Food extrusion, the technique of shaping and cooking raw materials by pressing them through a die, has been revolutionary in the food industry. This method has facilitated the production of snacks, cereals, pasta, and pet foods. The industry cherishes the process for multiple benefits like enhanced product texture and flavor, elongated shelf life, energy savings, improved nutrition, and fostering product innovation.
Buhler, a leading supplier of food extrusion technology, provides comprehensive solutions for handling raw materials and final packaging. Their legacy of innovation extends back to 1892, demonstrating their commitment to creating a better world through advanced technology. This article explores how Buhler became the food extruder industry titan, setting the bar high for competitors and revolutionizing how we process food.
Key Pillars of Buhler’s Success:
1. Cutting-edge Extrusion Technology
A . Extruders
Buhler’s extruders, integral in gear manufacturing, are machines that meticulously shape and cook materials by directing them through specific dies or molds. Whether single-screw or twin-screw, Buhler’s extruders are adept at handling an array of materials, including starches, proteins, fats, and fibers. Their notable attributes compared to other extruders are:
Performance: Buhler’s extruders can achieve high output rates, high torque levels, high pressure levels, and high-temperature levels.
- Efficiency: Can reduce energy consumption, water consumption, and waste generation.
- Flexibility: Process different materials and formulations with minimal changeover time.
- Reliability: Can operate continuously and reliably with minimal maintenance and downtime.
B. Die Heads
Buhler’s die heads shape the material into the desired product form. Buhler offers various types of die heads for different product shapes and sizes, such as round, oval, star, etc. Buhler’s die heads have several advantages over conventional die heads, such as:
- Quality: It can produce uniform and consistent products with optimal texture and appearance.
- Efficiency: Reduce material losses and optimize product weight.
- Flexibility: Produces different product shapes and sizes with easy adjustment and exchange.
- Durability: Can withstand high pressure and temperature levels with minimal wear and tear.
C. Downstream Equipment
Upon exiting the die head, Buhler’s downstream equipment takes over, showcasing their prowess in gear manufacturing and gearbox repair. Designed for a multitude of tasks, including cutting, cooling, drying, and coating, their suite of equipment stands out for:
- Quality: Can ensure the quality and safety of the product throughout the process.
- Efficiency: Optimize the process parameters and reduce the time.
- Flexibility: Adapt to different product requirements and specifications.
- Automation: Operates automatically and intelligently with minimal human intervention.
2. Proven Track Record with Global Brands
Buhler has many satisfied customers who use its extrusion systems to produce high-quality food products. Some examples of successful customers are:
Nestlé Purina PetCare is a global leader in pet food production. It uses Buhler’s twin-screw extruders to produce pet food products like dry kibble, wet chunks, and treats. It also appreciates Buhler’s extruders for their high performance, efficiency, flexibility, and reliability.
Clextral is a French company that specializes in twin-screw extrusion technology. It uses Buhler’s twin-screw extruders to produce various food ingredients, such as modified starches, textured proteins, and functional fibers. It also values Buhler’s extruders for their high quality, high versatility, high innovation, and high service.
3. Continued Investment in R&D
Buhler invests in product development and research to meet the changing needs and demands of the food industry. It has a team of experts and scientists who work on developing new products and processes using its extrusion systems. It also collaborates with various partners and institutions, such as universities, research centers, industry associations, etc., to exchange knowledge and expertise in extrusion technology.
Key Features and Innovations
- Physical Foaming – Physical foaming creates air bubbles in the material during extrusion. It can also reduce the density and weight of the product, as well as improve its texture and appearance. Buhler has developed a physical foaming technology that can produce foam-core products with reduced raw material and energy consumption.
- Smart Extrusion Lines – Smart extrusion lines have sensors, actuators, and communication devices to monitor and control the process parameters and product quality. It can optimize process efficiency and product consistency, reducing errors and waste generation. Buhler has developed smart extrusion lines that can operate autonomously and intelligently with minimal human supervision.
- High-Torque Extruders – High-torque extruders can achieve high torque levels at low screw speeds. It can also process materials with high viscosity and low thermal stability, such as engineering plastics, bioplastics, thermoplastic elastomers, etc. Buhler has developed high-torque extruders with high output rates, mixing quality, and flexibility.
Collaborations with Industry Giants
- Calbee – Calbee is a Japanese company that produces snacks and cereals. It uses Buhler’s twin-screw extruders to produce various types of snacks, such as potato chips, corn puffs, rice crackers, etc. Using its physical foaming technology, Buhler has helped Calbee develop new snack products with different shapes, flavors, and textures.
- DSM – DSM is a Dutch company that produces food ingredients and supplements. It uses Buhler’s twin-screw extruders to produce various types of food ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, probiotics, etc. Using smart extrusion lines, Buhler has helped DSM develop new food ingredients with enhanced nutritional value and functionality.
- BASF – BASF is a German company that produces chemicals and plastics. It uses Buhler’s twin-screw extruders to produce various types of plastics, such as polyamides, polyesters, polyurethanes, etc. Buhler has helped BASF develop new plastics with improved properties and performance using its high-torque extruders.
4. Unparalleled Global Footprint
Buhler’s influence spans over 140 countries, with manufacturing plants in key locations like Switzerland, Germany, and China.
Their global service centers ensure quick response times for maintenance and repairs. Moreover, their application centers across continents facilitate product development, testing, and consultancy.
Buhler, renowned not just in the food extruder domain but also in gear manufacturing and gearbox repair, represents the epitome of pioneering solutions, rigorous research expertise, and a sprawling global footprint. Their comprehensive services cater to diverse clients, from emerging startups to established global behemoths. This broad clientele is a testament to Buhler’s unwavering dedication to quality, excellence, and innovative solutions in food extrusion and the intricate world of gear manufacturing and gearbox repair.