Photo courtesy of Bühler.
H?ng Th? B?ch Tuy?n, chief executive officer of Phung Hoang Rice, is on a mission to enhance the world’s perception of Vietnamese rice quality.
“I want Vietnam to produce the best rice in the world,” she said. “But the image of the rice exported is not what it should be, mainly because of outdated technology, which doesn’t take food safety needs into account and doesn’t allow rice producers to control their mills to achieve the highest efficiency and the best, consistent rice quality.”
Phung Hoang’s newest rice plant, the company’s third Vietnamese operation in the Mekong Delta – Vietnam’s largest rice-growing region, is capable of handling 400 tonnes per day of wet paddy and turning it into bagged rice for export.
This solution includes conveying, reception and handling of the still moist, unhulled, and often dirty paddy rice, to cleaning, drying, hulling, polishing, sorting, packing and dispatch to the harbor. The Phung Hoang lines feature the SORTEX S UltraVision, a patented technology launched just three years ago for rice sorting.
B?ch Tuy?n said the plant has four SORTEX S UltraVision lines, capable of optically assessing each rice kernel for discoloration or damage at a rate of 20 million kernels per minute, with 250 data points and an outstanding hit rate.
“This has enabled us to meet a quality level unknown up to now in Vietnam and, as contaminated kernels are systemically removed from the food chain, we can now guarantee the highest level of food safety standards,” she said.
Phung Hoang Rice Mills is one of many Bühler customers in Vietnam and South-East Asia, where it has secured more than $100 million of rice processing contracts within the past two years. Phung Hoang’s relationship with Bühler began back in 2013 when it installed Bühler rice hulling technology on the advice of L??ng Trung Hi?u, a Bühler engineer and rice industry expert.
Bühler’s hulling technology played a significant role in generating 5% fewer broken kernels and it was the introduction of these hulling machines that paved the way for Phung Hoang’s second project with Bühler in 2014. This plant, aiming to double capacity to 400 tonnes a day, included: new optical sorters, automatic bagging machines and 30 new 100-tonne storage bins. This completely new automated rice reprocessing system was installed in a record time of four months, and became one of the most advanced plants in Vietnam. It achieved an input capacity of 500 tonnes per day, with 20% better efficiency and maximum uptime.
“I was very impressed with the Bühler team,” said H?ng Thanh H?i, technical manager, Phung Hoang. “They worked hard and completed the installation to an excellent standard.”
It was the improved results that gave B?ch Tuy?n the confidence to invest in the company’s third and most recent, completely new, Bühler-powered rice processing mill. It was installed in time to be up and running for Tân Niên, the first day of TET (Vietnam’s New Year), a vitally important trading time for Vietnamese businesses.
“The best business is done just after TET,” said B?ch Tuy?n. “If we’d failed to start up the plant by then, we’d have been behind for the whole business year. It was a particularly challenging time for both Phung Hoang and Bühler Vietnam, but from the very first day of our collaboration, Bühler always delivered what it promised.”
The installation began in mid-November and was ready to begin production after the Vietnamese New Year celebrations in February. As a result, B?ch Tuy?n was able to launch into an export offensive, delivering 1,000 tonnes of rice to Dubai, while also expanding to more customers across the Middle East and Europe.