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Latest Buhler semolina mill in Italy.

In order to increase in-house output of semolina, Barilla - Italy's largest pasta producer - decided to construct a new semolina mill in co-operation with Buhler Ltd of Uzwil, Switzerland. Work on the project started in 1987 and Castelplanio proved to be a very suitable location for the mill, since on the one hand a grain elevator and a mill building already existed there, and on the other hand the Province of Marche is a well known durum wheat growing area. The permit for building the plant was granted on condition the existing structural fabric of the buildings with their interesting architecture was preserved.

The concept of the plant was established together with a specialist team from Barilla. Emphasis was placed on sanitation, economy and finished product quality - goals that were to be attained by applying state-of-the-art technology.

The grain silo was left in its existing state as a functional unit. The existing mechanical equipment was merely complemented by an electronic Granex MWBS receiving scale. Machinery for the cleaning section and for the mill was to be housed in the existing mill structure and the finished product storage section was to be newly built.

Efficient mixing concept

Each wheat variety is cleaned separately and then delivered to the blending bins. Only wheat with a very low moisture content needs predamping to attain the required initial moisture level.

In view of the fact that a semolina mill cannot do without an efficient cleaning system, a modern cleaning concept was established. An MTRA separator removes coarse and fine impurities from the wheat. The subsequent MVSO air-recycling aspirator draws off low density particles and shrivelled kernels. Thanks to the enclosed air-recycling design of this machine, an good degree of separation is achieved. The central machine in the cleaning section is the MTCD Combinator. In addition to removing stones, it classifies the wheat into heavy and mixed fractions. These two undergo separate further processing in accordance with the impurities they still contain. The following cleaning equipment is then used: indented-surface separator, MTLC gravity separator, MJZD impact machine and MHXF scourer with MVSO air-recycling Aspirator.

With the aid of electronic Transflowtron MWBF flowmeters, the wheat mix is gravimetrically blended underneath the blending bins, and its moisture is adjusted, by an automatic Aquatron MYFA moisture controller, to a consistent desired value ahead of the first tempering stage.

Before the wheat is fed to the second tempering stage, an electronic MOZD metering unit adds an additional quantity of water. Tempering times and the corresponding desired moisture contents are monitored and controlled by a computer. The wheat, now cleaned and optimally conditioned, is next fed to the first break rolls.

State-of-the-art 300 ton per 24hr mill

In order to meet the customer's requirements, innovative approaches were taken in designing the mill flowsheet and selecting the technology to be applied.

The main machines in the mill are the Airtronic MDDK roller mill, the Puromat MQRF purifier and the Quadrostar MPAG sifter. The floor arrangement defined by the existing building allowed the purifiers to be installed on two levels. In order to guarantee the particle size distribution requirements for pasta production are met, the semolina is graded according to size in special reduction passages. The end-product semolina, flour, low grade flour and bran are pneumatically conveyed to the storage bins.

New finished products storage and handling section

This whole section was newly constructed. The block of bins - a steel structure - comprises ingredient and bulk load-out bins. Semolinas are blended on the basis of the analytical results obtained from the laboratory. The ingredients are weighed batch by batch and mixed in a DFMF mixer. From the mixer, all finished products are conveyed to the load-out bins, from where they are shipped in bulk.

Bran is pelleted by a Kubex DPBA pellet mill that is fully automatically controlled and monitored by a DFCP unit.

Mature production control system

The production system is equipped with two programmable logic controllers from Texas Instruments, interlinked by a 'peer link'. The master system consists of two IBM-PS/2 Personal Computers, that are additionally used for colour graphic functions. The PCs, too, are linked, allowing their duplicate functions to be assumed by one PC in the event of a failure by the other unit. Operating terminals and the printers are housed in a central control room. All operations can be seen on the visual display units. Operating parameters, such as the desired moisture content of the grain, the tempering times, the grain mixes or bin changes, can be programmed in advance. In the event of operating trouble, an alarm is triggered and the malfunction is displayed on the screen. Operating sequences and malfunctions are logged by the connected printers. Furthermore, production statistics and yields are determined by the computers. This data can be called up whenever required, or it can be automatically printed out at preprogrammed time intervals. At the end of each production lot, the production data is logged along with the technical and commercial yields. Production data, such as input and output of materials, yield and power consumption, are additionally recorded in graphical from.
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Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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