Three C–lines neatly arranged27.06.2008 A new pasta factory with one long-goods and two short-goods lines and one additional durum and soft wheat mill each in the midst of an earthquake region: A true challenge for Buhler. The name “Piyale” is synonymous with high-quality pasta in Turkey. In 1922, Hasan Tahsin Piyale started producing pasta on an artisanal scale in the Turkish metropolis Izmir on the Aegean coast. With his ten employees, the company founder initially produced 750 kilograms of pasta a day. The original small-scale business was expanded in 1930 into Turkey’s first pasta factory. In the decades that followed, the Piyale family very successfully added more production facilities and expanded its line of pasta, typically relying on support from Buhler.
New owner – new plans
In 2005, the Piyale pasta factory was acquired by the GIDASA food group. GIDASA was set up in 2002 and is part of the Sabanci Holding company, a conglomerate of 70 companies with a total of 52,000 employees and annual sales of 12.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2006. In its factories, GIDASA produces – among other things – beverages, margarine, vegetable oil, flours, sauces, and pasta. The new owner had ambitious expansion plans for its pasta business. When ownership changed, the Piyale factory in Izmir incorporated a total of 13 Buhler pasta lines and Buhler grain grinding systems of varying age and condition. But the space conditions did not allow any increase or updating of production. The people in charge at GIDASA therefore decided to construct a new facility on a green-meadow site. The new site is located adjacent to the Istanbul-Ankara highway some 180 kilometers east of Istanbul near the small town of Hendek.
Three high-capacity C–line pasta lines and two grain grinding lines
GIDASA chose the Swiss Buhler Technology Group as its partner for constructing the new pasta factory. The project for the new facility included the design and construction of two short-goods C–lines with an output of 4000 kilograms per hour each. One of them was to be additionally equipped with four stamping machines. Moreover, in addition to the two short-goods lines, a long-goods C–lines with a capacity of 3500 kilograms per hour was to be installed. For housing the three pasta lines, GIDASA built a spacious production hall with an adjacent, generously sized warehouse for storing the finished products. In addition to an office wing, a separate section of the new factory building was to house two Buhler grinding systems for producing pasta semolina (380 metric tons of durum wheat per day) and flour (140 metric tons of soft wheat per day) plus the associated bulk storage systems for storing the wheat and the ground products.
Challenge and opportunity
One of the particular challenges that the Buhler engineers faced was the location of the new GIDASA pasta factory in an active earthquake region exposed to a top-category seismic risk. But for Peter Lehmann, in charge of the GIDASA project in the Buhler Pasta business unit, this high earthquake risk also offered a special opportunity: “We had to check all our machine designs and production lines for their ability to withstand earthquakes. In the case of some plant components, this offered us the chance to test and then apply new design ideas. We will be able to use these ideas also in the future.” GIDASA itself was responsible for ensuring the seismic safety of the hall structure. “It was an enormous pleasure for me and my team to install three C–lines at once in a single hall of adequate size yet not too large, and which also had the required headroom of ten meters,” he says of “his” GIDASA project. Peter Lehmann, 48, has a mechanical engineering training background and has been with Buhler as a project manager since 1993. He says that the application of 3D drawings proved to be a great help in designing special-purpose components and optimizing the configuration of the three lines.
Up and running within 14 months
The schedule defined by GIDASA was another challenge for Peter Lehmann’s team. Once the contract had been signed in September 2005, he had exactly 14 months before the three lines were scheduled to be up and running. According to the schedule, the short-goods line with the stamping machines would be supplied eight months after receipt of the order and be completely installed another four months later. The second short-goods line and the long-goods line were supplied and installed at an interval of one month. “Ten months after signing of the contract, the last machines and components had arrived on site,” remembers Peter Lehmann. “From then onward, we worked concurrently on the three lines.”
“A perfect picture”
Thanks to the smooth collaboration with the GIDASA project management and the dedication of the installation team, the entire plant was commissioned and in service just before Christmas 2007. “It was really an uplifting experience for me and a feeling of personal satisfaction to see the three C–lines so neatly arranged in the large hall,” says Peter Lehmann proudly in his capacity as an engineer. “The three lines produced a perfect picture.” With its compact design and optimized processes, the new pasta factory of GIDASA will serve as a showcase facility for Buhler to demonstrate to customers from all corners of the world. What also contributed greatly to the smooth handling of the project was the excellent collaboration with the Buhler agency in Istanbul. Without its efficient support, project processing would never have been so easy. The project team could also at all times rely on synergies and support from Buhler Braunschweig, which supplied the grinding lines. Lehmann: “Cooperation with its project manager was exemplary and a real pleasure.”
Once the entire plant had been commissioned, it was important to train its personnel and familiarize the operators with a state-of-the-art pasta production plant. In this effort, the very easy operation of the C–line proved to be an enormous benefit, thanks to its advanced technology and integrated control system. Peter Lehmann: “We had to train a large number of novices on our equipment. Because GIDASA had built the new factory far away from the old one, only few of the former employees were prepared to move,” explains Peter Lehmann. Moreover, technically qualified personnel was not at all or not easy to recruit in this rather remote region. “We there therefore had to teach relatively inexperienced personnel to run our production systems. But the user-friendliness of the C–line and the willingness of the operators to learn enabled the personnel to operate the Buhler pasta lines within a short time.”