We are committed to help the animal feed and biofuels sector in Middle East & Africa grow further.
Q: Briefly introduce us to Andritz and the solutions you offer to clients in the manufacturing sector
A: Andritz is a publicly traded company headquartered in Graz, Austria, with a substantial business volume of approximately €10 billion. Our workforce comprises nearly 30,000 individuals spread across four key sectors: pulp and paper industry, metals (primarily dominated by our subsidiary Schuler, renowned for manufacturing large-scale presses for the automotive sector), hydro (supplying electromechanical components for hydropower plants worldwide), and separation (comprising separation technologies for the mining and food industries), as well as a dedicated focus on feed and biofuels business.
Our comprehensive range of offerings encompasses everything from individual machine supplies and process technologies to turnkey plant solutions, all delivered on a global scale across these four distinct business areas.
A: The Middle East and Africa region holds great significance within our strategic landscape. We have a dedicated management team specifically focused on Africa. To serve the Middle East and Africa, we have a direct sales force of 13 individuals, who are based in the region. Our presence extends across various countries in Africa through our network of distributors as well.
Additionally, we have established important hubs in Dubai, Turkey, Egypt, Kenya and Pakistan. These locations, along with others, ensure that we are well-positioned throughout the region. Notably, within our workforce of 30,000 individuals at Andritz, we have a dedicated team of 1,000 professionals solely dedicated to feed and biofuel.
Q: In your animal feed and fuel business, what solutions do you offer and what excites you about that space?
A: Our company specializes in offering advanced processing technologies for four primary sectors: terrestrial animal feed production, aqua feed, pet food, and the biofuel industry. In the biofuel industry, we provide solutions for pelleting biomass, wood and waste materials.
One aspect that truly excites me about Andritz is our rich heritage of over 186 years in the processing industry. This extensive experience serves as a valuable asset to our customers. I often emphasize that we possess the most robust processes and the widest range of processing technologies in the industry. It is our aim to extend these capabilities to Africa as well.
With our extensive global presence, we are able to provide the industry with highly advanced yet efficient operation and maintenance
Q: Talking about solutions, what are some of the technologies that Andritz actually has to help some of your customers improve on performance, increase efficiency, and maybe even reduce costs because cost is a major concern in this region?
A: One of our major strengths is the capability to provide turnkey solutions for our customers to help them set up quickly and efficiently produce food or feed.
But where I truly believe we can achieve a quantum leap in the industry is in helping our customers digitalize. If you look at the feed mill today, it still faces the same issues, including availability of spare parts and challenges in educating operators.
Andritz has a very smart technology called Metris where we are capable of remotely running plants. This not only helps us to support a customer in running the plant but also in identifying challenges in plants early on in terms of vibration, power consumption etc. With Metris, we can provide a performance-based plant operation, meaning you’re not focusing on your CapEx, but on OpEx while Andritz ensures that you get the desired output as stipulated in the business case or in the business plan.
We also have a strong focus right now on extruded products which typically are used for aquafeed and pet food production. One particular solution that also got awarded last year is what we call the micro feed system. It basically helps to increase the output by 50% with the same power installed. How we achieve that is by a bigger plate where we just increase the surface. Now, this sounds simple, but in terms of processing technology, it requires a good understanding of the extrusion process.
And since Andritz has a strong DNA coming from the pulp and paper industry, we have complete process equipment for biomass drying, from wet milling to drying, fine milling and pelleting. We just recently upgraded equipment in the biomass sector, reducing energy consumption by 20% and at the same time increasing output by simply upgrading and better optimizing the process technology.
Q: How do you work with your customers in the animal feed and biofuel industry to deliver on their sustainability goals?
A: We are investing quite heavily in new technologies that have lower energy demand and also ensure better use of raw materials. And here, especially looking into the feed milling industry, we are talking about less power waste or heat waste in terms of drying and also a smarter way of processing raw material when it comes to pelletizing, extrusion, drying, sifting and grinding.
Q: The animal feed industry in this region is young. What is the role of a company like Andritz in terms of helping these small plants grow into more efficient and sustainable businesses?
A: With our extensive global presence, we are able to provide the industry with highly advanced yet cost-effective solutions for efficient operation and maintenance. Furthermore, we are making substantial investments in digital solutions that assist our customers in effectively planning plant shutdowns and repairs, ultimately ensuring sustained profitability and optimal performance.
Q: What are your plans for the Middle East and Africa region in the next five years?
A: Currently, we heavily rely on importing solutions from Europe or Asia. Our strategic plan entails establishing a stronger local presence in the region to offer region-specific solutions.
We firmly believe in empowering the region to become independent and drive progress with tailored solutions that meet its unique requirements which is why we are wholeheartedly committed to supporting its market expansion through the establishment of a robust regional center.
This feature appeared in the June 2023 issue of Healthcare Middle East & Africa. You can read this and the entire magazine HERE