Future mills will increasingly be equipped with various sensors that detect different specific data and send these to a central control system. The stored data are transformed into signals that can be further processed. Therefore, the first stage of an intelligent mill is establishing a big database by monitoring every point of milling process from raw materials to products and all operational status of machines.
Milling is one of the oldest industries in the world. People began to grind wheat through their hand power and later began to grind wheat between two stones powered by wind or animal. In the middle of the 1800s, the technique of roller mill has been developed. Nowadays, grains are transformed into flour in modern facilities with the automation systems. Milling technology companies are now working to further develop the milling process. The convergence of information technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) opens a great opportunity for the milling industry. Thanks to the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, input expenses can be lowered, maintenance cost and duration can be reduced, and facilities with quieter and fewer workers can be built.
Future mills will increasingly be equipped with various sensors that detect different specific data and send these to a central control system. The stored data are transformed into signals that can be further processed. Therefore, the first stage of an intelligent mill is establishing a big database by monitoring every point of milling process from raw materials to products and all operational status of machines. “Future mills will work within a secure wireless network, and they will be supporting a highly automated process, linked seamlessly with enterprise software working through the cloud. Operators are controlling the mills from their tablets, with all the facility data at the fingertips,” says Mr. Syed Ashraf, Vice President of Automation and Electrical Engineering at KICE Industries. With the advancement of such a technology, manual adjustments will disappear in the milling plants. From a human resources point of view, this will make the low skilled workers redundant, but will also require a lot of highly skilled workers.
COVER STORY INDEX
- Increasing yield with data*
Gernot Ruppert, Bühler Program Manager Smart Mill
In October, Bühler launched its new Bühler Insights Yield Management System in a bid to drive up production rates in smaller, often family-run milling operations in Asia, India, and Africa. Interest in this system is spreading to larger automated producers in all regions as early adopters report higher profitability from increasing yields.
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- Artificial intelligent milling system
Prof. Farhan Alfin
If someone asks me about my imagination of the smart mill, I will say that it has to produce flour of a certain customer without any human intervention. This means that the mill has a big database include all mill parameters. AI mill systems have the potential to bring greater advantage to the production process. Miller has to know that the investments in new automation and digitalized systems is more efficient and profitable than conventional mill system.
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- New technologies come to the milling industry
Prof. Gustavo Sosa, Industrial Mechanical Engineer, SOSA – Engineering Consultants
“Workplace inefficiencies could be virtually eliminated by smart manufacturing, by allowing the continuous recording of all processes and machines, and implementing automatic actuators that regulate the variables of the processes. For example, grain mixtures can be adjusted, roll pressure increased, sifting time increased, etc. A network of sensors gives you real-time data, as much as you want, as long as each variable can be defined by a numerical variable. With the advancement of this technology, manual adjustments will have to disappear, being replaced by actuators that can control every aspect of the operation of the machines.”
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- Wheat flour and its future
Claudia Carter, Executive Director, California Wheat Commission
“The supply change will become more flexible, and contracting with growers for specialty wheats will be the way to go. Segregating and storing grains based on quality or specific traits will be a critical step. The size of the mills will change in order to become flexible upon request of customers' needs. And, contract milling (toll milling) will become another important change in the milling industry. Special products and projects from food manufacturers will require the need for more capacity of customized milling.”
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