Konan Futo operates one of the largest and most strategic port terminals in the southern part of Japan, and has been doing so for 50 years, writes Vincent van der Wijk, Product Manager at Bühler. When its unloaders were nearing the end of their life, the company set out to find the most efficient replacement available on the market — and Bu¨hler proved to be the obvious choice.
“Konan Futo wanted to have a state-of-the-art mechanical ship-unloader,” says Senior Technology Manager at Bu¨hler, Felix Hutter. “After an intensive evaluation phase, Konan Futo selected the Portalink ship-unloader as the solution which best fits their needs, and so Bühler has been appointed as the preferred partner for this CAPEX project.”
The Portalink 1100/27RK not only combines continuous, high-efficiency unloading with sustainable, low energy consumption, it also significantly cuts running costs. Bu¨hler’s Portalink has an unloading capacity of 1,100tph (tonnes per hour), ideal for Konan Futo’s main products of wheat, rapeseed, soybean and raw sugar. The low-speed conveying of the products means that wear-and-tear and therefore product damage can be reduced significantly. Since the ship-unloader is able to move along the jetty, ship hatches can be reached without any restrictions.
Konan Futo was looking for an unloader that could efficiently handle a variety of grains and raw sugar, but the decision process was based on more than just selecting new machinery. It was essential to find a partner capable of offering exceptional project management and customer service throughout the whole execution process. “The in-depth assessment process in respect of potential suppliers prior to any sales decision is unique and in line with Japanese business culture,” says Sales Manager for Buhler Yokohama, Masakatsu Ohkawa. “Buhler has been able to convince the customer of best-in-class product and services in every aspect.”
It was crucial that the final installation time for the Portalink was kept as short as possible.
Co-ordination of all the stakeholders involved was key during the entire execution process, and required dynamic engagement from all parties.
It goes without saying that such a significant CAPEX project has drawn a great deal of attention. Several customers of Konan Futo as well as other port operators have visited the installed and commissioned Portalink to get a glimpse of what the future could look like at their facilities.
“We selected Buhler’s Portalink because of its efficiency, running cost are less than a quarter compared against the two unloaders that were removed. Buhler proved highest flexibility and the close co-operation throughout the entire project led to success”, says Yutaka Fukuda, President of Konan Futo Grain Terminal.
Every day, billions of people come into contact with Buhler technologies to cover their basic needs for food and mobility. Two billion people eat food produced on Buhler systems every day. One billion people travel in vehicles whose parts were produced on Bühler machines. Countless people wear glasses, use smartphones and read newspapers and magazines produced using Buhler’s process technologies and solutions. This global relevance spurs the company on to transform the global challenges of the age into a sustainable business. Bühler wants everyone to have access to healthy food. It contributes to climate protection through energy-efficient cars, buildings and machinery. The company’s motto is ‘Innovate for a better world.’
Buhler invests up to 5% of its sales revenues in research and development. The Swiss family business is active in 140 countries worldwide and has a global network of 30 production sites.