Swiss technology group Bühler and Ardent Mills, a flour milling and ingredient company headquartered in Denver, Colo., celebrated the opening of Ardent Mills’ new Port Redwing Mill in Gibsonton, Fla., this past week. The mill, powered by technologies from Bühler, is already in operation and contributes to both companies’ commitments to innovation and sustainable development within the food ecosystem.
The opening ceremony took place Friday, March 25, 2022, at the Ardent Mills Port Redwing facility in Gibsonton, Fla. From Ardent Mills, Dan Dye, CEO, Heather Dumas, Chief People Officer, John Barton, Chief Financial Officer, Angie Miller, Vice President of Sales, Troy Anderson, Vice President of Operations, and others were on site to celebrate how Ardent Mills and Bühler are transforming how the world is nourished. From Bühler, Stefan Scheiber, Bühler Group CEO, Johannes Wick, CEO of Grains & Food at Bühler, and Andy Sharpe, President & CEO of Bühler North America were in attendance.
Stefan Scheiber, Bühler Group CEO says, “The Port Redwing Mill is another highlight in Bühler’s great relationship with Ardent Mills. It is encouraging to work together with an inspiring customer, driving innovation through collaboration and implementing the most modern and efficient solutions in wheat processing in the U.S. This is an important milestone for Bühler, and another great example of innovations for a better world.”
“Port Redwing is a testament to Ardent Mills’ commitment to transform how the world is nourished and drive innovation—and we couldn’t have done that without Bühler,” says Dan Dye, CEO of Ardent Mills. “Bühler were exceptional partners at every step of the process, and their partnership allowed us to integrate in the insights and technologies we needed to build this new state-of-the-art facility. With the Port Redwing Mill, we are entering a new era in the milling industry.”
Ardent Mills is one of Bühler’s long-standing customers in North America and the partnership dates back several decades. With roots dating back to 1867 and a steam-powered mill in the prairie town of Grand Island, Neb., Ardent Mills, the joint venture between Cargill and Horizon Milling, is one of the largest flour suppliers in North America. It operates in more than 40 locations and specializes in flour, quinoa, pulses, and organic and gluten-free products that drive emerging nutrition and innovation across plant-based ingredients.
Innovation to address customer needs
The construction on the Port Redwing facility began in 2019 and was completed in March 2022. The milling project is comprised of two milling units (with the ability to produce 750 tons per day and 300 tons per day, respectively), and Ardent Mills has kept the growth of the market in mind, adding space for a third mill in the future. The Port Redwing mill produces all-purpose, whole-wheat, high-gluten, cake and bread flour. Bühler supplied the cleaning section, the flour mill, the finished product storage, the batch mixing system, engineering, installation, supervision and plant commissioning.
Bühler’s Arrius integrated system is a key component of Port Redwing Mill and enables an integrated and self-adjusting grinding system that is a radical step change in how millers are able to control the quality and consistency of their product. In addition to optimum grinding performance, benefits include cutting energy costs, increasing staff safety, speedy installation, remote digital control, improved food safety and reducing the initial outlay needed for plant investment.
“The ability to deliver safe, consistent products to our customers—day in and day out—serves as our greatest competitive advantage,” says Steve Neely, Port Redwing plant manager. “We’re grateful for Bühler’s partnership—together, we’ve built a state-of-the-art facility that realizes our vision to be the trusted partner and meet our customers’ evolving needs.”
The facility sits on 10 acres and is strategically located for rail, ocean and truck access. It encompasses a mill, grain storage elevator and cleaning house in addition to an office and multiple packaging, warehouse, and storage locations. The mill will also execute a 5-year, paperless, zero-waste and energy efficient production plan.
“This mill was built and commissioned in the past two years, in the heat of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is testament to the partnership between Ardent Mills and Bühler, which has strengthened over the life of this project. I am incredibly proud of the work done by our North American team and our Global Supply Chain team. They came through despite the challenges presented in this time. This is the very embodiment of Bühler’s values and culture,” Andy Sharpe, president and CEO of Bühler North America says.
“With the opening of the Tampa state-of-the-art mill, a personal dream has become a reality. Having been involved from day one, we tried to develop an industry-changing concept with the lowest possible energy consumption while achieving highest yields so that this is a world leading mill also in terms of its CO2e (CO2 equivalent) footprint,” says Johannes Wick, CEO of Grains & Food at Bühler.
Solutions for optimal efficiency
The layout of the mill was designed for optimal performance with easy equipment accessibility for maintenance. Real-time data analysis and automation includes industry-first near-infrared grain analysis and automatic, high-speed packaging lines. The rapid line intervention and issue management allows the production line to be stopped, assessed and, if needed, corrected with minimal downtime. The mill also increased on-site storage capacity of up to 4.1 million bushels, critical in managing sudden supply chain shifts or in case of a natural disaster.