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From 0 to 7 in eight years

05.03.2008 The Yemen Company for Flour Mills & Silos is the world’s fastest growing flour milling group. Within eight years, Buhler has constructed a total of seven large-scale mills, 24 storage elevators, and one ship unloading installation for this customer in Aden and Hodeida. As part of its expansion strategy, following the liberalization of the flour market, Hayel Saeed Anam & Co. set up the Yemen Company for Flour Mills & Silos in 1997 with the goal of becoming the country’s largest flour producer as quickly as possible. The realization of these ambitious plans started in 1998. Today, the Yemen Co. for Flour Mills & Silos boasts a total grinding capacity of 5‚200 metric tons per day and bulk storage volume close to 300,000 tons in its two large-scale mills in Aden and Hodeida.

Buhler as a partner
To implement its fast and extensive increase in milling and storage capacities, the Yemen Company for Flour Mills & Silos chose Buhler as a partner. First, two complete flour milling facilities with capacities of 750 metric tons per day each were built in the port of Aden. In addition, a bulk storage installation holding 60,000 metric tons of grain was constructed. These milling and storage systems went into operation in 2000.

The next expansion stages followed at an annual clip. In 2002, the third mill with a capacity of 675 metric tons was started up in Aden. Within the following two years, mills number four and five went into service, with a daily capacity of 750 tons each. Concurrently with the expansion of the grinding capacities, the company increased its bulk storage capacity in 2003 by 70,000 metric tons and in 2004 by another 30,000 tons.

Second facility in Hodeida
With its large-scale flour mill in Aden, the Yemen Company for Flour Mills & Silos now had five state-of-the-art milling lines with a total processing capacity of 3‚675 tons per day. Two interlinked wheat storage facilities, with bins holding between 5‚000 tons and 10‚000 tons each, allow storage of up to 170‚000 tons of grain.

Following the completion of the large-scale mill in Aden, the customer did not hesitate to start construction work on a second mill in Hodeida on the Red Sea. In 2006 and 2007, two new flour milling plants were erected there with capacities of 750 tons per day each together with storage facilities for up to 100‚000 tons of grain. The new mill building in Hodeida has been designed to house three milling lines. It is only a matter of time before the third mill will be installed. Then, the Yemen Company for Flour Mills & Silos will boast a total grinding capacity of almost 6,000 tons per day, definitely ranking it among the world’s largest flour mills.

Company constructs its own pier
The five flour mills in Aden require enormous fresh grain supplies every day. Until recently, these large volumes were handled tediously and inefficiently by simple means such as ship cranes and clamshell buckets. Since 2006, a new Buhler ship unloader of type Portalink 800/80RK has been used for this purpose.

For this mechanical ship unloading unit with a dead weight of 360 tons, a new pier was built with a length of over 300 meters. On one side, it allows vessels up to 70,000 DWT (Panamax) and on the other side up to 3,000 DWT to be discharged. The wheat, which is unloaded by marine legs equipped with chain conveyors, is moved by belt conveyors to the storage bins about 570 meters away. Along the first 240 meters, the belt conveyor is installed underneath the pier surface, allowing unobstructed traffic on the pier. On the remaining 332 meters, it is supported by stilts 10 meters above ground. The ship unloader itself travels on tracks that are 210 meters long.

A lasting impression
At Buhler, area manager Walter Bruggmann (Milling business unit) has been in charge of customer care for the Yemen Company for Flour Mills & Silos since 1998. Fritz Boss (project manager in the Grain Handling business unit) handled the ship unloader project with the belt conveyor system leading to the bulk terminal. Both have fond memories of their collaboration with the customer. Walter Bruggmann: “I was involved in the construction of all the flour mills, together with highly motivated teams from our technology and engineering departments. It was a period of intensive cooperation, and it developed a very tight relationship between us as suppliers and the customer that was characterized by trust and mutual respect.” Fritz Boss, too, remembers this interesting time: “Despite difficult installation conditions with high temperatures and air humidity, we ultimately met the customer’s targets.” In addition, the country with its great and changing history and its thrilling landscape have left a deep and lasting impression with the two Buhler people.

Built within eight years: The large-scale flour mill of the Yemen Company for Flour Mills & Silos in the ports of Aden (picture) and Hodeidah.<br /> Built within eight years: The large-scale flour mill of the Yemen Company for Flour Mills & Silos in the ports of Aden (picture) and Hodeidah.