Cannenburgh-Vaassen and te Riele, where ancient and ultramodern go hand in hand.

Roller seats, roller mills and crumblers: they all have two, four or six rollers. Rollers that wear out due to use and can no longer do their job properly: work to be done for Te Riele in Vaassen! It used to be a lengthy, manual job; and now, so much later, prey for a fully automated machine. Time to check this out!

De Cannenburgh, 1386, you can’t ignore it: the old estate with the beautiful castle in Vaassen. This is also the home base of te Riele! Cosy, traditional, modest and completely absorbed in the beautiful authentic surroundings. The wheel of the watermill turns in the spring as in the old days. Laundries and mills fought over running water. The accompanying sign reads: “High groundwater levels along the edges of the Veluwe has had a major influence on the local economy for centuries. Wet places were excavated to bring in extra water through streams to power watermills.

Cannenburgh’s history dates back to the 14th century.

From then on there was a water mill at the castle. The mill was mainly used as a flour mill. In 1761 this even happened with two wheels. In 1872 the mill came into the possession of Gait te Riele. In the harsh winter of 1940, the wood-built mill burned down completely and a brick one was immediately rebuilt. The mill was fitted with a turbine, which is unique in the Veluwe. In 2010 the mill was restored and the turbine and the mill gutter, including the mill wheel, were restored.

The mill became the basis of the current company. Over the centuries, grinding corn on stones was replaced by modern techniques. At the old site in Riele, it is still busy with buckwheat and other salaried grinding. A job of one of the three descendants te Riele. Fifth Generation! The second in Riele, can now be found in the grinding shop, but normally en route for the assembly and renewal of roller mills and crumblers on location.

Grinding and profiling, an activity that was picked up as an alternative source of income 75 years ago, when traditional grinding was overtaken by time. Driving down millstones and “buttocks”, basically sharpening the grooves again to rub the grain apart, switched to metal rollers, which achieve the same effect.

“You can reduce grains and other products in various ways by choosing the right profile”, Anton te Riele is briefly in his role of teacher. “Put two ‘lazy’ profiles against each other and you get a vulnerable particle due to its length. Adjust it all slightly and you will get a stronger ‘Wybertje’” (see sketch). “Usually the selling companies come by on behalf of the users to discuss what is a good choice. Later, the rollers come back here when they are blunt and therefore no longer do their job properly.”

It is clear, damaged and worn rollers come back to Vaassen and are ground and profiled. “We have assembly and repair employees ourselves and we operate all over the world,” says Anton.

Bearings, shaft journals, seals and adjustments are also very important. You automatically come to the subject of ‘knowledge and training’ and Anton immediately reports that the end users, eg animal feed producers or wheat mills, are generally conservative. “Once the machine with the selected roller profile is there, it’s actually too late. Take a good look at the possibilities beforehand (what goes into it? What do we want as the end product? With what capacity?). “We have the facilities here to gain knowledge and to train. It is even possible to include our activities and possibilities in a staff outing! During this staff outing we view the Cannenburgh and position the bbq here…”

In the yard, in the same modest style, there is a building with no fewer than thirteen grinding and riffling devices. Where in the past the rollers had to be repaired with blood sweat and tears, it is now a matter of putting wishes into the control system and checking every now and then whether everything is still going as intended. A chisel cuts through the remaining profile in one quick, long stroke. “It used to be hydraulic, noisy and jerky, now everything is quiet and smooth thanks to servo drive”. That is still not enough: “You cannot ignore it, the capacities of the feed factories are increasing, including the size of the machines and therefore also the rollers”, says number three, Anton, te Riele. “For a long time the rollers were still reasonable to handle, but now we are reaching weights of six tons and that will no longer be possible on the older machines.”

This family business, which is so important to the grinding industry, has purchased a hall in the Vaassen industrial estate, containing the ultimate in roller profiling. “Here in this hall, DPT-Netherlands as the company name, a truck can drive backwards. With the 6.5 tonne gantry crane, we can unload the rollers for processing.” Behind protective fences is indeed an immense machine, the showpiece and the prelude to the “higher league”, the tR810! Nice, Rodomach, a state-of-the-art Dutch company specialized in automation and robotics, has built this tR810.

A slight chirping is heard. Sharpening and measuring is done on a carousel with twelve chisels. Constantly a sharpening stone comes forward to update the next chisel. The results are visualized to thousandths of a millimeter on demand. “The deviation is taken into account for each profile to be treated,” says Anton proudly. “The holder on which the carousel with chisels is placed makes up for the difference.” Then it’s time, the flute head positions itself in front of the roller and it does its job in one flashing stroke! At an even higher speed, the fluting head shoots back and takes on the next groove…

Rollers up to three meters long can be handled. How fast? that is up to the operator to determine. “It can work up to four times faster than the old one: useful for rush jobs.” The entire operation can be followed and controlled on a video screen or “smartphone”. Technology stands for nothing these days. Having said this, Anton turns off the light and locks the door. The tR810 continues unmanned “We’ll see tomorrow…”