Buhler Changzhou China Facility
The facility includes a comprehensive animal nutrition R&D Application Center that covers 5,200 square meters spread over four floors. 
Photos courtesy of Bühler.
CHANGZOU, CHINA — Bühler officially opened its Asia-Pacific Manufacturing and R&D Center on April 26, a ceremony that included customers and stakeholders representing 32 nations from six continents. The ceremony was kicked off by Liping Shao, general manager of Bühler Changzhou, who told the audience that “the factory covers an area of 26.6 hectares. The 140,000-square-meter workshop will be Bühler’s center for feed, pet food, animal nutrition equipment and the manufacturing process.”

The ceremony was part of a three-day program that started with a Networking Day and ended with visits to three livestock, aquaculture and premix plants in the region.

The facility includes a comprehensive animal nutrition R&D Application Center that covers 5,200 square meters spread over four floors. It is operated by around 15 Bühler employees operating two pilot plants. One of them is devoted to the development of feed production processing technologies and the other is focused on grain logistic applications. These pilot plants will facilitate basic technology research and development as well as collaboration with customers for customized solutions. In addition, the R&D Application Center will serve as a major animal nutrition training center for customers and Bühler employees.

“The combined offerings make this new facility a globally recognized competence center in animal nutrition and grain logistics,” said Johannes Wick, chief executive officer of the Grains & Food business at Bühler.

Johannes Wick Buhler
Johannes Wick, chief executive officer of the Grains & Food business at Bühler
The green field facility is the latest addition to Bühler’s global supply chain and service network. The manufacturing plant meets the highest Swiss quality standards for the global animal feeds and grain logistic markets.

“Twelve years ago in February 2006, we started our journey to success here in Liyang when we created Bühler Changzhou,” Stefan Scheiber, CEO of Bühler, told the audience. “This investment has been fruitful as today China is a significant growth market for Bühler. By following the old principle that to cross a river you need step from stone to stone, we were able to outgrow the market in China and in Asia consistently every year and become the No. 1 supplier in China and in Asia for the feed industry.”

Today, Bühler employs more than 3,000 employees in China with multiple production sites located in Wuxi, Changzhou, Hefei, Beijing, Shenzhen, Xian, and Guangzhou. It was apparent during the ceremony and three-day event that Bühler has positioned itself as a well-established player with significant market share in the Chinese and Asia Pacific region. The company generates over one-quarter of its turnover in this region.

Buhler Stefan Schieber
Stefan Scheiber, CEO of Bühler

“We have never enough opportunities to thank our customers and partners,” Scheiber said. “So please allow me to express now and here on behalf of the Bühler Group my sincere thanks and gratitude to all of you, our customers, who are present here and also to all the ones that could not make it.”

The event included comments by important Bühler customers, including Tian Li, senior vice-president of the Haid Group.

“Haid will continue to work with Bühler on new construction projects both at home and abroad,” Li said. “We put faith in Bühler’s manufacturing philosophy of always striving for perfection and its longstanding brand culture. With this R&D and manufacturing center, we expect to see continued growth and innovation from Bühler. I believe Bühler Changzhou will serve as leading player to push forward industry equipment upgrading.”

Following the pouring of gold dust to spell out the facility’s name, the attendees visited the new manufacturing facility and its animal nutrition R&D Application Center as well as a large exhibition of products.

“This was an impressive event with hands-on industrial insights into the feed industry in China, and the capabilities Bühler can deliver,” said KC Ong, country director of the Gold Coin China Group. “Bühler Changzhou is a great partner in supplying equipment and engineering services for us. The facility produces high-quality equipment according to Bühler’s worldwide standards. Supported by competent local teams with great services and innovative ideas, Bühler Changzhou has created great value to Gold Coin and the feed industry as whole.”

Throughout the event, Bühler leadership asserted that Asia is a key part of its global strategy.

“This region has seen tremendous growth in the past years, and we are confident we will see further growth,” said Dieter Voegtli, president of sales and services at Bühler. “Also, our strong manufacturing base in China will further expand Bühler’s global supply chain, which is why we have established this brand-new manufacturing facility.”

Shao Liping explained that the facility is not only equipped with the most advanced Bühler machines but is operated with the most modern production management systems.

“To better meet the global feed industry’s need, which is becoming more efficient, ecofriendly and safer, and to meet the Bühler Group’s long-term strategic goals in the feed industry, we have built this smart and eco-friendly factory to provide better service to our customers all over the world,” Liping said.

“Feed the Future”

The day before the grand opening, Bühler hosted the “Feed the Future” Networking Day (NWD). With a strong Chinese and international contingent in attendance, the NWD afforded participants the opportunity to make new connections and discuss professional experiences and challenges.

The NWD kicked off with a welcome from Voegtli and Wick.

The programming was filled with talks, half in Chinese, half in English, by six leading figures and thought leaders in the global grain and feed industry. All the speeches were instantaneously translated into both English and Chinese via headsets.

Du Wei, deputy director of the China Feed Industry Association, began with a speech on the developments and trends in the Chinese feed industry.

Art Kees, founder and CEO of Protix, spoke about sustainability, animal nutrition and the role that insect protein can play in both.

Xie Shouqu, deputy director of the Institute of Hydrobiology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, spoke about Chinese aquaculture and feed requirements.

Professor Dirk Maier, Iowa State University, delved into feed safety and the U.S. FSMA rules.

A very special guest, Yao Minpu, senior vice-president of CP China, provided the audience a talk on the present and future development of animal husbandry in China.

Following a networking lunch, Beatrice Conde-Petit, group expert/ food safety officer at Bühler, gave a talk on nutrition and feed safety solutions from animal feeds.

Li Liang moderated a discussion on challenges and opportunities in the global feed industry and finally Robert Cuny gave a presentation on the digital transformation that is resulting from the IoT (internet of things) and how the application of data science can lead to greater efficiencies and opportunities in the all industries.

Over the final hour of the educational sessions attendees had a choice between 10 breakout sessions that were presented in Chinese, English with Chinese translation and English. Topics included sustainability, grain cleaning solutions, dust explosion risks and countermeasures, feed safety and other topics.

Wick then provided some closing remarks before all retired to the Hantian Hotel for a grand Chinese feast along with performances by traditional and modern Chinese performers.

The three-day event ended with visits to three livestock, aquaculture and premix plants in the region. From its vast customer network and many feed lines in operation, Bühler selected three plants to provide its guests profound insights into the Chinese feed industry.