In just six weeks, Bühler transformed its physical Interpack program into a fully digital experience. It has certainly been a very steep learning curve for the company, but one that will give Bühler’s partners and customers access to new services for operational efficiency and capacity improvement, new product proposals to delight consumers, and inspiration to ensure the long-term sustainability of its global food supply. All of this from the safety and convenience of their own homes and offices. The publicly accessible Bühler Virtual World, with its content-rich program, will open its digital doors from May 12-15 at: virtualworld.buhlergroup.com.
The Virtual World addresses three key questions Bühler has asked itself for 2020:
How does Bühler increase its contribution to the business resilience of its industry in the next 24 months?
“In today's world, we see it as our responsibility to ensure the continuity of food supply chains, but also to keep business afloat by enabling close collaboration among industry partners and with our customers,” says Germar Wacker, CEO of Bühler Consumer Foods. With digital capabilities underpinning a service portfolio increasing yield and capacity, ensuring consistent product quality and reducing unplanned downtime, waste, and energy consumption Bühler can contribute to support its customers to deliver the strong demand they experience today while securing their operational results. Bühler’s digital platforms myBühler and Bühler Insights will support business resilience by enriching the physical world with the capability of digital solutions.
How can Bühler support its industry to bounce back strongly once the new normal is established?
Relevant differentiation is the key to unlock consumer demand and is transforming the food industry at an extraordinary rate. Natural, clean label, on-the-go, regional origin, increasing varieties, bite size, healthy, organic, and local are all trends of importance. Bühler food technologists will present a variety of products that address these trends, from savory wafer products, low fat products, filled wafer pillows, eatable coffee cups, vegan chocolates, to plant-based chicken pieces, to mention but a few. “A combination of flexible assets, higher operational efficiency and differentiated offerings will support our industry to return successfully to the new normal,” says Wacker.
How can we build a sustainable food industry to nourish and delight 10 billion people in 2050 within the planetary boundaries?
Everyone including Bühler must embed sustainability in all their decisions. Economy, nature, and society must be considered equally. “We are convinced that our sustainability goals will produce good business models, and we will make this case at the Bühler Virtual World,” says Stefan Scheiber, Bühler Group CEO. Bühler focuses all research and development spendings on its targets of reducing waste, energy, and water consumption in its customers’ value chains by 50 percent.
New solutions such as the modular moulding line ChocoX deliver the flexibility needed for high innovation rates with the efficiency of a mass production line. The new SWAKT-Eco wafer oven reduces energy consumption by 30 percent. Bühler’s service portfolio for chocolate mass has increased Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) by up to 30 percent in some cases. The company’s SnackFix and ChoCoat solutions reduce changeover times to only minutes. Bühler’s cross-value-chain capabilities in plant protein processing provide nutritious options to meat with a CO2 footprint that is less than half of chicken or 15 times less than beef.
Additionally, Bühler estimates that Virtual World saves around 10,600 tons of greenhouse gas emissions compared to the physical event, equivalent to the compensation output of 175,000 trees. Bühler will create a sustainable food industry.
The highlights of the Bühler Virtual World
As a solution provider, Bühler has grouped the innovations of its Virtual World into four key topics:
• How to capitalize on market trends with high flexibility, fast changeovers, and integrated solutions.
• How to reach the highest efficiency with best Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).
• How to manufacture products reliably with documented food safety.
• How to improve sustainability with reduced consumption of energy, water, and waste.
ChocoX: Highly flexible, modular solution for moulding
Following a “plug-and-produce” concept, the new moulding line, ChocoX (pronounced “Choco Cross”) marks a breakthrough in the industry with its consistently modular approach. ChocoX can be installed on site within a week, reducing implementation time by 80 percent. ChocoX slashes the time for a line expansion by half, compared to previous solutions. Its modular structure allows for great flexibility. Modules can be changed or cleaned in as little as 30 minutes and rearranging the process chain only takes between 30 to 120 minutes. Bühler will communicate more on ChocoX during this week.
Customer services at the click of a button
The myBühler portal offers customers 24/7 access to all the information relevant to their technologies and equipment. myBühler streamlines the purchasing process with pricing and material information and online ordering. Customers operating former Haas solutions will soon be able to connect to myBühler as well. It is far more than a standard customer portal. It is the starting point and the one-stop-shop for all digital solutions, including product information, eMaintenance, e-Training, and eService such as Bühler’s Remote Guidance. Smart glasses enable Bühler’s specialists to instruct professionals at customer sites remotely. And Bühler guarantees first-level-support within two hours.
Saving energy, water, and waste
Bühler is presenting a wide range of innovative product formulations, from chocolate mass to enrobed baked products, from moulded products to wafers and biscuits. All of them will be displayed with experts explaining their sustainability and production benefits. Bühler’s aim is to reduce energy use, water consumption, and waste in customers’ value chains by 50 percent by 2025. “We are convinced that our sustainability goals will produce good business models, and we will make this case at the Bühler Virtual World,” says Scheiber.
Among the sustainable solutions that will be presented during the virtual fair is the Franz Haas MTA. It can produce eatable and biodegradable packaging made from wafers and helps lower the use of single-use plastic. An estimated 20 billion disposable coffee cups are used and thrown out every single year. And, the SWAKT-Eco wafer-baking oven reduces emissions by 90 percent. It also uses 30 percent less energy. These are just a few of the innovations to be unveiled.
Food safe designs incorporate new concepts and latest technology such as laser cleaning for SWAKT-Eco or the new batch roaster Solano that combines three process steps in one solution: pasteurizing, roasting, and drying. Bühler guarantees a bacterial reduction of at least 99.999% with the Solano.
Heralding a new era with the Bühler Virtual World
Equally innovative as the new solutions and services is the way Bühler will showcase them and communicate with its customers and partners during the Bühler Virtual World. This virtual trade fair combines a live event program, a virtual solution space, and video conferencing features. “Today, with greater urgency than ever, the world is relying on food industries to run like clockwork,” says Scheiber. “It has to ensure solid production chains and reliable output. The industry also needs to adapt and learn how to innovate together as partners, even when it is physically impossible.” Bühler developed the Virtual World to deal with these challenges in a collaborative manner and bring important industry stakeholders together. “We want to show our customers that they can rely on us even in times of crisis, be it for new product developments, for servicing their solutions, or when digitalizing their plants for the new normal we are now learning to live in,” says Scheiber.
Customers and visitors can look forward to exploring the virtual booth. They are free to attend the livestream program featuring keynotes on digitalization and sustainability and delve deep into service solutions and special application areas that will be presented by expert food technologists.