Palm oil extraction process
Palm oil is an edible oil that is extracted from palm fruit. This process is normally done in a palm oil extraction plant. The palm oil extraction process takes a number of steps as elaborated below:
The first step entails harvesting of the fresh fruits. These fruits are harvested all year round though there are high and low seasons. Most of the oil is formed in the last 2 weeks of this process. You have to have the right judgement of repining if you want a great produce. The harvesting process involves removal of the fruit bunches from the plant. This is done by hand with the help of harvesting tools such as scythe and sacho.
It involves cooking of the fresh bunches by use of live steam for 90 to 120 minutes. The objectives of the sterilization process include: Inactivation of Lipase enzyme；Ensuring the fruit easily come out of the bunches; Softening of the fruit; Ensuring nut/pulp separation is easy; Proteins coagulation.
After the cooking process, bunches are put in a thresher. The thresher is normally a drum with holes on the side. This is where bunches are centrifuged to ensure the fruits are separated. Once this is done the bunch waste is burnt. Its ash is extremely rich in potassium thus used in compost.
This process simply entails breaking down of the oil-bearing cells. This is done in order to release the palm oil from the fruit. A cup elevator is use to lift the fruits to the top of the digester vessel. This digester has agitator shafts and live steam heating system. The key goal of the process is to break the oil cells which makes oil extraction easier. This is done at a temperature of between 90 to 100 ºC for a duration of 30 minutes.
This is done immediately after the material comes out of the digester. This process produces slurry that is composed of around 53% palm oil, 40% water and 7% solids. A cake that composes of nuts and fiber is also produced during this process. The pressing process can either be dry or wet. The dry process entails squeezing of the palm oil out of the mixture of moisture, oil, nuts and fiber. This is done by application of mechanical pressure on the digested mash. The wet process is different since it entails leaching out of the oil by use of hot water.
Clarification, Purification, and Packaging
This entails separation of oil from the impurities. These impurities include fine solids and water. It is done in 3 phase decanters and settling tanks in the palm oil extraction plant. The extracted oil is then put in plate centrifuges for purification then dried under vacuum. The final step involves filtering of the oil in order to get rid of any particulate matter after which the oil is packed in drums.
Losses during extraction of oil
The empty solids and bunches that come out of the clarification phase are utilized as organic fertilizers. The shells are used as fuel in boilers thus steam turbines are used by palm oil production plants to generate their own electricity. The fibers produced contain approximately 7% oil content.
Tips on setting up palm oil extraction plant
If you are planning to set up a palm oil extraction plant, below is a list of tips:
- Locate your palm oil extraction plant in a place with good road access.
- Choose a building with enough space to ensure easy movement of the workers without blocking each other’s way.
- Make all the doors and windows insect-proof and seal any cracks in floors and walls.
- Do good researches in order to get the best sources of palm fruit and palm oil packaging and palm oil processing equipment.
- Don’t go for large equipment if your sales are down. Start with small palm oil processing machinery and increase your capacity as your sales increase.
- Provide sufficient training to the operators to ensure safe use of the palm oil production equipment.
ABC Machinery, with great resources, have established its brand in manufacturing palm oil extraction machines and successfully built up palm oil extraction plants over the world. You are welcomed to ask your questions about palm oil extraction costs and machines. If there are any questions about palm oil extraction processes or machinery, please let us know. Below is our contact details, you are welcomed at anytime.