The new BIC opened in July 2017 and covers a spectrum of processing needs, including raw material storage, conveying, dosing and analysis of finished products. The facility spans more than 8,600 square feet of space holding various storage, transport, dosing and weighing systems for the baked food production. The BIC aids bakers in areas such as the development of “free-from” products, pre-mixes and ready-mixes, as well as the ability to evaluate mixing quality and conduct sponge-and-dough hydration trials.
“Flexible equipment arrangements, a modular floor concept and ample space provide the flexibility to test different plant concepts with customer-specific equipment,” said Stefanie Hardtmann, manager for the BIC.
Bühler welcomes 5 to 10 customers to the BIC per week, and more than 1,500 people from all over the world have participated in nearly 150 educational courses hosted so far.
“Our standard courses explain the influence of grinding on the quality of baked goods, provide an introduction into the ‘secrets’ of producing industrial bakery products and impart knowledge about the use of sponges and sourdoughs,” Hardtmann said.
Course participants benefit from a coordinated infrastructure that combines the latest bakery technology systems with an auditorium and a complete in-house analytical test laboratory. The auditorium has 32 seats and offers a front view into the baking lab to provide a real-time learning experience.
Special courses in 2018 include “From Grain to Bread,” which features the basics of milling and flour production, interpretation of analytical results, properties and performance of flour ingredients, and the influence of flour improvers. Courses are available in English, German and Spanish on request.
“The course provides an introduction into the ‘secrets’ of producing industrial bakery products,” Hardtmann said. “In all our courses, we connect knowledge from raw materials like flour, salt and water together with the latest ingredient handling, kneading and proofing technology.”
She added that because grain is an organic raw material, no kernel is exactly like the other, and individual flour batches vary from one to the other. Small bakeries can adjust to these changes because bakers use their experience to compensate for the differences in the raw material. But for large companies that need highly automated and standardized solutions, this variability presents great challenges.
“Therefore, under the motto ‘From Grain to Bread,’ Bühler’s know-how is integrated along the entire added value chain in the course topics,” Hardtmann said.
Courses range from half-day to week-long programs. For example, the BIC offers a one-week course for managers and employees from production or sales called “Milling Expert Course for Quality Baked Goods.” This course provides in-depth knowledge on bakery technologies and flour qualities and gives insights into the requirements of a bakery work environment. It is also available for head millers, production managers or shift managers who want to learn more about the value chain of baked foods production.
Individual and maintenance courses also may be scheduled on request, and companies may host private events at the BIC. More information and a full schedule of 2018 courses can be found at www.buhlergroup.com/bic.