La Suerte finalized a complete upgrade of milling equipment.
The La Suerte Ricemill Corporation has a long family history in the local rice milling industry. Eusebio Tan established the Villena Ricemill in Aurora in 1964, followed by the Green Harvest Ricemill in 1978.
The corporation has continued to invest heavily in its rice mills across the Philippines. Following its investment in 2007 in a 1-megawatt, rice husk-fired power plant, it has now embarked on constructing a 5-megawatt power plant to ensure optimum power supply for rice production efficiency.
To keep its reputation as one of the most respected rice millers in the Philippines, La Suerte decided to significantly invest in its plant in Isabela to meet the growing demands and increase its market share for its premium Ivory Grains Classic brand. The company recently upgraded its milling equipment to technology that would ensure seamless and efficient 24/7 operation.
Now, La Suerte is running exclusively on Bühler’s technology, following an installation of a 10-12 tons per hour (tph) rice whitening line, a 20 tph rice hulling line in 2013 and SORTEX optical sorting technology in 2009.
La Suerte first installed Bühler’s TopWhite rice whiteners in 2007, running them alongside existing technologies, to compare the results. The Bühler equipment delivered an improved hull clean yield—producing 2-3 percent more head rice compared to the mill’s existing whiteners.
“We started to run the machines side by side with our existing solutions and found that, when it came to head rice recovery, the TopWhite rice whitener from Bühler produced significantly higher yield, with less rice breakage,” says La Suerte Ricemill CEO and President Ricardo Tan. “When you consider that head rice commands between 30 and 35 percent more per ton, then the difference to our bottom line is considerable.”
These early successes encouraged La Suerte to turn to Bühler for optical sorting technology—enabling it to identify and separate defective and foreign items from the product stream by color, shape or other optical properties. Further installation of Bühler’s rice milling and dehulling machines enabled the mill to increase its paddy input to 20 tph.
“By using Bühler machinery, our sales have grown significantly in a short period of time, largely as a result of the superior appearance and taste of the rice that we can now produce,” Tan says.
The next stage in the mill’s development will come with Bühler’s de-stoner, for the removal of stones and other high-density impurities, such as metal and glass; a huller and separator to deliver excellent separating efficiency; grading solutions to classify rice by kernel size; and optical sorting solutions to deliver rice with a smooth, dust free and shiny surface. And as part of its investment, the mill also receives ongoing 24/7 Bühler service, with localized support.
“We are confident that, with Bühler as our partner, we can meet the increasing challenges facing the industry. We believe Bühler’s products deliver the best in leading-edge food safety innovations, and since updating most of our mill equipment with Bühler technology, we have been able to consistently deliver perfect-quality rice to our customers in the marketplace,” says Tan.
He adds that his team at the mill is impressed by the technology, and the company has already seen a return on investment.