Agribusiness & Food, Conveyors, Transfers, Chutes, Equipment & Technology

European giant joins the fight against Aussie food waste

Bühler

ABHR looks at one of Europe’s largest material handling companies, Bühler, and explores what it can offer the Australian market.

Bühler has revealed its latest plans to make a mark on Australia’s bulk handling materials market and solve the country’s food waste problem.

The company, founded in 1860, wants to tackle the 30 per cent of food lost between fields and the forks of families in Australia and across the globe.

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) data illustrates the significant cost of seeing 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost annually worldwide. The organisation’s report shows that while some food and grain wastage is due to supermarkets or restaurants, a portion is during transportation, handling, and storage.

The same organisation also publicly estimated that 25 per cent of crops worldwide are contaminated with mycotoxins.

The FAO’s Anthony Bennett said publicly there is a need to “concretely reduce” food wastage across the globe, and Bühler has decided to step up to the plate.

The Bühler name encompasses one of the world’s biggest brands, stretching across several sectors, from grain handling to technology.

By the company’s measurement, billions of people encounter Bühler technologies daily. Two billion people consume food produced on Bühler equipment daily, while around one billion people travel in vehicles that were in some way made with Bühler machinery.

It shows the sheer scale of a family-owned company that employs nearly 13,000 employees across 140 countries with an annual turnover of 3 billion Swiss francs (more than $5 billion AUD).

While the Bühler name is synonymous with the food industry through its work in the confectionary space, it owns a vast market share within grains and milling solutions, a pillar of the company. 

For a company of its size globally, it may come as no surprise that it can offer a complete grain-handling solution from intake to storage.    

According to the company, this is why it can make a difference not only to the Australian market but also in the race to reduce produce waste. 

“Bühler’s processes are tailored to reduce that drastically,” Bühler’s Sales Manager for the Oceania region, Adam Williamson, told ABHR. 

“While we understand that there will always be some food loss, we strive to help producers reduce that number.

“And there are lots of things producers can do using Bühler technology and equipment regarding food losses and food wastage.” 

Bühler offers grain cleaners and scales at the intake stage, which allow operators to perform an effective pre-cleaning process. Removing impurities and foreign materials ensures a higher quality grain, improves the equipment lifecycle, and enhances storage conditions.

Bühler’s cleaners separate impurities based on their size and weight.

Its Vega MTVA offers a compact grain cleaner that can still handle high throughput and process up to 100 tons per hour.

From there, Bühler can take the product through the sorting stage with its leading-edge optical sorters to be milled by milling range, stretching from bakery flours in the combimill to semolina with its roller and PesaMill.

According to Williamson, Bühler stands out from the pack with its technology-backed machinery, which can provide operators peace of mind and certainty.

Many of these products come built with a sensor component that allows site managers to monitor the grain online and remotely. The sensors enable management to make data-backed decisions around moisture management, storage timeframes and quality control.

“Monitoring the grain at every stage as it moves from intake to export is important for producers,” he said.

“If there is too much heat or moisture, then you get mould and risk losing whole silos worth of product in some cases, which is significant for most producers.

“We’ve invested in the technology side of things to provide producers with the data and monitoring they need to ensure their equipment is operating effectively and producing the grain they require.”

Bühler’s extensive portfolio of grain handling allows for an integrated site fit-out manufactured to the company’s exacting standards developed from more than 160 years in the business.

“When the Bühler name is on the product, you know it is going to be produced to a high standard which is reliable and delivers to your specifications,” Williamson said.

Bühler
Bühler is one of Europe’s largest material handling companies. Image: Bühler

LONG-TERM SUPPORT

While Bühler has an international reputation, they have also done work with smaller Australian producers, including micro-breweries and farms.

With a national presence spread around Australia, Bühler can provide 24/7 support on-site and remotely. This enables customers to lean on the experience of industry professionals with over 50 years of combined experience.

But Bühler understands that the Australian market, with its unique conditions, requires a tailored touch and expertise.

When producers come to Bühler needing a solution, Bühler’s expert team starts at the end to find a solution.

“We find that every producer can require some specialisation, which is why we start with their end product, what they want to produce and how much of it,” Willamson said.

“All those little details matter to us, whether they’re exporting or selling speciality grains or producing grain for human consumption and animal feed, it changes the equipment they’ll require.

“When the customer knows what they want and the areas they want to target or improve, we can devise a solution which will be effective for them and their needs.”

The company employs leading technology to ensure clients receive the best customer care, whether by remote support or in-person interaction.

In one recent case, a Bühler engineer was able to help solve a client’s problem remotely by accessing the site from Germany using Microsoft Glasses. The technology enabled him to see the machine from across the globe in real-time and provide detailed solutions for operating it again.

Customers have also taken a sample of their product to Bühler’s German offices to see how they would handle the company’s equipment in real-time.

While technology is increasingly improving how Bühler can help customers, Williamson said they still pride themselves on providing a personal service in the grain handling industry.

“We’re able to do online monitoring and support, but crucially, with our presence across Oceania, we’re able to get a technician out quickly to provide support,” he said.

“Some companies must fly people in from overseas, but in Australia, Bühler has people on the ground and in your communities ready to help.

“We value our relationships with our customers, whether new or existing, because we want to help engineer their success and make a better world.”

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