April 4, 2016


Bühler: What it means to be one step ahead



Bühler is more known as a company in the food grains sector. What is it doing to make itself known in the feed and grains processing industries? Is Bühler into feed processing operation or is it just a manufacturer of feed mills and technologies provider? eFeedLink finds out more.

Bühler: Bühler is a global technology leader in the food and grains processing industry and we clearly aim to be a complete system solution provider, which is one of the most prominent differentiators in comparison to our competitors who are mostly mere machine manufacturers. Bühler started 153 year ago in grain processing. Today Bühler's business covers a wide range of business areas along the food and feed supply chain starting from grain logistics to finished human foods and animal feed.


eFeedLink: How is Bühler making a mark in the animal feed and grain processing industries?


Bühler's business focus is not limited to machines. We rather develop complete processing solutions for our customers with added value in nutrition, food and feed safety, energy efficiency as well as by-product utilisation and processing. 


What is the meaning behind Bühler's motto "One step ahead in processing grains to feed"?


Actually, Bühler's motto is "Innovations for a better world". With this belief we invest a significant amount of our revenues into R&D every year, well above the normal R&D budget level for machinery industries.  In addition to the central R&D in Switzerland, we have also built R&D centres in China and India, as well as other countries. Our research covers a broad range, including application-oriented projects collaborating with our customers and also fundamental research programs associated with some well-known universities. Being able to provide cutting-edge technologies to our customers in the food and feed processing industries: that is what we mean by "One step ahead".


What is Bühler concerned about in the feed industry?


With the increasing demand for meat - especially in the developing countries - and the urgent global environmental threats, Bühler not only shares the concerns but we take actions in helping solving the global challenges. We invest heavily into inventing new processes that can utilise broad range of raw materials for animal feed, create measurements that ensure feed safety and maximised animal nutrition values, and increase energy efficiency in the animal feed production.


Any new trends in the feed sector?


There are always new things in the market, to name a few:

increasing demand for meat especially in the developing countries

rising awareness of feed safety concerns and strengthening regulations

new technology to improve energy efficiencies in feed/food processing

increasing demand for higher level of automation to reduce labour cost
Where in the world is the feed sector growing fast and/or thriving? Where does Bühler operate?
The developing countries are demanding more meat, so those are where the feed market is growing fastest. These include countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, etc. Bühler is strategically well presented in these regions, which will help us to serve these markets:  To be "in the region for the region" is one of our strongest winning strategies.

What is the outlook for the feed industry?


The feed industry in developing countries is clearly fast-growing. In the developed regions of the world, such as Europe and North America, the feed consumption will basically stay flat. But regardless which world region we are talking about, the feed industry is in demand for safer processes, high nutrition values and lower energy consumptions - everywhere. This is where Bühler process know-how comes in.

Any innovative products that Bühler has come up with?

Bühler is constantly developing new products. Just take look of our recently launched products in the market, e.g. the Kubex T pellet mill (energy savings of up to 20%), HYMIX Plus (reduction of pellet line start-up time and higher feed safety standards), the NIR online measurement and regulation system (with a customer ROI of less than one year) or the recently launched COOLEXTM pellet cooler, which has less than half of moisture fluctuations as compared to conventional coolers - a key profit driver for feed millers. In all our developments we closely work together with pilot customers and key opinion leaders of the feed industry to reflect the latest market trends and create solutions which enable our customers to master their business challenges.

How has the aqua-feed sector grown through the years?

The aqua-feed sector within Bühler has grown strongly in the last years and we had over-average increases in this segment. With forming an aqua-feed dedicated team and market segment, we were able to increase the number of projects and market share. With the addition of Minbo, a Chinese supplier of single shaft extruders and aqua-feed process equipment, and integration into the Bühler family, we have built up our strength in this field especially in China. We have a complete process and machine portfolio for the aqua-feed industry in the meantime. We are constantly adding new products such as a new line of single shaft extruders for the Asian market. Two main manufacturing hubs for equipment and engineering teams in Switzerland and China support the growth of this segment and we are able to fulfill a multitude of different customer demands. In Europe we were able to deliver large-capacity twin shaft extruders and dryers into the first salmon feed plant from Marine Harvest with a capacity of up to 300,000 tonnes per year. Marine Harvest as the biggest salmon farmer in the world has started to manufacture their own feeds and relies on Bühler Extrusion Systems to manufacture durable and high-performance feeds.


More aquaculture companies and facilities are seeking to improve various aspects of production (food safety, animal welfare, reducing environmental impact, etc.) by working towards a Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification. Is Bühler involved in this or any other similar programmes? If so, how is Bühler helping to ensure that aquaculture productions are conducted in accordance with uncompromised standards?


Feed or food safety is an important factor in most fields Bühler is working in. Bühler has clear food and feed safety strategy and we are supporting our customers in their tasks. This is not just by educating our people but also with the developments of new product portfolios and equipment, building knowledge and credibility, as well as partnerships for innovation. We have defined kill steps in aqua-feed plants and are working actively on new solutions for hazard removal in the complete food or feed chain. This corresponds to biological hazards like pathogenic bacteria or moulds as well as removal of mycotoxin or undesirable feed additives and cross contamination. For aqua-feed plants we have solutions in conditioning of the raw materials that fit to modern requirements and regulations. In addition, we produce modern handling systems for starting products under safe conditions and simple cleaning possibilities. Nevertheless, we have to look into qualification and validation of process lines, an important task and challenge for our Bühler food safety officer.


How is Bühler coping with the challenges arising from falling commodity prices worldwide due to China's excess agricultural stocks?

Currency and commodity price fluctuation is a part of the norm for business.  Bühler's broad business areas, well-established global set-up and solid financial background are just a few of the many things that help us overcome market uncertainties and benefit from opportunities because we are well prepared.

What future does Bühler sees for itself as a company involved in animal feeds and related sectors?

The world needs more meat, that is a fact. In the developing countries animal-feed industries are still poorly developed and there are huge markets to explore. Even in the developed countries due to the low capital investment levels in the recent years there are needs for upgrading. Bühler is optimistic and we are committed to provide our customers with best technologies and service to grow their business. 

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