mistry, director, head of Rice Processing in Asia. “By developing and strengthening our technology expertise and service excellence in each country we are better prepared to serve our customers locally and further demonstrate our commitment to the local community and wider industry.”