Oilseed processing is a tremendously competitive industry, and as we talk with our clients around the globe, we’re learning what keeps plant owners, engineers, and managers up at night. Consistently during our meetings, we hear questions like: How can we improve inefficiencies in our process and cut energy costs? How can we improve the quality of our end-products? How can we increase capacity without investing heavily in equipment and adding to our already expensive costs for maintenance? We’ve asked these questions at Anderson International, too, and for decades our engineers have worked to design equipment to deliver answers, including technology that can double the capacity of the press: dry oilseed extrusion.
One of the most common concerns our clients bring up is the number of steps they must perform to prepare the oilseeds for the press, from cleaning and size reduction to the heat treatment processes needed to extract the oil. Depending on the type of oilseed, the sequence of operations is critical for processing efficiency and the desired quality of the end products. In traditional plant layouts, a series of machines perform these individual operations, often utilizing energy-draining equipment like steam batch cooking vessels and dryers. These machines are not only expensive to operate and maintain, but require significant heat residence time, up to 15-20 minutes. With extended heat exposure, the proteins and oil in the seeds are at higher risk of damage, degrading quality of the end products.
Building a better oilseed treatment process
To improve these operations, engineers must keep in mind both the mechanical principles involved as well as how seed structure and composition relate to the process. In a typical oilseed microstructure, the oil is contained within cell membranes, which are further protected by the outer cell wall. Processors use heat to break down the organic compounds making up the cell membranes and to rupture the cells, thus allowing for the release of the oil. Heat also deactivates harmful enzymes in the seeds, flash-dries excess moisture, and cooks the proteins for more efficient pressing. So how can processors reduce their oilseed treatment time, create better quality end products, and minimize costs of their labor and energy intensive operations? Anderson’s answer is our Dox, or, Dry Oilseed Extruder.
Advantages of Dox over traditional extrusion
Unlike the extensive set of operations required to pre-treat oilseeds during traditional preparation processes, the Anderson Dox combines size reduction and heat-treatment into one step. Instead of using separate machines to shear, flake, cook, and dry the oilseeds, the Dox generates mechanical heat through friction, simultaneously rupturing the oilseed cellular structure and using elevated pressure and high temperatures to shorten residence cooking time to approximately 20 seconds. With dry oilseed extrusion, processors eliminate the flaking mill and remove the steam heating and drying steps required in traditional stack cooking vessels. By combining operations in the Dox, processors can double the capacity of the downstream press and cut energy usage per ton in half. Moreover, by eliminating steam, processors no longer need to invest in an expensive industrial boiler system, keep a certified boiler technician on staff, or incur expenses for large-scale water utility usage, water treatment, and the chemicals preventing corrosion and scaling in the feed-water systems.
Lower CapEx, increased capacity and versatility with Anderson Dox
Along with lowering operating and maintenance costs with dry oilseed extrusion, processors realize lower capital expenditures, higher capacity, and with our Dox-Hivex, the ability for extrusion of high oil content seeds. Because the Dox combines seed pre-treatment operations in one machine, processors use a smaller footprint in their plants, opening up space to add capacity when they’re ready to invest in new equipment. And with significantly shorter processing times, especially under temperature, processors can handle more material to feed their expeller presses. The oil is easy to recover because it’s been extruded and released by the Dox, requiring less force from the press and ultimately extending its wear life. Additionally, our newly developed 12-inch Dox, currently the largest dry extruder on the market, can process up to six times the capacity of competing equipment. And we’re the only company with a dry extruder able to handle materials with over 30% oil content, using our Dox-Hivex, which captures free-flowing oil in a drainage cage while processing sunflower, canola, copra, palm kernel, and other high oil content seeds.
In one instance, for a startup client in Sweden, we installed the Dox-Hivex as a replacement for a legacy extruder built without a drainage cage. Since the client processed sunflower oil, the existing system required a pre-press step before feeding the extruder and then moving the material to full press. Basically, without a drainage cage, the sunflower material needed to be pre-pressed down to the 18-20% oil range before it could be extruded and finally pressed down to 6-8%. When we started the dry extruder process with the drainage cage, the plant owner understood the impact immediately as he watched the free oil the Dox-Hivex liberated. By combining pre-press and extrusion in one machine, the company saved significantly on their CapEx and operating costs.
With all the cost savings and added capacity dry extrusion can bring to our seed processors, perhaps now our clients can get some well-deserved rest!
Contact us today and ask about our Dry Oilseed Extruder.