Photos courtesy of Bühler.
Its most recent expansion and upgrade started at the beginning of 2017 as Amman Mills worked with Uzwil, Switzerland-based milling equipment manufacturer Bühler AG. It included expanding the building and installing all new equipment in Mill A, the addition of a 72-tonne-per-day (wheat equivalent) capacity stone mill, connecting Mill A and Mill B for receiving wheat as well as mixing flour between the two, and adding an NIR system for quality control.
“The growth in population in Jordan, the evolution of bakeries and the establishment of large cake and biscuit factories encouraged us to develop and expand our mills and to invest in increasing the capacity to produce larger quantities with better quality in order to suit the changing needs of consumers,” said Khalid Al-Hazaa, general manager of South Amman Mills.
Overall, the project increased the mill’s daily capacity from 800 to 992 tonnes (wheat equivalent) and created three fully automated production lines, making South Amman Mills one of the largest and most modern mills in Jordan.
The mill is a member of the Al-Hazaa Investment Group, which operates nine milling facilities in four countries and has a total daily flour production capacity of more than 3,500 tonnes. Along with flour milling, its businesses include grain storage, plastics, pasta production and grain milling across the Middle East. The company has operations in Iraq, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Cyprus.
South Amman Mills was established in 1997 with the German company MMW and at that time had production capacity of 200 tonnes per day. The location in the southern portion of Amman was selected so the facility would be in the middle of Jordan. This allows it to meet the needs of southern Jordan as well as Amman and other northern provinces, Al-Hazaa said.
“Our current location has helped us a lot in covering the growing demands for flour caused by the growth in population in our region,” Al-Hazaa said.
The mill was built on a 100,000-square-meter green space near the main road between Amman and Aqaba. This helps in importing wheat and exporting flour, and the large land area has allowed for the past, and future, expansions, the company said.
In 2000, the mill worked with Bühler to expand capacity to 300 tonnes per day. Eight years later, Mill B was built with a daily production capacity of 320 tonnes. It was equipped with the latest equipment Bühler offered at that time and had a daily milling capacity of 630 tonnes.
In 2015, daily milling capacity of Mill B was increased to 500 tonnes, bringing total milling capacity to 800 tonnes.
For the most recent expansion, changing the equipment in Mill A was completed in six months with the help of 10 engineers from Bühler and about 100 workers from the South Amman staff.
Mill A and Mill B were connected for receiving wheat through an underground tunnel and the wheat silos from the two mills were linked by a bridge. Wheat storage capacity at the mill is 60,000 tonnes and flour storage capacity is 1,500 tonnes.
An integrated line for mixing flour between the two mills also was installed along with an NIR system for quality control. After the most recent expansion, Mill A has a total daily capacity of 420 tonnes, Mill B has a capacity of 500 tonnes and the stone mill has a capacity of 72 tonnes.
Al-Hazaa said South Amman Mills is in the process of building a solar power generating station to supply the mill with electricity.
South Amman Mills receives wheat on a daily basis from the Port of Aqaba or from the nearby silos to be stored and cleaned. Wheat is imported directly from Russia, Germany, the United States or Ukraine to produce the various types of flour, including soft wheat that is used for biscuits and cakes and hard wheat that is used for Arabic bread, and pizza, and the production of semolina for use in pasta factories.
Local wheat is purchased to be ground by the stone mill to produce whole wheat flour that is rich with protein and fibers, Al-Hazaa said.
Jordan produces a relatively small amount of wheat — about 25,000 tonnes in 2017-18 — so it relies mostly on imports. With an influx of Syrian refugees as well as Egyptian, Yemeni and Libyan nationals, Jordan has experienced unprecedented growth in wheat consumption, according to the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Imports for 2017-18 are expected to reach 1.1 million tonnes, a 19% increase from the previous marketing year.
South Amman Mills has two separate lines for wheat cleaning, also supplied by Bühler, that include sorting and tempering before grinding. Grinding is completed through one of three lines, including a traditional grinding in the stone mill for specialty flour, particularly whole meal.
After grinding, the wheat is stored and mixed in 21 silos with a total capacity of 1,500 tonnes. It is packed into bags in a range of sizes, including 1/2 kg, 1 kg, 2 kg, 5 kg, and 10 kg. The small bagging machines were made by Germany-based Fawema and Italian-based Paglierani. Other sizes include 25-kg and 50-kg polypropylene bags and jumbo bags (1 tonne) as well as bulk distribution.
Production lines are fully automatic and managed by Bühler’s PLC system; they are controlled remotely. Because the mill has 10 silos to store wheat, three production lines and 21 silos to store flour, it is able to grind different types of wheat (soft, semi-hard and hard) to produce pasta flour, bread flour, cake flour, noodles flour and croissants flour.
Flour is distributed to consumers daily by more than 30 trucks and three distribution centers. Primary markets for South Amman’s products include bakeries in Jordan, cake and biscuit factories, other retailers and export markets in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
Certification and education
South Amman Mills has one of the most up-to-date labs in Jordan for chemical analysis to test its baking and rheology. The lab, which has an ISO 14001 certificate, was established in collaboration with Bühler, Perten Instruments and Chopin Technologies. In the lab, flour samples are analyzed every day along with some baking operations. In addition to the lab’s ISO 14001 certification, the mill is certified in HACCP and Halal.
Education is also important to the company. Several employees have masters and doctorate degrees, including a Kansas State University graduate in the quality control department and a master’s degree graduate from Jordan University of Science and Technology. The head miller has studied at the Swiss School of Milling in St. Gallen, Switzerland.
Khalid Al-Hazaa, general manager, studied at Bühler’s training center in 1997, and Walid Al-Hazaa, engineer in charge of the maintenance department, has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical and maintenance engineering from Hochschule Reutlingen, Germany and has also studied in Bühler’s training center.
Engineer Ibrahim Al-Hazaa, who is in charge of the electrical department, has a bachelor’s degree in mechatronics engineering and studied at Jade Hochschule in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, and Bühler’s training center.
South Amman Mills cooperates and works with Jordan University of Science and Technology in the field of development and scientific research.