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Saudi Arabia’s First Mills optimizes pest control sustainably

17 April 20245 min reading

First Mills is now the first mill in the Middle East region that uses a 100% poison-free method, becoming a leader in the use of modern and sustainable technologies for pest control.

First Mills is one of the cornerstones of Saudi Arabia’s strategic food security ecosystem. Founded in 2017 as a result of the privatization of the General Food Security Authority (GFSA), the company is a market-leading milling player in the Kingdom, incorporating innovative solutions to produce the highest quality flour, feed, bran, and wheat derivatives. The company covers all major regions of the Kingdom through four strategically located, large-capacity mills in Jeddah, Qassim, Tabuk, and Al-Ahsa.

In pursuit of accomplishing the company’s sustainability mission, the company actively evaluates implementing best practices for process improvements that are respectful to the environment. Pest control in their facilities was one of the processes targeted, where the company focused their efforts on increasing efficiency and bringing it in alignment with their sustainability mission. The company has relied for years on the use of traditional pest control methods with poison, obtaining effective results in pest control but which execution represented a complex task in terms of logistics, planning, and required downtime and later maintenance due to corroded electronics.

After an exhaustive search and evaluation of the best solutions available worldwide for pest control in food processing, they have found in the Heat Treatment method the possibility to accomplish all their improvement goals. To bring out the best in this method, they reached out to experts in Heat treatment technology. They contacted Termico GmbH, a German company specialized in providing Heat Treatment technology for application in Flour Mills. Termico provided them with all the specific information that implies the use of Heat Treatment, a method that uses heat to kill pests, it’s totally free from using chemical pesticides, generates very efficient results in pest control, and follows highest safety standards.

In October 2022, all the company’s requirements were presented to Termico and an inspection of all the plant facilities was made to assess the possibility of applying Heat Treatment. With this complete overview, Termico provided detailed engineering, with all the technical and safety considerations to be taken for a successful completion of this project, “The establishment of a new pest control process with Heat Treatment.” The complete outline provided, and the expertise demonstrated in the clarification of all technical details, led to the selection of Termico GmbH as the perfect partner for the execution of this ambitious project.

A project timeline that included manufacturing and delivery deadlines was prepared and followed as planned. Once the Termico equipment was delivered at the company’s facilities, the first treatment was carried out. For the first Heat Treatment, the company selected their plant in Al-Ahsa. The plant is equipped with a modern 600t/24h Ocrim mill and having the smallest facilities of all their plants, offered a simplification of the treatment, perfect to carry out the hands-on training of the company’s team. The successful execution of this treatment was carried out under the technical supervision of Termico’s specialists and had a duration of 48 hours.

After this soft start, the company transferred their new Termico Equipment to their Plant in Jeddah, where the next Treatment took place. This treatment was successfully executed, and it was entirely made by the company team. The massive building size of this facility required the application of the treatment in an area of more than 100,000m³. With the acquisition of cutting-edge technology from Termico and after detailed practical training of their workforce, First Mills is now able to carry out pest control on their own, fully independently, in all their facilities across the country.

Newest technology applied for pest control in silos as well In view of the successful results and the company’s commitment to incorporate sustainable solutions, the company decided to include improvements in its silo pest control processes as well. To do so, they have acquired several sets of the Silo THT from Termico, the newest technology available in the market for Heat Treatment in Silos. The commissioning of the first units was carried out by Termico’s specialists. During the commissioning, the company’s team joined hands-on training, where they learned the principles of operation of the Silo THT and all the key factors for achieving always perfect results. The company’s team carried out tests to measure the efficiency of the treatment in the Silo. To do so, pest samples were introduced into the silos, obtaining flawless results with 100% efficacy. By using Silo THT, they are now able to apply Heat Treatment to each silo independently, while the plant uninterruptedly continues its normal production operations. The company COO Michael Albers pointed out, “The implementation of this method reduced downtime needed for pest control up to 50%, assuring a safe working environment for our personnel and keeps our business processes aligned with the company’s sustainability mission”. First Mills is now the first mill in the Middle East region that uses a 100% poison-free method, becoming a leader in the use of modern and sustainable technologies for pest control.

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