Buhler’s Sortex S Ultravision includes a new inspection system to detect subtle rice discoloration and defects – varying degrees of purples, greys, yellows, streaks, pecks.
Buhler’s Sortex S Ultravision includes a new inspection system to detect subtle rice discoloration and defects – varying degrees of purples, greys, yellows, streaks, pecks.

LONDON, ENGLAND —The Bühler Group said it is continuing to strengthen its leadership in rice processing, handling and storage capabilities. The company has dedicated local services and solutions, built on thorough regional knowledge, it is able to meet the exact needs of customers across the world, Bühler said.

Bühler is a leader in the supply of industrial food processing systems, contributing approximately 30% of global rice production, according to the company. With the world’s population predicted to reach 8.27 billion by 2030, demand for rice is expected to increase by approximately 100 million tonnes to 550 million tonnes in the same period, the company said.

Bühler said it is well prepared to play a key role in processing these fast growing rice volumes.
In its markets, Bühler has introduced a number of different initiatives to reduce food loss worldwide – and is attempting to help fight global food shortage, the company said.

“Paramount to Bühler’s success are the 80-plus sales and service centers around the world,” said Detlef Blass, head of rice processing Europe and Americas. “They have a deep-rooted understanding of the issues affecting the markets they operate in and cement Bühler’s ability to adapt its technology and business model to the needs of processors in each area.”

Furthermore, Centres of Competence located in major rice producing markets, including India and China, use rice technology and nutrition experts, who are well placed to develop regional rice processing and added-value technology solutions that meet distinct local requirements in paddy handling, storage, and milling.

The success achieved in Southeast Asia is a perfect example of this formula and highlights Bühler’s widening technology and engineering footprint in the key rice processing markets, the company said.

“In the past two years we have secured in excess of $100 million worth of business, including the company’s largest-ever contract for rice processing, a landmark agreement with Merry Rice in Thailand,” said Rustom Mistry, head of rice processing for China and Southeast Asia.

The contract, for more than 50 Bühler SORTEX S UltraVision optical sorters, and 50 high-capacity UltraPoly rice polishers, will result in the world’s largest rice mill, capable of processing more than 10,000 tonnes of rice per day, the company said. Other contracts secured in Southeast Asia include the first complete rice mill in Vietnam for Phung Hoang, an exporter in high quality rice from Vietnam, a pre-cleaning and dryer complex for capital rice in Thailand and a complete paddy processing plant for Nine Seas in Myanmar.

Bühler is also building a customer base in South Asia, particularly India and Bangladesh. Sunil Ranade, head of rice processing for South Asia, Middle East and Africa, said that Bühler recently installed its first UltraLine Rice Mill in Bangladesh with the 16 tph rice mill. This was a progression of the partnership between Bühler and Erfan Group, the country’s largest rice processor and supplier, which began in 2013, the company said. Further success in the region includes contracts with City Group, Patel Agri, SKML and most recently a 12- tph paddy to brown rice processing plant for Galaxy Rice Mills in Pakistan.

SORTEX S UltraVision allows rice processors to specify a Bühler optical sorter that delivers the specific rice quality and sorting capacity that meets their exact output requirement, the company said.

“Earlier this year, Bühler launched its new Bühler W optical sorter in response to the growing demands from small to medium-sized rice processors,” said Sunil Ranade. “Within just three months, the company had already confirmed more than 100 single machine contracts in India alone. Further product launches include its recently developed product line, which provides a bespoke rice milling solution for low capacity processors.”

Bühler is also trading strongly in Europe where it has completed a combination of new installations and plant upgrades. Much of this additional business came from existing customers, including a Spanish-based multinational food group. It installed a 100% Bühler rice grinding plant – the largest in the world – producing high value premium rice flour for use in baby foods, instant beverages and gluten-free products, the company said.

Meanwhile in the Americas, market development and penetration for Bühler rice processing solutions remains buoyant. In Columbia, Bühler has supplied engineering and accessories for a paddy project, processing more than 9 tph. One of Central America’s largest rice producers has also invested in a second UltraLine whitening and polishing unit including all accessories - increasing production from paddy input to almost 40 tonnes per hour. In Costa Rica, one of Bühler’s largest rice processing customer is planning further upgrades to its automated rice processing plant, the company said.

In North America, Bühler secured a $1.5 million contract to supply SORTEX S UltraVision sorters to four rice processors, including two of the largest farmer-owned rice producers in the U.S., establishing Bühler as a first choice technology partner in this established rice market.