Is there any alternative to roller mills in grain and cereal processing? Can Industry 4.0, digitalization and Internet of Things technologies that show its effect at dazzling speed in daily lives and business world provide us with alternative milling methods? We know that there are ongoing works on alternative methods like laser and sound-waves. But, could we see these technologies in real life?
Milling is one of the oldest industries in the world. For thousands of years, human beings have consumed food that made with flour obtained through grinding grains, mainly wheat. The basic material of many foods like the type of bread, pasta, pastry, and baked goods that people enjoy are produced with flour. 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 1800s, the technique of roller mill has been developed. Nowadays, grains and cereals are transformed into flour in modern facilities with the automation system. Huge facilities that process tons of wheat per day can be operated and controlled via an iPad. However, even if all processes are monitored in a computer environment, the milling logic remained almost the same.
So, is a new method possible in the grinding? Can Industry 4.0, digitalization and Internet of Things technologies that show its effect at dazzling speed in daily lives and business world provide us with alternative milling methods? We know big technology companies work on alternative methods like laser and sound-waves. But, could we see these technologies in real life? The answer to this question is “no, for now.”
However, thanks to technological advancement and the research and development work carried out by suppliers, it is certain that the input expenses can be lowered, maintenance cost and duration can be reduced, and facilities with quieter and fewer workers can be built. Also, we can predict that future mills will be faster and safer in food safety, hygiene, and quality control. “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.”says Ian Roberts, CTO at the Bühler Group. These sentences made an important evaluation for tomorrow’s mill technologies and draw a vision.