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Bühler is the specialist and technology partner for plant, equipment and services for processing foods and for manufacturing advanced materials.
Did you know that 65 percent of the chocolate and 40 percent of the pasta manufactured globally is done so with the machines of the Swiss company Bühler Group? Bühler is a specialist and global technology partner for plant, equipment and services for processing foods and manufacturing advanced materials. The organization holds leading market positions worldwide in the fields of technology, such as processes for transforming grain into flour and animal feeds, producing pasta and chocolate, and manufacturing die-cast components. Bühler’s core technologies are in the areas of mechanical and thermal process engineering. With its expertise and over 150 years of experience, Bühler enables its customers to succeed by consistently rolling out unique and innovative solutions. Over the years, Bühler has acquired a reputation as a reliable partner, thanks to its global presence and commitment to customer value.
Bühler operates in over 140 countries, and has a global payroll of over 10,000 employees.
To increase its operational efficiency, Bühler uses product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions from Siemens Digital Industries Software: NX™ software, and the Plant Simulation solution in the Tecnomatix® portfolio.
As part of its grain handling products, Bühler delivers ship unloading solutions to its customers. The unloading process for a ship requires many hours, and every hour the ship is in the port is very expensive. As a result, there is a high motivation to unload the ship as safely and quickly as possible.
During the unloading process, the ship’s center of gravity shifts and the ship tilts. Any tilt above the allowed tilting angle during unloading might break up the ship. Therefore, the sequence of unloading the different compartments of a ship is very important. Moreover, there is a need to balance the unloading of neighboring compartments.
When a company is interested in acquiring a new ship unloading solution or modifying an existing system, it must consider the number and type of unloaders that will be needed. Naturally, there is a compromise between the number of unloaders, the type and the unloading time. This compromise can be optimized by analyzing different scenarios.
Bühler field engineers and sales representatives had challenged the Bühler Corporate Technology department with finding a solution that would help prospects resolve this complex decision. Such a solution should enable a customer to easily define an unloading scenario for a specific ship, simulate different scenarios and compare them.
“We analyzed several potential solutions and realized that an event simulation tool would be the most suitable for this task,” says Dr. Mukul Agarwal, expert for Intelligent Process Operation, Corporate Technology at Bühler. “Since we were already using Plant Simulation, we decided to use it for the ship unloading scenarios analysis. So we created a simulation model and embedded in it an unloading algorithm that we developed. We are very pleased with our usage of Plant Simulation, as it allows us to easily test different scenarios with little effort, and embed it in the simulation of our own algorithms.”
Bühler delivers a complete mixing solution, including process definition, plant engineering, process automation, manufacturing, installation and startup, as well as customer service. An example of a mixing application would be the blending done by flour mills, which mix different types of flour and sometimes add additional ingredients.
In its drive to increase its competiveness and the completeness of the solution it delivers to its mixing production equipment customers, Bühler decided to check the feasibility of also offering a software tool which would enable it to test different production scenarios. Therefore, it created a model using Plant Simulation that is easy to use and identifies the recommended production sequence.
Buhler conducted several pilots to validate the benefit of this simulation model. “We analyzed the performance of an existing line, and compared the production sequence that was used with an optimized production sequence suggested by the analysis done with Plant Simulation,” notes Dr. Agarwal. “When implementing the suggested sequence identified using Plant Simulation, we found there was a significant reduction in the overall production time and the number of delayed order deliveries was minimized. When quantifying the expected improvements into an economical benefit, we found an impressive cost reduction benefit as well.”
“Offering a Plant Simulation model and methodology as a means to optimize the operation of the equipment our customers are buying from us is an important step in increasing our competiveness and the completeness of our solution,” says KlausJochen Lisner, head of Intelligent Process Control, Corporate Technology at Bühler. “It directly supports our slogan, ‘Engineering Customer Success’.”