Processing and plant equipment provider Buhler has recently completed the construction of its first commercial-scale cargo mill,specialising in the processing of basmati rice for the Swedish company Qibbla Halal Kött.
According to the company, heavy investment in processing technologies and testing equipment has meant that the end products are of highquality.
For some time, Qibbla Halal Kött had engaged inthe trading of basmati rice in addition to its traditional activity oftradinghalal meat from animals slaughtered according to Islamic rites.
It was the company's trade in halal meats which made the move into basmati rice a natural progress. However, when the project started it soon became clear that the rice processing system could notbe built in Sweden, but had to be located at a central site within the EU.
The location finally chosen was the free port of Hamburg, where the company took a long-term lease on a former warehouse.
Now it was up to Buhler engineers to build the rice processing system. Within just six months, they constructed a state-of-the-art line especially tailored to the requirements of basmati rice processing with aninput capacity of five metric tons per hour. And the entire processing system wassupplied by Buhler.
The architecture posed a particular challenge to the system designers.Especially the low headroom of the building which restricted the availableoptions. The goal was to change as little of the existing buildingstructure as possible to keep costs low. The hall consists of threesectors, which provided a clear structure for raw materials receiving andstorage, processing with packaging, and finished products storage withshipping. With the configuration selected, most of the processingmachinery was installed on a steel platform.
The ground floor, on theotherhand, is essentially reserved for the handling of auxiliary products,theinlets of elevator legs, and packaging. This eliminated the need for anyearth-moving work, which would have been all but impossible in the portarea, anyway.
Rice processing starts with cleaning by separator, destoner, and magnet.The cleaned brown rice from India or Pakistan is whitened in two passesand then polished twice with the addition of water. If required,individual or all whiteners and/or polishers can be bypassed in order tomake products with a lower whitening degree or even perfectly processednatural rice. A colour sorter then frees the white rice from discolouredkernels and any paddy which may still be present. The fractions producedby subsequent sorting according to length are placed in intermediatestorage in blending bins.
Before packaging, the fractions areproportioned, discharged, and mixed according to the relevant endproductspecification. This blend is held in a bin ahead of the packagingequipment. The entire system is controlled from a centralised point, andoperators monitor the production process through a PC-basedvisualizationsystem.
According to Buhler, the straightforward design of the processing system and the absence ofbuffer bins allows flexible operation and a clear separation between thevarious sections. All this has enabled Euro Basmati to process both its own riceas well as product lots from outside companies as a contract miller.
Buhler is a global Technology Group and System Partner for plant andequipment and for process expertise in the fields of Food Processing,Chemical Engineering, and Die Casting, with a worldwide payroll of about 6,500.