People are more concern with the food they are getting for them and their family in today’s world. They refuse to consume anything that can hamper their health conditions. They have managed to consider a good food habit for every day. When it comes to good food habit, it is essential to add good vegetable oil to the list. Palm oil is one of the most renowned vegetable oil for its exceptional nutrition and applications. Many manufacturers use palm oil in bread, cracker, margarine, soap and even in lipstick as a substitute for fatty acid or trans fat. For the increasing demand of palm oil, the oil processing plants around the world are taking new methods invented by high-tech technology for efficient oil processing. Many researchers and developers have provided to accomplish a fully mechanized process to extract the palm oil from harvested oil palm bunch with the assurance of high quality of the processed oil.
The oil winning process start with the reception of palm fruit bunches from the plantation and then threshing the bunch to free the palm fruits for extracting the crude palm oil. As the manufacturers export the palm oil at an international scale, they need to ensure that the best quality is maintained throughout the processing palm oil. The whole palm oil process is described below step by step.
- Bunch reception: the fruits are taken to the processing plant as bunches or loose fruits. The fruits are stored in wooden crates for measuring weight easily before processing. In case of large scale of products, weighbridge is used to weight products in trucks. The quality of the oil depends on the quality of these fruits. Oil processing plant can not improve the quality but they can minimize the amount of low-quality fruits to achieve required standard.
- Threshing: This step involves cutting the fruit spikelet from the bunch and then separating the fruit by hand when it is done manually. In terms of the mechanized way, a rotating drum with beater bars is used to detach the fruit from the spikelet.
- Sterilization: in this step, the loose fruits are cooked with hot water. The alternative way to sterilization is using pressurized steam. This prepares the fruits for the next step of processing.
- Digestion of the fruit: this process involves releasing the oil from the fruit by breaking oil bearing cells. The fruits are put in a digester with beater bars that rotates and breaks the outer shell of the fruit. High temperature causes the reduction of viscosity of the oil.
- Pressing: there are two types of methods to extract oil from digested materials. One is dry method that uses mechanical presses to squeeze the oil out of the mixture of digested materials. The other one is called the wet method that uses hot water to leach out the oil.
- Clarification: this step is mainly performed to separate the oil from the impurities by adding water and applying heat. It causes the solid materials to separate from the oil and let the oil flow to another tank for further refining.
After concluding all these steps, palm oil can be obtained to provide in different sectors for production uses.