Success story of Bühler technology

Molinos El Yopal - Casanare Rice

30 years ago, Bühler arrived in the Colombian countryside with solutions for processing food, making its value chain complete in businesses generated in the agricultural sector of the Orinoquía region.

Casanare — essentially a vast territory of plains, where the most beautiful sunrises draw the attention of locals and foreigners — is an ideal destination for adventure tourism, with landscapes that mix plains, rivers and mountains rich in biodiversity. However, it is also fertile land for agro-industrial production with livestock and agriculture, items that drive great part of its economy.

Thus, at Yopal Casanare, the Swiss multinational Bühler, which arrived in Colombia thirty years ago, designed and built the first automated rice plant in Latin America in order to contribute to the growth and development of the most important food industries in the country.  Molinos El Yopal — which runs one of the first automated plants in the production of different food chains, such as flour, beer, pasta and large-scale rice production — has gone through a complete technological, economic and even social transformation.


First automated rice plant


The main objective of the synergy was to develop and install an industrial rice processing plant with the highest quality standards and state-of-the-art technology, processing dry paddy rice as the main product, with yields of approximately 80% of white mass and production of raw white rice for human consumption.

This plant features cutting-edge technology mechanical and electrical equipment, controlled with the latest version of the Mercury MES automation system designed by Bühler for process control and monitoring of the production line.  Mercury MES is a web server development, and its benefits include the customers’ remote access from anywhere in the world.

With installations built with modern and customized designs, this Molinos El Yopal plant is driven by the best practices in the industry to deliver high quality products for maximum customer satisfaction. Among the technical aspects developed are: 


  • Plant design and modulation
  • Automation of production processes
  • Optical product sorter
  • Efficiency in energy consumption
  • Controlled noise levels inside and outside the plant
  • Environmental pollution control for the development of process control
  • Development of an automation system that allows viewing the entire factory in real time, including machines, processes, and electronic, pneumatic and mechanical systems.


This first automated rice plant was designed with Bühler quality that follows the highest European international manufacturing standards, which reflects its expertise of more than 160 years in the market making industrial machinery worldwide for food companies.

The best decision

The arrival of this type of technology at the Molinos El Yopal manufacturing plant was a milestone in the region's agro-industrial production, which required a process of selection and evaluation of several proposals. However, having credibility and reputation in other parts of the world is enough to safely take the big step towards producing quality rice.

"The moment the company decided to invest in a new factory, we started reviewing all the options in the milling sector, and after a thorough investigation, we chose Bühler, because they offered us not only the mechanical part, but also the automation part", said Teidy Rodríguez, Head of production at Molinos El Yopal.


We decided to work with Bühler, a well-known Swiss company, and I trust in the automation they conceived for rice plants; that's why we decided that they would be monitoring the whole process, from design to startup

Rosa Margarita Serrano, General Manager, Molinos El Yopal

Rosa Margarita Serrano, General Manager, Molinos El Yopal. Rosa Margarita Serrano, General Manager, Molinos El Yopal. Rosa Margarita Serrano, General Manager, Molinos El Yopal.

Timeline of Bühler solutions

A commercial relationship begins to be consolidated with technical support. With investment in TopHusk DRHC and Sortex Electronica Z rubber cylinder huller and some dispensers, allowing the customer to know the technology and the capacity guaranteed by Bühler.
Molinos El Yopal begins the project for a new plant in the region with the clear vision of being different from all other mills in design, capacity and production, choosing Bühler as an ally to carry it out.
The start-up of the new plant acquired with the best and newest Bühler technology is completed, allowing its processes to be increasingly efficient accompanied by technical advice from Bühler.

A big leap in technology and innovation

Molinos El Yopal decided to create the first rice plant 70 years ago, pioneering production under the Arroz Casanare brand. At the beginning of the 90s, the first factory started trading the product in sacks, selling and distributing in Corabastos; then it ventured into the packaged rice sector reaching supermarkets in Boyacá, Casanare and Bogotá. Today, Bühler's technology has led to the empowerment of the region's rice industry and the brand's growth across the country, all thanks to the automation of its processes.

"In Molinos El Yopal, we are proud to go from something mechanical to something automated; we qualify ourselves, guaranteeing a product that reaches consumers with this quality stamp, and this has been paramount", emphasized Molinos El Yopal’s General Manager.

Its new processes allowed the optimization, expansion and better integration of those who make use of what is today a big mill, a big factory. According to Bühler’s Sales Manager, Enrique Niño, "producers can view their mill and see the operation at home, having control of the plant from anywhere".

When a state like Casanare, where the largest number of rice mills is located, somehow makes it the  staple food supplier for the Colombian families, the growth of this industry in the region speaks for itself, as says  Juan Bernardo Serrano, farmer in the Department of Casanare: "Colombia is a country with a deficit in rice production, and Casanare has an agro-industry and agribusiness that is growing consolidating itself as a national and Latin American leader in this production".

In light of the above, the experience and reputation of Bühler becomes the best partner for regional economic development, as "Bühler's 160 years of experience have always been at the forefront of the production process technology that is implemented today in Casanare rice", said Luis Felipe Machado, Bühler’s Automation Sales Manager.


Success history, hand in hand with the producers in the region

The company gave Casanare the first automated plant for rice processing, the first in Latin America for regional and national pride, achieving an improvement in the quality of its star product, with a notable increase in its production that allows it to reach new markets—this is clearly a success story.

"I describe this success story with great pride, mainly because we are the first to make this advance in the rice sector. It is important for the region and for the country to see that there are companies that, even with the circumstances, believe in development and innovation, and our goal is technology", said Rosa Margarita Serrano.

Likewise, Bühler, aware of its relationship with the communities, has designed not only an exclusive plant to fulfill Molinos El Yopal’s needs, but also facilities with easy access to the public. Therefore, students from colleges and universities, as well as residents of the region and the country, can visit it with all biosafety protocols, guaranteeing the protection of its visitors and the quality and healthiness of the product, Arroz Casanare.

The success of the Molinos El Yopal has also leveraged the development of communities in its area of influence, being a milestone in competitive aspects of the rice production sector, and at the same time, taking into account its livestock vocation.

"The arrival of such a mill in the area means that there is a favorable concentration in production so that there are many more alternatives. We come from a livestock and subsistence production area, but when there is a mill that acquires the product, that motivates the region to make it an alternative life project for hundreds of families, who need a nearby mill to advise them and buy their crops at a good price", said Juan Bernardo Serrano.

In times when technology was believed to be a distant concept, today it regains the certainty that it is the best ally in the sustainability of civilizations and that, in the specific case of rice production in Casanare, it demonstrates with facts and figures that there is an increase in production that satisfies the national demand, generating jobs and growth in the agricultural sector and making the economy of a region like the llanera—a wonderful place in Colombia with its colorful landscapes and music—have a promising and hopeful future.


Teidy Rodríguez and Luis Felipe Fronza at Molinos El Yopal. Teidy Rodríguez and Luis Felipe Fronza at Molinos El Yopal. Teidy Rodríguez and Luis Felipe Fronza at Molinos El Yopal.

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