In an age in which technology has permeated every aspect of our daily lives, it is not surprising that innovative technologies have also found their space in agriculture and, specifically, in rice production, transforming the way we produce and process the food that reaches our tables.
Being one of the most popular and essential foods in the global diet, rice is no exception. Technological innovations have a direct and significant impact on its production, sustainability and product quality.
Technological innovation has had a significant impact on rice processing. For instance, automation is a key aspect in the agricultural production chain and no less so in the production of rice. For rice farming, the introduction of systems that automate production has resulted in a significant improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of sowing and harvesting.
Machinery is capable of sowing and harvesting rice with pinpoint accuracy, minimising the margin of error and ensuring a more uniform and controlled process.
Besides automation, a central aspect of innovation in the agricultural sector is the use of precision technologies to meet specific customer requirements. This is particularly relevant in the B2B context, in which being able to customise products and services can make all the difference. Mundi Riso is an excellent example of how the application of these technologies enables the creation of “tailor-made” rice for each customer.
The customisation process starts with a phase of analysis and study conducted by a team of experts. During this phase, different rice varieties are evaluated to identify those most suitable for specific applications, considering the unique characteristics of each variety. For example, this gave rise to the New Kenji line, a top-quality sushi rice made from Italian varieties.
Once the most appropriate variety of rice has been selected, the process is customised to the customer’s specific needs. The outcome of this can be a final product that varies from wheat rice to semi-processed rice to refined rice. Different degrees of processing are also applied within these categories to respond even more precisely to customer requirements.
The use of advanced machinery and innovative technology is crucial throughout this process. State-of-the-art cleaners, metal detectors, magnets and stone-removal machines ensure product safety and purity right from the start.
State-of-the-art optical sorting machines and X-ray detectors are then used throughout the manufacturing process to continually monitor and guarantee product quality. This combination of state-of-the-art technology and a focus on customisation allows Mundi Riso to offer a high quality, tailor-made rice product to meet a wide range of customer needs.
The processing of rice is a complex and multi-faceted process, ranging from husking to final selection. Each of these steps has a fundamental role to play in ensuring the quality of the final product. Mundi Riso has been able to implement state-of-the-art technologies that make each phase of the processing cycle more efficient and accurate.
The cleaning of the incoming raw material is the first stage of this process. Through the use of specific calibration aided by proper [error], the rice is cleaned of any straw, other seeds and parts of possible foreign bodies. A low-pressure suction machine is then used to further separate and remove the glumes from the rice grain.
The second stage is called husking, in which rotating rollers at different speeds remove the husk from the rice grain. With an efficiency rate of 90%, this method shows how the use of technological equipment can lead to better results than traditional processes.
The remaining 10% portion, which is considered unfit for consumption at this phase, is separated from the hulled rice using a paddy separator. In this process, the rice is slid on an inclined plane of sheet metal: the grains, knocking against the side walls, are separated according to their mass. The heavier, hulled rice is pushed down, while the paddy rice is directed to a further hulling process.
Depending on the finished product to be manufactured, the brown rice passes through whitening machines for the semi-milled and refined processes. These machines work with stone: the rice passes inside a cone and through the process of ‘rubbing on the stone’ the oily part of the grain, called chaff, is removed.
There can be different refining steps according to the degree of processing and customer specifications.
The peeling process is another fundamental step in the manufacturing process. In fact, during the milling operation, which takes place in close contact with the soil, small stones may be picked up along with the paddy rice.
While this contamination was tolerated in the past, market demands today make it essential to remove all traces of pebbles from the final product. Therefore, the semi-wheat rice undergoes a process in which the product enters a measuring hopper by gravity and is evenly distributed across its width.
The product then drops through a sieve and a vibrating force with a combination of an air flow separates the heavy particles that will go upwards, while the product drops downwards.
This machinery is present both at the primary husking stage (i.e. on brown rice) and on the finished product, before passing through the optical sorters.
Finally, optical sorting is the last step in the process. This phase allows grains of rice with aesthetic defects to be discarded, guaranteeing a high-quality end product. The discarded grains are not wasted, but instead are redirected for the production of rice flour.
Thanks to the adoption of these innovative technologies, Mundi Riso is able to optimise each stage of rice processing, guaranteeing a high-quality end product that is customised to the customers’ specific needs.