Bühler’s Arrius integrated milling system designed for key productivity gains

Swiss-based industry equipment and systems business Bühler has unveiled a major development in grinding technology with the release of its Arrius, a fully integrated technology devised for milling a range of ingredients including wheat, barley, corn, and spelt, reports Neill Barston.

As the business noted, its approach to creating the new system involved redesigning each of its core component, Bühler in order to deliver a self-adjusting grinding system that is a radical step change in how millers are able to control the quality and consistency of their product.

Among its other main benefits are cutting energy costs, increasing staff safety, speedy installation, remote digital control, improved food safety, and reducing the initial outlay needed for plant investment.

The company’s latest development comes in a significant year for the company, which launched its ChocoX moulding line for the confectionery sector this summer in an online event it hosted as Interpack was postponed until next March.

Notably, the business explained that its milling advancements come as the segment faces a number of commercial challenges with clients demanding ever-increasing consistency and higher product quality. In a highly price-sensitive and competitive market even the smallest deviation in production parameters goes straight to a miller’s bottom line. This is happening as food safety regulations tighten and millers report difficulty finding properly qualified and skilled staff.

Addressing these challenges will require ever-greater automation. Arrius is set to play a key role as the milling industry evolves towards autonomous mills capable of self-adjusting to optimise production parameters.

At the heart of the Arrius step change lie the sensors in the feeding module and the roller pack enabling greater control of the product flow and grinding process. It means Arrius is able to automatically adjust to the characteristics of the raw material. Double-sided sensors in the robust new roller pack allow millers, for the first time, to continuously measure the grinding force of the rollers. This unique feature allows the miller to control the grinding process closely and thus optimize product characteristics for their specific market.

Besides the particle size distribution, starch damage is a parameter that can be influenced as precisely as never before. With Arrius it is possible to better control the grinding process of the product and increase starch damage by up to 10% if required. Energy is a significant cost driver for millers, so Arrius has also been designed with an integrated drive and gearbox, resulting in energy cost savings of up to 10%.

Remote control and new benchmark in operational safety

Arrius’s new ease-of-use features includes a remote app that can be loaded on smartphones or tablets from which an operator can control all grinding parameters from anywhere within the mill’s network.

New food safety features include a feeding module designed for total product discharge. A streamlined design and increased aspiration in the grinding chamber also cut product deposits. The hygienic levelling feet that support the machinery are designed to improve food safety by enabling total under-machine cleaning. An electronically lockable cover and hand guard protection provides a new benchmark in operational safety to protect staff.

Thanks to the integrated drive and switch cabinet Arrius can be flexibly positioned in the mill and quickly installed. Arrius can reduce the cost of building investment as it makes a complete floor obsolete. Thanks to the integration of components and reducing the number of power and data cables from around 10 to only three, Arrius can be installed in a third of the time.

Stefan Birrer (below), Head of Business Area Milling Solutions at Bühler, said: “We have been building mills for decades and we realized that if we wanted to keep running them in the same way, then we had maxed out on most of the existing concepts. Fully leveraging the potential of digital technologies, while also transferring methods from other industries demanded a complete restart. It meant we had to embark on green field engineering. High-precision autonomous milling is not a luxury, it will become key to remaining successful in a tough market environment for millers.”

Development partner, Mike Peters, Managing Director of the UK-based flour milling company Whitworth Brothers, said: “We have a strong passion and drive for food safety, reliability, quality, and consistency. And following the development work we have done with Bühler and the tests we have run in our plants, we are very satisfied that it can deliver on these attributes.”

Franz Rhomberg, Managing Director of Vorarlberger Mühlen in Austria, has also given the new technology a massive thumbs up. “We can only be successful when we are more innovative than our competition. That’s why we have decided to completely renovate our 200-ton swing-mill with Arrius,” said Rhomberg.

Ardent Mills and Whitworth Brothers have chosen to install Arrius in their new plants after a trial period, while Vorarlberger Mühlen has been operating the system in commercial operation for over two years already.

 

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