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Fully automated rice mill at Westmill Foods Ltd.

Buhler was recently awarded a contract by Westmill Foods Ltd of Selby to install a 5-ton-an-hour rice mill in a recently decommissioned flour mill with existing silo facilities. With the commissioning of this plant, rice milling has reached new levels of automation, sanitation and product quality

Westmill Foods is a division of the Cereal Industries Group. The company was already well represented in the rice market in the UK with its Tolly brand when it decided to process its own rice. Following the normal practice of the Cereal Industries Group, the highest standards were to be set. Buhler developed the project in close co-operation with the management team at Westmill and was entrusted with the order, that included electrical control, erection and commissioning. The plane, installed on five floors, utilizes the structure of the existing building, and the interior was renovated for this purpose. Intake

Cargo rice is delivered in coasters to the mill, pneumatically discharged and transferred into the silo block. The raw material passes to a number of silos to separate the different qualities of rice. Recirculation is also possible. MZAF flow balancers under these bins control the flow of rice to the mill.


The mill has a cleaning section with a DFRA drum magnet for removing ferrous metal particles. An MTRA classifier removes coarse and fine impurities. The MVSE aspiration channel lifts dust and fine impurities from the cargo rice. In the fluidized bed of the MTSC destoner, stones are removed. The cleaning section also removes any paddy present in the cargo rice; it is processed in DSRH Polistar polisher. After hulling, the rice is returned to the milling section. Whitening

This plant has been designed for the milling of both parboiled and non parboiled rices. Therefore, the whitening lines are designed with a high degree of flexibility. For parboiled rice, the DSRL Polistar polisher is provided as a first pass. After this, a series of passes through DSRD Blancostar vertical whiteners is provided; the last of these units is equipped with a Heso colour controller. For final polishing, a DSRL Poll star unit has been installed. For non parboiled rice, the first polisher is bypassed and up to three passes of whitening may be selected before final polishing. As an option, a Highpoly wet polisher is provided; this consists of a flow race detector, a water roarer and a polisher. The required quantity of water is calculated by a controller linked to the flow detector. Water is sprayed under high pressure into the water coater immediately prior to the polisher. This system gives the rice a glossy appearance. After whitening, the rice is colour sorted and graded. A classifier removes brand balls before colour sorting. An MPAQ plansifter removes fine brokens and the majority of head rice. Final grading is carried out by Trieur indented cylinders, which sort the brokens into the required grades. The finished rice bins are equipped with flow balancers for blending to the desired quality. Finished product is taken through a final sifting stage to eliminate bran balls and metal, prior to packing. Product is packed on an automatic palletizing system, and completed pallets are stretchwrapped for shipment. All spouting is of stainless steel, and the machines are installed with the highest standard of hygiene and ease of cleaning in mind.

Electrical system

This fully automated plant is run by a central programmable controller (PLC). The process is visualized on a monitor and controlled by a keyboard only. Whiteness is controlled on-line by the Heso colour controller and constantly reported to the PLC. All material flows are recorded on the electronic Tubex weighing systems. This information is gathered in the PLC for instantaneous yield reports and printed management reports. The silo contents can be viewed at any time, and the sequence of bins to be processed can be preselected.

The appropriate sequence of machines can be selected, stored and automatically called up for each type of rice. All floors are video-monitored.


The high degree of automation allows the plant to operate around the clock with a minimum of supervision. The controller issues alarms in case or irregularities in the process. The miller supervises the whole operation and also carries out quality checks. Additional personnel are called in only for the regular cleaning of machines and buildings.

Westmill Foods Ltd are accredited to the BS 5750 Part2/ISO 9002 standard for their quality system. Individual batches of rice are traceable throughout the site to individual shipments and the country of origin. The construction of this rice milling plant, the world's most modern, sets new standards for rice milling worldwide and ensures that customers supplied by Westmill are guaranteed the highest quality standards.
COPYRIGHT 1994 Food Trade Press Ltd.
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Copyright 1994 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Jan 1, 1994
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