Bühler unveiled ground breaking digital technologies that include minimizing toxic contamination, reducing food waste and increasing end product quality across the whole food value chain as part of a new partnership with Microsoft. The new digital solutions and services were presented at the Microsoft booth at Hannover Messe in Germany.
At Hannover Messe, Bühler and Microsoft revealed breakthrough digital solutions for the food processing industry that will increase the availability of safe food and enhance food integrity and traceability. "Today's food value chains are facing tremendous challenges," says Ian Roberts, CTO at the Bühler Group. "Digital solutions will allow us to improve food safety and integrity and reduce food losses and waste. They enable us to be more efficient in production. In fact, with intelligent implementation of our digital capabilities we will make a major step towards meeting our goals of lowering waste and energy consumption in the food value chain by 30%," Roberts adds. For the agriculture industry to meet the global quality demands of the future, sustainability in all aspects of agricultural production is key," said Caglayan Arkan, General Manager Manufacturing & Resources at Microsoft. "Microsoft's mission is to help leaders like Bühler take advantage of its data using our Azure cloud and Azure IoT technologies to accurately forecast trends in agriculture, improve food safety and provide better services for customers."
The Bühler-Microsoft collaboration comes at a time when the global food industry faces increasing environmental and economic pressure. By 2050, the planet's population is predicted to grow to nine billion. Providing sufficient nutritious food in a sustainable way is a major challenge. More than 30% of global energy goes into food production. However, around 30% of all food is lost or wasted, while 800 million people are starving. It is Bühler's declared aim, through smart partnerships, to create businesses that contribute to solving these challenges. "With the digitalization of the food industry we have a new, unrivalled capability we can bring to bear," says Bühler CTO Roberts.
The showcases presented at the Hannover industry tradeshow cover the whole value chain from farm to fork:
Gamaya – improving efficiency and sustainability of industrial farms
Gamaya decision support and automation services help farmers optimize their use of water, chemicals, fuel and manual labor, while reducing environmental impact and improving the quantity and quality of produce. Examples of analytics include the mapping and classification of weeds, early diagnostics of plant disease, pests and nutrient deficiencies, as well as prediction of yields. Enabled by a unique combination of technologies including hyperspectral and satellite imaging, data fusion and artificial intelligence, it improves the efficiency and sustainability of farming businesses through smarter decisions.
Bühler LumoVision – Breakthrough sorting solution
Maize, the world's main cereal crop, can be affected by aflatoxin, a naturally occurring toxin that is highly carcinogenic. 500 million people worldwide are at risk of exposure to it. It is estimated to cause up to 150,000 cases of liver cancer a year and contribute to stunting in millions of children. The economic impact on farmers, food processors and the economy is significant. Bühler launched a breakthrough sorting technology for maize, making a major contribution to addressing this urgent challenge. This revolutionary solution was presented for the first time at Hannover Messe with a working demonstration. Bühler's breakthrough sorting technology will minimize toxic contamination in maize and improve yield, by identifying and removing cancer-causing, aflatoxin- infected grains. It does this more accurately and at greater speed than any previous solution. Developed in partnership with Microsoft, the launch of LumoVision™ is a significant advance for the maize processing industry in its fight against fungal molds called mycotoxins, the most poisonous of which is aflatoxin. The innovation can eliminate up to 90% of contaminated maize.
LumoVision is the first optical sorting technology able to identify aflatoxin based on direct indicators of contamination, while simultaneously using real-time, cloud-based data to monitor and analyze contamination risk. It works by analyzing the color each kernel fluoresces as it passes under powerful UV lighting in the sorter. It is known that contaminated kernels fluoresce a specific bright green color. LumoVision's proprietary, highly sensitive cameras detect precisely this color of fluorescence. Within milliseconds of detection, air nozzles deploy to blow contaminated kernels out of the product stream. The machine processes up to 15 tons of product an hour, eliminating up to 90% of contamination – a significant improvement on current solutions.
With LumoVision, food, feed, and pet food manufacturers can protect their product from contamination, avoid the cost of expensive recalls and reputational consequences, while increasing yields and reducing waste. Grain handlers can upgrade the quality of their product to attract higher prices.
PreMa – Intelligent storage and handling
85 million tons of cereal grains are lost in storage and handling every year. Reducing this loss helps our customers and contributes to safeguarding more of the food the world produces. PreMa is an intelligent silo monitoring solution to ensure grain is stored under the correct conditions.
TotalSense – providing quick and objective quality control for rice
TotalSense is a mobile rice analyzer that provides for quick and objective quality control. The customer submits a photo of a rice sample and receives a quality report, including an analysis of broken and discolored rice grains. TotalSense reduces the time for rice quality checks by up to ten times.
Safefood.ai – improving food safety through data- driven early warnings
Safefood.ai scans thousands of official databases, webpages, news and social media channels for events and rumors related to food safety. It identifies food and feed products affected and provides customized early warnings to food processors, enabling them to stay ahead of food safety risks. Microsoft Manufacturing & Resources General Manager Caglayan Arkan adds: "Collaborations like the one between Bühler and Microsoft will be essential to feeding our world and fueling a better future for our natural resources and food production. With artificial intelligence and the cloud, we have the technology to address some of the biggest challenges facing the industry." And Bühler CTO Roberts concludes: "The digital revolution is a huge opportunity for the food manufacturing industry. It has the potential to bring beneficial changes along the entire value chain, improving safety, transparency and efficiency, and reducing energy consumption and waste. We are only scratching the surface of this potential. The partnership between Bühler and Microsoft will equip us with tools to address some of the key challenges the industry and the world faces."