“Having access to reliable contaminant mitigation, trustworthy information and real-time quality monitoring are not new challenges for food processors. However, digitalization enables the industry to deal with these challenges so that we can provide healthy food to feed the ever increasing global population.”
Senior Cereal Miller and Consultant
The milling business is essentially a matter of quantity management. A desired level of quantity must be produced within a certain time with the minimum workforce and with the expected world’s population rise from 7.2 to 9.5 billion people by 2050, feeding everyone will be a global challenge, requiring contribution throughout the complex food value chain. Consumers also want to know where their food has come from and how it has been grown, harvested and processed. They are also interested in its environmental impact and whether its’ growers were paid fairly. Until now, the industry has only been able to dream of solutions for providing consumers with food that they can trust. But now, with the opportunities opened up by digitalization and automation system, we are closer to capturing sustainably the food system’s full value.
Nowadays machine manufacturing giants, global food security agencies, enzyme and additive manufacturers, nutritional solution providers, grain bin manufacturers, global data collection firms are investing heavily in innovating process and providing solutions to include in the automation system and creating many web based intuitive user interface applications to provide an overview of the milling process, real time yield calculation, controlled production system, providing comprehensive data analyses on yield, stocks and prices in global market.
Technical philosophy should be to develop innovative technologies to improve process efficiency, sustainable usage of resources like energy, water, land and water in crop cultivation, continually monitor the level of bacteria that is being reduced during milling process, gather information about temperature and humidity in silos to safe guard from unwanted bacterial growth, mould infection and mycotoxin contamination, compensate for wear, ensure dust free environment, require minimal spare parts, provide easy-in-line maintenance, establish long term reliability, maintain a longer service life.
For healthy and nutritious food to be available to billions of consumers around the globe each day, these commodities must be transported in bulk, stored, traded, processed and distributed through various channels. And while the commodities are in-transit, they can be exposed to various conditions like extreme weather, poor storage facility, physical, chemical or biological contaminations.
However, digitalization is inspiring exciting new solutions that can address these issues, enabling processes to be adjusted to optimize yield, save energy, prevent wastage or contamination and remove defective produce.
Digitalization has enabled in creation of numerous applications and softwares which can be used on various terminal devices. Digitalization offers various opportunities to improve processes, increase value, reduce food wastage, better usage of resources, quicker decision making and transparent communication throughout the value chain.
Some of the Applications and Softwares are listed below:
Safefood 360, which monitors and collects relevant data from international food authorities, news sources and social media providing real-time alerts about quality hazards and ever changing food safety standards.
Insight, is a management system which allows documents to be automatically versioned, non-conformance and incidents to be managed from input to investigation, training compliance recorded and audits to be tracked to completion all while automated alerts are generated. These reports comes with filtering capabilities and allows to be sent to individual or group mails on regular basis to provide insight into what’s going on in your organization, business unit, location or department and pin point the next focus area to improve upon. The system provides permanent monitoring with recommended settings and employs Predictive maintenance to change spare parts to achieve an increase in mill performance.
Iaom 365, this app was launched to make IAOM services and programs easier to access on a mobile device. Find and register for IAOM events, latest topics related to global milling industry, provides up-to-minute information, alerts and schedules. Enables closed discussions that pertain to members specific district or region.
Juno, its web based software which help millers achieve affordable and intuitive line and automation. Juno can process foodstuff from raw material to final product. It focuses on making process automation straightforward, intuitive and affordable. It can quickly yield a significant return on investment by improving efficiency and line availability.
Mercury Manufacturing Execution System (MES) from the house of Buhler, this software makes all processes within the mill accessible on any device. It can integrate a milling plant and control capability with all of wider processes, bringing millers advantages of true factory automation and the IoT. Integrating data from sales and customer orders, to raw material, resource consumption, storage and shipping can transform plant efficiency. Uptime, product quality and consistency, compliance and regulation, safety and operator error, transparency and traceability can all be positively impacted. 24/7 mobile monitoring and alerts allow milling personnel to be more agile and remote diagnostics enable maintenance and support from anywhere in the world.
ProcessPro, it continuously monitors the level of bacteria that is being reduced during traditional milling process.
PreMa, it helps in gathering data about temperature and humidity in silos, and triggers a warning if conditions favour unwanted bacterial growth, to prevent mould infection and mycotoxin contamination. It is now the time not only to promote SLAM (Sanitation, Loading, Aeration, Monitoring) but also IoT.
Zema, is a software designed by a Vancouver based data company, which gives one comprehensive data that can keep farmers and traders up to date with the latest in yields, stocks and prices as well as monitoring the success of their own crops and their expected income.
E-Rhodimet® (e-RNG) is a great decision-making tool for nutritionists and formulators which help in calculating the amino acid requirements of various animal species under different rearing conditions. Taking into account the actual performances of their animals (feed intake, weight gain and feed conversion), this software re-calculates precisely the digestible amino acids requirements to use in feed formulation.
@Rollermills, software from Ocrim which allows the operators to control the mills remotely via tablet and then to program them with a single operation, carried out from any point of the mill and no longer necessarily through the panel on the machine. This system allows user to intervene promptly in case of adjustments, production optimization, since the operator is no longer required to act on the roller mill on-board control.
AI-LATI Blog, with this real time blog Ocrim aims to be an information container for projects, discussions and events in the field of milling, but it also serves as a constructive source for the whole milling sector.
TriQ, is a proprietary technology from BoMill. It is a high volume, single kernel grain and seed sorting solutions using NIR analysis in transmittance mode. This technology helps in removal of fusarium-infested kernels – upgrading the value of grain batch, which predominantly would have been lost without this sorting. Secondly, it can sort grains according to vitreousness which helps in Durum wheat batches to extract high yield of semolina. This technology helps in sorting according to protein level into fractions of high and low protein kernels of wheat. It generates more uniform malting Barley for optimum malting properties.
Educational videos The North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) and the Canadian National Millers Association (CNMA) released a new food safety educational video designed to eliminate the food safety risk associated with Wheat flour by educating consumers on proper handling and baking instructions for products containing flour. It is possible for wheat to be exposed to environmental source of E.coli and other bacteria that may present a food safety risk. The video is available for download at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0By1rpl3cULv-OWpodDR2Y2tsZkU/view
Smart &Intelligent sensors and algorithms can unlock the potential in milling industry. Due to which now-a-days numerous Real-time online analyzers are in market such as
• NIR analysis of raw and final products which give precise measurement of Moisture, Protein and Ash along with trend monitoring of Wet gluten, Water absorption, Starch damage.
• Online Color and Specks measurement unit which provides real-time precise monitoring of Color and classification of Brown as well as black specs in semolina, 100% control of starch content in Bran, Maximum flour extraction.
• Online Particle size measurement give online information about granulation, detects any deviation from target granulation.
• Mobile particle size measurement unit helps in measuring particle size on the spot and represent its result directly on unit’s screen.
• Roller sensors regularly tracks and keep data of vibrations in rolls and temperature of rolls to avoid any change in the taste of the flour as well as to save its nutrients like Vitamin B, Vitamin E, iron, calcium and zinc from losing its nutritional value which are at risk due to high temperature.
• GrainiGo which can check Yield, Stress cracks, broken kernels, size distribution of Maize.
• TotalSense which gives information for Rice like Classifying broken grains, Counting, Avg. grain length.
• Yield management system enables mobile yield monitoring, flexible threshold setting.
• LumoVision optical sorter which merges physical and digital technology to provide real-time information about toxin levels in maize.
All these digital data collection, storage, analysis and evaluation can enhance transparency in milling process as well as throughout the value chain. A classic example of wheat contamination traceability is from March 2016 in Georgia, U.S.A, where peanut contaminated wheat flour was supplied in the market but because of digitalization in whole value chain, production batch of flour was easily traced and source of contamination was also identified. Due to so deep penetration of digitalization many pilot projects are been conducted to trace wheat grain “from farm to fork” using blockchain technology, to provide full traceability and transparency.
Having access to reliable contaminant mitigation, trustworthy information and real-time quality monitoring are not new challenges for food processors. However, digitalization enables the industry to deal with these challenges so that we can provide healthy food to feed the ever increasing global population.
We also suggest you to read our previous article titled "Digitalization and innovation in milling".