Shawn Thiele explaining cleaning equipment operations to the IAOM-KSU Basic Milling Principles
course participants at the Hal Ross Flour Mill.
Image credit: IGP KSU

Like most agriculture-related jobs, consistency is a key factor in flour milling. It is a major determinant in flour quality, milling efficiency and machine operations — all of which are topics covered by the International Association of Millers (IAOM)–Kansas State University (KSU) partnership courses held throughout the month of October.

Through hands-on training, course participants engaged in classroom discussions, experienced real-life practices at the Kansas State University Hal Ross Flour Mill and learned quantitative tools and techniques to help influence and impact their grain industry futures.

IAOM-KSU Basic Milling Course
During the IAOM-KSU Basic Milling Principles course held Oct. 8-12, participants delved into topics including wheat classes and uses, wheat and flour testing practices, cleaning and conditioning systems, the milling systems, granulation curves and flowsheets.

"We had 19 participants from the US, Taiwan and Mexico. The participants had the opportunity to learn about the different classes of wheat, the milling systems, and how to set up the mill for those different wheat classes," says Shawn Thiele, flour milling and grain processing curriculum manager. "We spent time in labs, milling all six classes of wheat and looking at how granulation distribution and optimal conditioning can affect the mill performance and product quality. The participants also spent time in the Shellenberger Hall baking lab understanding how flour quality affects the baking process and seeing first-hand the effects of different wheat flours on breads and cakes."

The participants were able to gain a wide variety of knowledge, one of which includes a deeper look into the theory behind the practices taking place in flour mills today.

"I knew a lot of the terms and what's there, but I didn't know how they all interacted," says Robert Walker, project engineer at General Mills. "I really enjoyed getting to piece it all together, put definitions behind words and see it all come together."

IAOM-KSU Advanced Milling Offerings
As an expansion to the IAOM-KSU Basic Milling principles, the IAOM–KSU Advanced Milling Principles course offerings included topics on analysing and improving grain processing flows, understanding variables that impact production efficiencies and techniques and tools to enhance the troubleshooting skills of mill personnel. These classes were held Oct. 1-5 and Oct. 15-19.

"The advanced milling courses had great success with a total of 26 participants from around the United States, Taiwan, Brazil and Mexico. The courses were very hands-on and included a lot time training in the Hall Ross Flour Mill," says Thiele.

He explains that the offering focuses on more in-depth understandings of mill flows and equipment operations and how to optimise mill processes, efficiencies and consistencies in a mill. During classroom discussions, students learned about mill equipment, flow designs and techniques to aid millers in making more informed decisions around mill efficiency. Students were then able to apply their knowledge with hands-on exercises on the Hal Ross flour mill.

"My favourite part of the course was working in the mill. Working hands-on and with all the Buhler products was cool to experience because my mill is a bit more old school. Seeing the new "toys" was really fun," says Chris Rodriguez, warehouse and production manager at Grain Craft.

These trainings are example of the many hands-on flour milling and grain processing training courses offered by the IGP Institute. In addition, the IGP Institute provides trainings in the areas of feed manufacturing and grain quality management, and grain marketing and risk management.

To learn more about training opportunities at the IGP Institute, visit the KSU IGP website, HERE.

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