Center for flour treatment opened in Kenya – providing the latest applications
development and knowledge transfer.
In November of this year flour treatment specialist Mühlenchemie opened a new Technology Center in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The subsidiary is operating as Stern Ingredients East Africa Ltd., and is the company’s second location after Lagos for applications research and consulting on flour standardisation, improvement and enrichment in Africa. From here, the MC Technology Center will help the milling industry in East Africa to maintain consistently high standards in the production of flour, and react more quickly to changing requirements in the markets and in raw materials. Simultaneously the rheology and baking laboratory in Nairobi will serve as a centre for knowledge transfer throughout the African continent.
The heart of the new subsidiary is a baking laboratory and technical centre for development and consulting, with 400 square metres of space and equipment for flour and grain analysis. A trial bakery with the latest machinery, including spiral kneaders, rolling machines, deck ovens and convection ovens, allows for extensive testing. Here, baking processes can be simulated, and the effects of enzymes and other ingredients tested. Tests can be run in collaboration with local mills, and the results quickly implemented in regular operations. There is also a rheology laboratory, and the space offers capacity for further expansion.
“With its extensive outfitting, the new subsidiary will not just provide new impetus for the milling industry in its region, but will also be a milestone in the standardisation and enrichment of flour on the entire continent,” says Norman Loop, Regional Director Middle East & Africa at Mühlenchemie. The company’s technical specialists already advise mills in Cameroon, South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt. Mühlenchemie has operated a baking laboratory in Nigeria since 2017. “The new facility is intended as a knowledge hub for these specialists and for users, and will make communications and deliveries much faster,” says Norman Loop.
A local team of baking technicians in Nairobi will work on the current challenges of mills in East Africa. In addition to analyses of grain and flour, the flour treatment specialists there will also offer training, seminars and workshops. “The flour experts in Nairobi bring with them long experience in the milling industry on the African market. They will contribute all of the knowledge that Mühlenchemie has built up around the globe, and enrich the new location with their own expertise,” says Loop. Commercial direction of the new location will be in the hands of Khalif Steinbrich, Area Sales Manager East Africa. He is very familiar with the African market and has extensive experience in customer consulting. The laboratory will be under the direction of David Nolte. A trained miller, for 13 years he has worked for Mühlenchemie as an Applications Engineer for Milling and Rheology, and has extensive knowledge of the East African milling industry.
The Kenyan location is of strategic importance for the African milling industry. With its growing population and prosperity, the demand for safe, high-quality, affordable food is also rising. The volatile grain market presents East African mills with the challenge of responding ever more quickly to new conditions. Since the region is heavily agricultural, much of the raw materials like wheat and corn are locally sourced. With the analysis capacity of this new location Mühlenchemie can develop solutions for individual needs and make them available to mills much faster. Furthermore, personal communication between customer and consultant from field to final product will be much more direct.
“With the new location in Nairobi, we are further expanding our worldwide network and adapting our products and services to the local market. In doing so, we can build on our global expertise,” explains Loop, adding, “meanwhile, the knowledge that we gain on the African market will contribute to the further development of our services in other parts of the world.
Mühlenchemie serves over 2000 mills in more than 130 countries. The company knows the latest requirements of the manufacturers, what raw materials are on the market, and what results are possible with what processes. At the central “Future Makers” Stern-Technology Center in Ahrensburg, Germany, over 100 scientists and applications technologists work on tailor-made solutions for the requirements of the worldwide milling industry. In order to better transfer this knowledge to regional markets, in recent years Mühlenchemie has steadily expanded its capacities for applications research in those markets. Today, its experts in Germany, Mexico, Singapore, India, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Nigeria assist mills locally with individual solutions for optimum flour quality. With the Nairobi location, the second Technology Center on the African continent has now been added.