UZWIL, SWITZERLAND — Bühler released a Temperature and Vibration Management System (TVM) for milling that can detect critical operational conditions early so millers can take timely action.

The system is connected to the Bühler Insights platform and provides information on the grinding process based on proprietary algorithms.

“Our digital services in combination with our industry expertise lift efficiency to entirely new levels and help millers and plant managers to further improve their mill’s performance,” said Johannes Wick, chief executive officer of Bühler's Grains & Food division. “Until now controlling the grinding process has been very demanding and challenging. With Bühler’s Temperature and Vibration Management we know precisely what goes on in this important process.”

The new technology monitors temperature and vibrations inside the grinding rolls, the most important part of machinery in the milling process. To maintain quality and consistency it is essential to apply the same pressure along the rolls. Any deviation results in reduced quality and consistency of the flour. Up to now millers relied on trained personnel to manually check the rollers on a frequent basis and time-consuming laboratory analysis to prevent any deviation from acceptable operative parameters. With Bühler’s TVM, millers can rely on accurate measurements to adjust any imbalances in the grinding gap.

The system consists of wireless sensors placed inside the rollers that connect to the Bühler IoT sensing device. It acts as the interface to the Bühler Insights gateway, which transfers data to the Bühler Insights platform for analysis. Temperature and vibration are measured at multiple points along the entire length of the rollers showing the temperature distribution and vibration patterns. This provides millers with detailed information on temperature imbalances side to side and middle to side and detects overheating. Imbalances indicate that parameter tolerances have been breached or winding occurs on the rollers. The process can be monitored remotely via a user-friendly interface on any device.

The benefits for operators include:

  • Millers can detect critical operational conditions early and take timely action
  • The system helps provide the best product quality and consistency
  • Accurate settings result in lower energy consumption and less wastage of raw materials
  • Precise process knowledge allows for recipe optimization
  • Data transparency makes it easy to compare the efficiency of production lines and entire plants
  • The entire service can be operated remotely via computer and smartphone interfaces
  • Preventing overheating of technology parts helps improve the safety of milling plants
  • Simplifying maintenance means less reliance on scarce skilled personnel

The Willi Grüninger AG mill is a third-generation family-owned business employing 75 people. Six of the mill’s 17 passages are equipped with Temperature and Vibration Management provided by Bühler. Before the installment of the service, every roll in each passage had to be checked by trained personnel in detail, especially after recipe changeovers.

 “With TVM in place, it’s much easier to check the process and ensure that all parameters are set correctly,” said Philipp Marquart, head of Foodstuff at Willi Grüninger AG. “We now have a much deeper insight in the process. We were able to increase grinding efficiency, improve product quality and reduce energy consumption. Our staff is present at the mill for eight hours a day, but our machines keep running for another 16 hours. Whenever parameter tolerances are exceeded, personnel are alerted via the remote system and adjustments can be made from the comfort of their home.”

For staff, the digitalization and automation of the plant represents a major simplification of processes and reduces maintenance times required in comparison to conventional systems.

“With Bühler Insights I can be certain that the plant runs reliably without any malfunction, leaving me precious time to take care of my customers,” Marquart said.

The TVM service is continuously developed further to maximize impact. Future features, for example, will include more advanced recommendations up to automatic adjustments based on recipes.

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