Process steps

The steps that must be taken before the products can be delivered are described below.

Grain processing starts in the harvesting months (July/August) with the arrival of the grain. After drying it is stored in climate-controlled silos. Fresh products are made to order from the grain stocked in these silos.

Processing steps
Grain processing starts in the harvesting months (July/August) with the arrival of the grain. After drying it is stored in climate-controlled silos. Fresh products are made to order from the grain stocked in these silos.

1. Preliminary cleaning

The grain is delivered in bulk or in bags. It often still contains impurities such as straw, weeds and empty or affected kernels. These are removed by means of a preliminary cleaner, something resembling an oversized vacuum cleaner. On arrival the grain usually contains between and 18 and 20% moisture.

2. Drying

To protect the grain against rotting, the moisture level may not exceed 16%. It is therefore dried with hot air. The grain is heated to a maximum of 40 degrees Celsius. Any higher and the germ strength is lost. The warm grain gradually sinks down to where it is stored in the silos.

3. Storage

The grain is then stored in the silos. As far as possible each grain type is stored in a specific silo to prevent them from being mixed together. The silos are aerated effectively. Each silo is fitted with a temperature gauge. During the harvest and the weeks that follow, the temperature is recorded each day. Once the grain is in good condition the temperature is checked once a week.

4. Husked oats

The oats kernel is covered by a husk that is not attached to the kernel but is found relatively ‘loosely’ in the chaff. The husk is smooth on the outside which means that it is no use rubbing it as in the case of barley. When the oats is placed in a type of centrifuge the kernel shoots out of the husk. The batch of oats is divided into three size classifications. Each class is husked separately and the machine is adjusted more finely each time. The oat kernel is shot out of the husk in the hulling machine. About 20% of the kernels remain in the husk and have to be returned to the machine where most of it is husked a second time. As a result, 100 kg of oats produces 60 to 75 kg of husked oats and 25 to 40 kg of waste (mainly husks).

The husk of a barley kernel grows around the kernel and protects it from moisture, mould and parasites during growth and storage. This inedible protective layer is removed just before flattening as the taste and resistance to deterioration are reduced when the barley is kept without its husk for too long. The barley husk is removed in the traditional manner by rubbing the kernels against each other between rotating hulling stones and the surrounding husking cylinder. The barley cannot pass through this sieve, but the dust and husks can. The friction causes the husk to break and come loose from the kernel. The barley hulling machine can be adjusted in such a way that the husk is loosened without damaging the bran or the germ, thereby retaining most of the nutritional value.

5. Cleaning

Not all dust, straw, weed seeds, etc., can be removed during the preliminary cleaning process. In order to ensure that the grain is completely pure it is cleaned by means of extraction and sieving. We first separate the grain from the impurities on the basis of specific gravity: straw and chaff are lighter than grain while grit is heavier. We also use sieves to sift out smaller or larger particles. In this way we get pure grain that is suitable to be flattened into flakes or to be sold in shops as whole grain. A cylindrical seed grade is located behind the purification machine in which round weed seeds, such as vetch, or bits of clay are separated from the oval grain.

6. Flattening

The grain is soaked for a day before being flattened. The next day it is poured into a silo from where it is then placed on a conveyor belt and pre-heated by gas burners. Most of the heat is transferred by radiation, which can be compared to the radiation of the sun. The heat makes the grain soft and supple. Oats must be kept warm for several minutes to prevent it from becoming bitter during storage. In comparison with other grains, oats contains more fat that can become rancid when an enzyme (lipase) is released when the kernel has been damaged. By preheating the oats the enzyme does not become active and the flakes remain tasty. Preheating ensures that starch in the grain becomes sufficiently cohesive so that the flake does not fall apart. After heating the grain is flattened into flakes by rollers, the flakes then drop onto a conveyor belt where they are cooled down and lose their moisture.

7. Mixing muesli

The stainless steel mixer we use for this was designed in-house so that we can prevent the flakes from breaking. This mixer is filled from the top according to the required recipe (mixture). The ingredients are mixed as briefly as possible to prevent breakage and just long enough to ensure that a good mixture is made. A mixture can consist of seven different kinds of grain flakes.

  • Seven corn flakes
  • Four corn flakes
  • Crispy flakes
  • Subtropical fruits
  • Northern fruits
  • Nuts, either whole or ground

After mixing the mixture is drained out into bulk packaging or into a roll container and taken to the packing machine.

8. Packaging

All the packaging is done by a fully automatic machine. The product is weighed first. Then foil from a roll is printed with the product name, the barcode and the sell-by date. The foil is then led around a shoulder after which the bag is sealed at the bottom and the back. The product then falls into the bag, which is then sealed at the top. The bag is transported to a collection table where it is packed in a box. Finally the product name and the sell-by date are printed on the box.