A Bowlful of Innovation
ELGi makes headway in Thailand’s rice industry
The cultivation of rice is one of the most important events in the history of man; one that has had, perhaps, the greatest impact on our search for food. For millennia, rice has moulded not only the diets but also the economies and cultures of an entire continent. From folklore to festivals, goddesses to greetings, the starchy grain is deeply intertwined with the Asian way of life.
In a number of languages across Asia, the words for “meal” and “rice” are interchangeable. Along a bustling street in Bangkok, one may hear a friendly phrase ring through the crowds as locals exchange everyday pleasantries: ‘kin kao laew reu young?’. A Thai counterpart to the American greeting ‘How’s it going?’, this phrase literally translates to ‘Have you eaten rice yet?’. A staple source of strength for more than half the world’s population, rice is synonymous with life itself. Thailand consistently remains one of the world’s top producers of rice. Besides providing sustenance to its rice-eating citizens, surplus exports bring in valuable foreign revenue. Moreover, rice farmers make up more than half the labor force in the country, conferring the grain a pivotal status in Thai society and politics.
The process of transformation of paddy (unmilled rice) to edible grain is a simple yet labor-intensive process. In the early days, it involved pounding paddy in a mortar with a pestle to remove the husk and bran from the kernels. Later, animal driven mills were devised, followed by machines that made the task much easier.
In recent years, the rice processing industry in Thailand has witnessed innovation, keeping pace with rapid industrialization across the globe. With operations being largely automated, plants churn out tons of milled rice round the clock to meet skyrocketing demands. While global supply chains get more complex, the end consumer is becoming progressively discerning of the quality of their food. Consequently, industry leaders are making every effort to adhere to the strictest standards of food safety and nutrition. This is where ELGi’s customized compressed air solutions are helping Chia Meng Rice Mill use technology creatively. Established in 1937, Chia Meng Rice Mill is the leading producer of Thai rice and one of the most technically advanced companies in the industry. The factories produce over 20,000 tonnes of rice per month for local consumption as well exports to neighbouring countries, Australia, USA and Europe. The company relies on an array of compressed air solutions by ELGi.
Besides the regular applications of compressed air in various stages of rice milling, ELGi’s “Global Series” screw air compressors have been employed to overcome a major bottleneck in production: rice sorting. Have you ever noticed how each grain of rice you eat is of the same length and quality? Rice sorting is the process where all discolored grains and contaminants are separated from the good grains.
Revolutionary camera-based color sorters have been installed at the plant to optimize the process. The technology is designed to scan rice grains at varying wavelengths and identify the discolored grains more accurately. Once identified, ELGi’s screw air compressors deliver a blast of air that separates the impurities and discolored grains from white rice. The quality of compressed air used to eject the contaminants is crucial as it comes in direct contact with the rice. ELGi’s compressed air systems guarantee supply of oil-free and moisture-free air, preserving the nutrition and quality of every grain.
With an ever growing world population, rice is a powerful grain that holds the key to improving food security for developing nations. With reliable and efficient compressed air solutions specially designed for the paddy industry, ELGi is helping uphold the trust of millions of people. We continue to evolve machines that can adapt to latest technological advances, playing our part in putting the most wholesome meals on the global table.
For more information on ELGi’s “Global Series” screw air compressors, visit:
Asian Bites: A Feast of Flavours from Turkey through India to Thailand by Tom Kine
To contribute write to us at