Partnership of leaders returns to feed industry as powerful solutions

Stefan Hoh
Head of Market Segment Feed & Premix, Bühler

“Through our joint venture, we offer cost-effective, flexible, industrial packaging solutions for the feed industry, without compromising on quality.”

Bühler, one of the first brands to come to mind when it comes to food and feed technologies, joined forces with Premier Tech, a leading company in packaging technologies, in 2019. The partnership of the two leaders bore first fruit in the technology development phase in March: CHRONOS OML-1060.

Developed for bagging granular products such as pellet feed, OML-1060 is a fully automatic packaging technology that combines the most needed features and attracts attention with its high quality and affordable cost. New solutions that are continuation of this technology will also be presented to the feed industry in 2022.

We talked about the Bühler-Premier Tech partnership, its goals, the newly developed CHRONOS OML-1060, how high quality and cost efficiency come together in OML-1060 and much more with Stefan Hoh, Head of Market Segment Feed & Premix, Bühler.

Mr. Hoh, first of all, could you give some information about the content and objectives of the Bühler – Premier Tech partnership that started in 2019? What is the meaning of this partnership for the industry?
As the market leader in food and feed process technology, the Bühler Group has a strong presence in the global feed market. This combined with Premier Tech’s undisputed market leadership in high end packing lines has led to the formation of a powerful strategic partnership that leverages the strengths and solutions of each partner.

Premier Tech leads the way in fully automated packing lines, while Bühler provides vast experience in semi-automated and manual packing lines. To leverage the partnership to its maximum we founded the 50/50 joint venture in China. The joint venture therefore provides the best of both worlds for our customers, allowing us to build upon our vision of ‘innovations for a better world’.

What steps have you taken since your partnership started? What kind of innovations and solutions have you provided to the industry?
Together we have successfully developed the first product from the joint venture: the OML-1060, a fully automated packaging machine for granular products. It’s a more affordable iteration of an existing high-end solution, manufactured to the same high-quality standards. This is just the start of a new series of fully automated packaging equipment that we will be introducing to the industry. The joint venture has also allowed us to streamline our operational day-to-day business processes to serve the industry and our customers in the best way possible.
Can you give some details about your joint venture in China? At what stage is this joint venture now?
Our joint research and development as well as manufacturing center is located at the Bühler premises in Wuxi, China. It features complete integration of all Bühler machines for semi-automated and manual packing lines. Manufacturing of the first OML-1060 is already underway at the site.

What can you say about the solutions offered by your partnership for the feed industry?
Through our joint venture, we offer cost-effective, flexible, industrial packaging solutions for the feed industry, without compromising on quality. Our first innovation, the OML-1060, is for granular feed products, such as pellets and crumbles. It is a fully integrated automated feed packaging line, designed for the highest accuracy and minimal loss. The most requested features and requirements of emerging markets have all been incorporated into the design of the equipment. Further fully automatic solutions are currently in our development pipeline will focus both on granular and powder-type products, they will be launched in 2022.
You recently launched CHRONOS OML-1060, the first packaging equipment of your partnership. Can you tell us about this solution? What can you say about CHRONOS OML-1060 such as the difference from similar technologies, advantages, etc.?
The CHRONOS OML-1060 is a fully automatic open-mouth bagging system, designed for the most efficient cost of ownership and a quick return on investment. It’s flexible enough to handle a wide range of bag types, sizes, and materials – including Polywoven – as well as 20 to 50 kg bags at a capacity of up to 600 bags per hour. The mono-block design allows for a quick installation and easy transportation.

The control cabinet is already integrated in the packer, in addition to the user-friendly HMI touch screen. A broad range of options are available, such as a tag applicator, bag magazine upgrade, automatic height adjustment, amongst others. Furthermore, safety guards with switch sensors all around ensure a hazard-free operation.

All of these features add up to create a uniquely small footprint for a machine of this category.

CHRONOS OML-1060 was launched as a cost-effective solution manufactured in China. Why is this solution more cost effective than other solutions manufactured in Europe? Are the production technologies, design or features you use different from those produced in Europe?
The most important piece of information to mention about the OML-1060 is that there is no compromise on quality. It has the same design and technology utilized in Premier Tech’s existing solutions produced in Europe; the OML-1060 is simply a more affordable iteration of an existing high-end solution. Cost efficiency has been assured by means of standardization and a clear focus on the most requested features of the feed industry. Additionally, the joint venture leverages Bühler’s vast manufacturing experience and production capabilities in Asia.

Bühler is a brand that follows trends closely, and often even sets trends. Based on this feature, can you give us some clues about the future? For example, what are the trends in packaging, especially granule / pellet packaging? What do your customers expect from Bühler or what innovations will Bühler offer them in the future?
Current market requirements in terms of accuracy, traceability, minimal product loss and packaging speed are likely to remain in the future. Digitalization will be key enabler to respond to these emerging, and new customer requirements – such as production analytics and KPI benchmarking across multiple locations etc.

Rest assured, Bühler is well prepared to respond to these market needs with present and future solutions, such as Bühler Insights – one of the very first secure, high-performance cloud-based frameworks for the food and feed sectors. It’s a toolbox that provides access to all the digital services our customers need to increase the productivity of their process.

Finally, would you like to add more?
The main focus of the Premier Tech-Bühler joint venture is to provide standardized, highly cost-efficient solutions for the main applications in animal feed. For tailored solutions, we have full access to the entire portfolio of Premier Tech. We are glad to serve the feed industry as a single point of contact.