A four-country European Pasta Processing and Equipment Mission in May is one example of how Cigi is working to ensure that its staff remain current in their knowledge to better serve the Canadian industry and international customers, says Cigi Executive Director Earl Geddes.
The 10-day training mission to Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Germany provided the opportunity for Ashok Sarkar, Head of Milling Technology; Paul Ebbinghaus, Technologist, Asian Products and Extrusion Technology; and Earl to meet with leading processors and equipment manufacturers. Joining them on the mission was Dr. Bin Xiao Fu, Research Scientist, Durum Wheat Research, with the Canadian Grain Commission.
“When our staff talk to the processors, the millers and the equipment makers, it gives Cigi a new level of understanding that provides us with some really current knowledge that we can use to help customers and industry members become more profitable,” says Earl.
For Ashok the mission provided insight into some of the changes in the pasta industry. “It was interesting to see how the extraction level of semolina has increased for production of pasta,” he says. “The use of debranning equipment in Italy has become almost a common practice. It was also useful to see the importance of low cadmium levels in durum wheat usage in the EU market and how Canadian varieties have fared very well in this respect.”
A highlight for Paul was establishing new contacts and gaining new insight with customers such as Pastas Gallo, Divella and Barilla. “Visiting Buhler and the Pavan Group was also of particular value to learn about trends in new equipment technology,” he says. “Understanding the new technologies, seeing the new products that companies are developing and talking to large and small pasta processors gives us a better feel for the on the ground realities of these operations,” says Earl. “The best place to learn is right there in our customers’ plants.”
Article originally published in Cigi.ca e-publication, Fall 2011.