“Establishing a new mill without necessary technology infrastructure will be a big mistake. No matter where we are, we should track our mill and instant data, and control both details of output product, and statistics of our operating machinery.”
Foreign Trade Director
Özpolat Milling Machinery Technology
The future of the sector and its facility should be considered while planning a new facility investment today. Will this job continue in the future, or be among the missing books and photographs? It is required to think what we can do to continue it and how we can adapt our job to today’s conditions. Lucky us, milling is not a job which will die away. Because, bread will continue to be the most important nutrition source for human in this geography of which old name is Mesopotamia where even wheat was produced for the first time. So, human being will always need for our millers. Yes, we are lucky in this respect, we should ask: How can we carry our facility into future? How can we obtain quality flour from the same facility even if 40 year of time elapses from establishment? How can we be ready for innovations to come after 10, 15 and even 20 years today?
Please note, production in old village type mills has both reduced and become unprofitable. Number of old type mills has decreased when compared with the past periods. Milling has not died, but old type mills have. Because, the period was the period when production, capacity, productivity and profitability increased, but workmanship and energy reduced, however some millers having old type mills could not see this. As a matter of fact, we are at a similar turnout today. A new industrial revolution has been on the front burner recently. This concept which has come out in Germany for the first time has been an issue for us for the last two years. I am mentioning about the 4th Industrial Revolution, namely Industry 4.0.
Today, even if milling and technology are two concepts among which there is no relationship for some, establishing a new mill without necessary technology infrastructure will be a big mistake. Mills do not consist of machinery anymore, and it should not be, we should buy flour production technologies from now on. No matter where we are, we should track our mill and instant data, and control both details of output product, and statistics of our operating machinery. At least we should be able to adapt a new technology to come after 10 years from now into our facility thanks to our infrastructure established without problem. We should design our facility that it is eligible to physical growth and capacity increase, and to technological developments.
Of course we cannot establish a mill having cutting-edge technology in every country. Since this is a big investment, economic, physical, legal and security - which is the most important - conditions of the region are important. Where some of these are missing, even if we see a market as big for establishing a mill, we may withdraw to keep our investment costs at the lowest level. However; when considering Turkey, we are top flour exporter of the World, and mill machinery manufacturer. Today, it makes no sense to making concessions from technology and quality in a facility to be newly established to compete with the world.
Flour is an affordable product when evaluated with price/amount proportion as an economic value. Therefore, one of the most important factors of flour trade is transportation costs. Today, if we want to establish a new mill, we should ask ourselves some questions such as, where are our potential purchasers?, in which cities or countries are they?, from where can I send goods to these cities in the cheapest way?, Where should I be positioned in order to send goods to that country in the cheapest way; then we should choose place in line with answers of these.
In placement plan, I always think it is required to take growth into consideration. Today, building and land required for a factory with average capacity is obvious. However, our millers do not sometimes take growth into consideration at all. After a few years, when they attempt to renovate their lines or increase their capacity, they are obliged to stop their production due to mounting and demounting processes. Stopping mill for months means that miller cannot work and gain money for months. Whereas, if miller took this capacity increasing from the first, he would not have to bear these.
We as Özpolat Milling Machinery has been establishing innovative mills for years. In today’s conditions, a flour factory having cutting-edge technology can be established over steel construction. And leaving enough space, the first line will not be required to be stopped during mounting process of the second line, the second line can be directly added to the next of the first line. This is what we do.
A medium-scale flour mill should consist of 3 sections: Production, quality control and information system. If we allow these three sections to work simultaneously and enterally in mills, we can both produce high quality flour, and work in high efficiency, and produce consistently. Subsections of Production Unit existing in most of today’s mills are as follows:
a. Raw wheat storage unit
b. Goods purchase unit
c. Cleaning unit
d. Conditioning unit
e. Preparation unit for grinding
f. Mill (grinding unit)
g. Product storing and packing unit
h. Stock control and shipping section.
In design of flour mill, not only machinery, but also technology is important. You should have smart machinery, Internet of Things, allover connection, technology and server room, heat and humidity controls that you can control your factory wherever you are. You must be able to operate and stop them, track instant power consumption and operating hours, even program your mill to perform certain duties. None of them are luxury anymore.
Of course, mill design affects performance and quality. Machinery of which location is not calculated with expert and experienced diagrammer and engineers cause to consume excess energy and poor-quality final products.
When a facility is established, very few millers do so, but we should know which features we want to have in flour and/or bran. Nonetheless, it is required to state which type of wheat we will use as raw material. Only if we decide both of them, we can determine interim processes and machinery. I am astonished when I hear that most of the machinery manufacturers do no give enough importance in two matters which are the essential two matters for me, but just details for some. Then, how do they decide on types, sizes and numbers of machinery to be used? Nothing can be left to coincidences in the 21th century.
Even your million dollars of investment cannot be left at all. After determining where to start and where to end, we determine necessary process order and product flow, decide on number of machinery according to desired capacity, make design and placement to ensure the most quality final product in the most efficient way, provide our miller with preliminary design for the construction. I think this is what should be done.
Today, works with medium and high capacity, located in concrete buildings and accepted as standard in the industry, and mills are established according to this. However, let me assure you that millers will be aware of a fact in the future like every investor: When human factor is removed from production, two things change:
1. Production failures and defective products substantially decrease
2. Costs reduce.
When our millers which are not aware of this now are aware of this in the future, they will give up this “standard” design and direct to smart factories and smart flour production technologies.