A large-scale mill moves04.10.2006 What to do if there is no longer enough space left for further increasing the capacity of a flour mill? The people in charge at the Korean CJ Corporation opted for the most straightforward solution: move the entire mill and – after increasing its capacity and updating it – install it at a different location! Busan is located in the southeast of the Korean peninsula on the seaboard facing Japan. It is the second-largest city and the major port of South Korea. It was in this up-and-coming metropolis that the Korean CJ Corporation built its first flour mill in 1955. The facility was gradually expanded to four grinding lines with a combined processing capacity of 1000 metric tons of wheat per 24 hours. As the port city of Pusan and the CJ mill grew continuously, also the logistics and environmental protection problems increased. When another CJ mill increase became necessary at the turn of the millennium, the only option was to construct a new facility on a “green meadow” site while reusing certain existing plant components.
The decision to move the CJ mill to Yangsan City as a new location was made in 2002. Yangsan lies 30 kilometers north of Pusan and has a direct link to the national highway. The large-scale “Mill Transfer” project was planned in a team. CJ Corporation as the facility owner set up a task force to coordinate the various subprojects. It included members from a large Korean architecture firm assigned to design the new factory, local vendors for supplying various ancillary components, and Buhler as supplier of the new and “old” flour mills. The Buhler branch office in Seoul played an important part throughout the planning phase.
Total capacity: 1400 t/24 h
The “Mill Transfer” project comprised the construction of a flour mill with three lines, one with a capacity of 500 and two with a capacity of 450 metric tons of wheat per 24 hours. As a result, the total capacity of the CJ mill was increased from 1000 to 1400 t/24 h. The 500-ton line was constructed from scratch. For the two 450-ton lines, some existing plant components from the Buhler mills in Pusan were used. All the used parts were completely reconditioned and retrofitted to the state of the art through the incorporation of new machine elements and components. Also new were the entire pneumatic and mechanical conveying systems and dust collection filters.
The kickoff for implementing the “Mill Transfer” project was in February 2003. The first milling line along with the wheat storage elevator (holding capacity 19 000 tons) and the large finished product bulk storage system were completed by June 2005. The second milling line followed in July 2005, the third in October of the same year. The ceremonious inauguration of the overall facility took place on March 31, 2006.
In defining the flow charts of the three milling lines, flexibility received the utmost attention. Each line is capable of producing four different flour types simultaneously. For the plant as a whole, this means that 12 different flour types can be made concurrently.
The three lines of the CJ mill make flours for producing fresh pasta, cookies (biscuits), cakes, and bright bread loaves. In all, the product portfolio of the new CJ Corporation in Yangsan includes over 70 different flour grades, produced from up to six different wheat varieties. This requires a sophisticated system for wheat conditioning, grinding periods, storage of finished products, and flour blending. A large part of the flour produced is loaded out in bulk from the finished product bins directly into tankers, which transport them to CJ’s customers. Appropriate feeding and packaging lines were installed for the small-package products.
Short time, tight space
For the people in charge at Buhler, the “Mill Transfer” project was a special experience. The project managers from CJ Corporation ensured a tightly controlled project process and a very tight project schedule, thanks to painstaking planning and coordination. This was required to enable the complete relocation of the CJ mill within 19 months.
Another major hurdle that the people from Buhler had to take was the customer’s demand for the smallest possible building spaces. In the very compact building provided by the customer, there was little room for any extravagances, so the order of the day was clearly to install “maximum capacity within minimum space.”
Despite these tight restrictions, the specialists from Buhler once again succeeded in achieving the customer’s goal in terms of time and quality: The new mill operated by CJ Corporation is up and running, fulfilling all the requirements expected of it.
Since being set up in 1953 by the subsequent founder of Samsung, Lee Byeong Choll, the CJ Corporation – which also used to be called Cheil Jedang Co. Ltd. – has been one of the leading groups in the Korean food market. The CJ Corporation specializes in the production of sugar, flour, vegetable oils, animal feeds, and refined foods. In addition, the 59 affiliated companies of the CJ Group also include bio-pharmaceutical companies and media enterprises.