Microsoft hosts Bühler’s key IOT systems efficiency launch

Global tech giant Microsoft’s annual Ignite Conference has hosted the launch of the Bühler Insights cloud-based frameworks for digital services developed for the food industry, including confectionery and bakery sectors.

The Swiss-headquartered company’s Smart Chocolate Factory System for dosing, refining, mixing, and conching lines is based on Internet of Things (IOT) principles, and is already operational after launching last year.

Through the firm’s Insights platform – which is set to prove the core operating system for Bühler’s digital services, enables production processes to be monitored, analysed and adjusted to help ensure optimum efficiency levels. It has been devised to allow customers to access data through a single portal.

MoisturePro, another of Bühler’s digital applications powered by the new IOT system, has been developed to reduce energy consumption for industrial drying processes, and the company believed the technology has the potential to save customers hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

As the company explained, the freshly-introduced platform combines the power of the company’s skills in food processing with Microsoft’s leadership in delivering intelligent Azure cloud technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities. There is also the potential for blockchain to unlock a new degree of food safety, traceability, transparency, and data intelligence.

In his Ignite keynote, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, highlighted Bühler’s critical role in global food supply chains, and its work to use digital technology to ensure true food safety.

Stuart Bashford, digital officer at Bühler, said: “Microsoft’s technology has made it possible to accelerate time to market and has allowed us to deliver real benefits and value to our customers.” For manufacturers, that means reaching new levels of productivity. With the Bühler Insights, every machine in your plant can run as if your best operator is on the job around the clock.

“Bühler Insights provides the platform from which Bühler can deliver its process know-how directly to customers. Bühler currently has the capability to connect more than 85% of its solutions to Bühler Insights.

The company is showcasing a selection of its digital services at Microsoft Ignite, including MoisturePro, a cloud-based digital service that drives significant improvements in yield, reduces energy costs and the environmental footprint of thermal processing in the food and feed industry. Harnessing the power of cloud connectivity, it can reportedly deliver a return on investment of USD $300,000, translating to an annual energy savings of $20,000.

“Leveraging the power of the IoT and cloud technology we can make our expertise available to our customers at every stage of the drying process and drive real change,” says Paul McKeithan, Bühler’s head of digital services.

MoisturePro is just one of a suite of digital services available on Bühler Insights. Another is LumoVision, which can identify and remove corn (maize) that has been contaminated with toxic aflatoxin.

The company added that it is working with Microsoft on the potential for blockchain to secure total traceability across the food sector and for consumers. Blockchain is said to be an ideal way to record actions and transactions, because it’s very difficult to change or tamper with.

Bühler Insights, with its first set of digital services running on this platform, is just the start of this endeavour. The two businesses said they are already looking into blockchain to secure total traceability for the food industry and consumers.

Blockchain is said to be an ideal way to record actions and transactions, because it’s very difficult to change or tamper with. Bühler and Microsoft are working on a solution using such technology that will increase food safety and transparency across the food value chain. Satya Nadella said that Bühler is transforming its business with AI, and the broader industry with blockchain.

 

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