Molino Quaglia

Where flour becomes art

Molino Quaglia has been producing wheat flour in the heart of the Veneto region in Este, northeastern Italy for more than 100 years. The family-owned and -run company exemplifies the journey of countless mills around the world; from water-powered grinding stones to high-tech production facilities. Today they embrace automation and digitalization on all levels and are harvesting the full potential of digital solutions within their mill.

The appreciation of great quality food is deeply ingrained in the lifestyle of over 60 million Italians. From business meetings to family gatherings, food plays a key role, uniting people from the deep south all the way to the Italian Alps in the north. At Molino Quaglia, the three siblings Andrea, Lucio, and Chiara Quaglia dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that millions of consumers get the main ingredient that put Italy on food menus across the globe: high-quality wheat flour. They are the third generation of their family to run Molino Quaglia and live up to the company’s motto: “Dove la farina diventa arte” – where flour becomes art.

grain’s journey grain’s journey The grain’s journey is digitalized from intake to final product.

As Lucio Quaglia walks past the old grinding stone from 1913 in Molino Quaglia’s flour training and application center and makes his way up to the modern pizza training rooms, it feels as though he is traveling through 100 years of company history.

“Our grandfather founded Molino Quaglia in 1914. There was no electricity, so the grinding stones were placed on rafts and powered by the Adige river,” says Quaglia. His grandfather, Angelo Quaglia, moved the operation to Vighizzolo d’Este in 1937, 40 kilometers south of Padova. “My father Annito then modernized the mill and turned it into an industrial-scale operation from 1947 onward. My brother, my sister, and I had the privilege of growing up with the mill,” he recalls.

Fast forward to 2024, and the mill still stands in Vighizzolo d’Este, catering to the same bakeries, restaurants, and private households as the Quaglias have for generations. Their most famous brand is called “Petra”, and just like countless Italian food traditions that conquered the world from small villages, Petra is sold globally.

A holistic approach to flour milling

“We put a strong focus on our supply chains. Whenever possible, we get our wheat from local farmers who follow strict agriculture practices, and the same applies to our international suppliers. Quality starts in the farmer’s field, and we’re very happy that they share the same values as we have,” explains Lucio Quaglia.

It’s safe to say that the family lives and breathes flour. In 2002, they renovated the old mill building across the street of the current operations and built a comprehensive flour school called “Il Laboratorio”, consisting of the Università della Pizza, Accademia del Pane, PizzaUp, and Pasticceria Dinamica. It’s a unique facility where attendees deepen their knowledge of flour handling and processing into seemingly endless varieties of bread, pasta, or pizza.

Molino Quaglia places such a big emphasis on quality and process improvement and were very open to adding digital solutions into their operations.

Roberto Libertini, Automation and Digitalization Sales Support at Bühler

Across the street, the mill runs like clockwork. Molino Quaglia has invested in the latest flour mill-ing equipment over the years and is now reaping the benefits of reliable operations from intake to cleaning, sorting, milling, and packaging. Bühler’s SORTEX H SpectraVision optical sorter is a prime example of the company’s commitment to food safety and quality. Its newly designed cameras detect the subtlest of color defects, and new InGaAs cameras take foreign matter detection to new levels.

In 2021, the three siblings decided to fully leverage the opportunities of digitalization and automation in their operations. “We set out to change the historical course of the mill. Everybody in the milling industry knows that each grain matters, so we wanted to get the latest technologies to improve our operations to an unprecedented level. That’s why we reached out to Bühler,” says Lucio Quaglia.

milling technology milling technology The mill is equipped with some of the latest milling technology from Bühler, such as the Sirius plansifter.
Roberto Libertini (left) and Lucio Quaglia Roberto Libertini (left) and Lucio Quaglia Roberto Libertini (left) and Lucio Quaglia (right) share a mutual understanding of the impact automation and digitalization can have on the final product.
Molino Quaglia Molino Quaglia Molino Quaglia carefully combines the traditional art of flour milling with state-of-the-art digital technologies to get the most out of each grain.

When Roberto Libertini, Automation and Digitalization Sales Support at Bühler, received the call from Molino Quaglia, he jumped in his car and made the 2-hour journey to visit Lucio Quaglia and his team in person. “The upgrade to Bühler’s Mercury MES plant automation system was a very exciting project. Molino Quaglia places such a big emphasis on quality and process improvement and were very open to adding digital solutions into their operations, so we were on the same page from the beginning,” Libertini explains.

He and his colleagues got straight to work with the milling team of Molino Quaglia, led by Head Miller Gianluca Sinigaglia. Keeping plant downtime to a minimum was a key requirement – not an easy task given the strict working conditions during Covid-19 in the fall of 2021. “We all stuck together with the same goal. This approach created a great team spirit and enabled us to switch from the previous automation system, WinCos, to Mercury MES as efficiently as possible,” says Sinigaglia. The mill was up and running again in less than 3 days – and the famous “Petra” flour bags were again sent around the world.

We set out to change the historical course of the mill, and we wanted to get the latest technologies to improve our operations to an unprecedented level.

Lucio Quaglia, Co-owner of Molino Quaglia

A silent guardian

With a few years of experience in running the mill with the Mercury MES plant automation system, Sinigaglia can’t imagine going back to the old ways. “It’s like working with an invisible helper who is always monitoring and reporting every step of our operations. All the data is fed into one easy-to-use dashboard and, if something goes wrong, we are notified immediately and can act where needed. This reduces food and financial loss – and it gives our team more time to focus on the quality of our flour rather than carrying out manual tasks,” he says.

Molino Quaglia outer view Molino Quaglia outer view The mill prominently stands in the town of Vighizzolo d’Este.
Gianluca Sinigaglia Gianluca Sinigaglia With the upgrade to Bühler’s Mercury MES plant automation system, Molino Quaglia’s mill runs autonomously 24/7, enabling millers to focus more on quality and process optimization.

The mill produces up to 400 tonnes of flour per day and runs autonomously on the weekend. Such a level of automation is only possible by leveraging the full scope of digital solutions. “We connected all the processes to Mercury MES via our digital platform Bühler Insights. Every single parameter of the mill is sent to Bühler Insights, where data is analyzed in real time and any deviations are reported immediately to the miller in charge via push notifications,” says Javier Lozano, Product Manager Automation & Digital Services at Bühler. “Traditionally, we used to react to issues that happened in the mill. Now, we prevent those thanks to countless data points.”

Bühler’s temperature and vibration management (TVM) service is a key element of this. Sensors inside the roller mill continuously analyze grinding temperature distribution and how the vibrations are developing. Gianluca Sinigaglia receives real-time information about the grinding performance of the 16 Antares roller mills on his tablet, allowing him to reduce his teams’ on-site process checks and spend more time focusing on product quality and improving overall operations.

We reduced downtime, lowered our energy costs, and developed an even better understanding of all processes from intake all the way to packaging.

Gianluca Sinigaglia, Head Miller at Molino Quaglia

“A couple of years ago, we couldn’t imagine benefiting from this level of automation and digitalization,” he explains. “Today, it’s become second nature to us, enabling us to increase efficiency in every aspect of our milling operations. We reduced downtime, lowered our energy costs, and developed an even better understanding of all processes from intake all the way to packaging.” Lucio Quaglia and his siblings, like their mill, never stand still. They’re driven by their mission to carry on their family’s legacy and thrive in a highly competitive market. 

Watch this video about Molino Quaglia to learn more about how they combine art and technology.

“A mill and the people running it should never be satisfied with the status quo. Supply chain issues, the effects of climate change, and rising energy costs are just a few challenges we have to meet. With our current set up with Mercury MES at the heart of our operations, we’re perfectly equipped to tackle these challenges head on and turn them into opportunities for Molino Quaglia. At the end of the day, we feel that we have an obligation to provide high quality flour to millions of consumers 365 days a year,” he says.

As the staff at Molino Quaglia make their way home, the mill continues to grind wheat as reliably as ever. It’s a landmark standing out against a picturesque landscape of neatly aligned wheat fields, creeks, and gently rising hills – perfectly embodying the company’s carefully balanced combination of the ancient and the modern.

Gianluca Sinigaglia Gianluca Sinigaglia Gianluca Sinigaglia, Head Miller at Molino Quaglia and his team were able to reduce downtime, lower energy costs, and develop an even better understanding of all processes.

Who: Petra Molino Quaglia, S.p.A.

When: Founded in 1914.

Where: Vighizzolo D’este, Padua, Italy

What: Molino Quaglia produces high quality wheat flour, gluten-free flour, and specialty flours for baking, pasta, and pizza production.

Customers: Molino Quaglia sells its flour varieties both to end-consumers and industrial food producers globally.

Bühler: Molino Quaglia has relied on Bühler’s milling solutions for decades, and today is reaping the benefits of digital solutions and the Mercury MES plant automation system.

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