&Feed millinG technoloGy
14 | January - February 2014
using NIR technology
ne fact in rapeseed processing is: the higher the exploitation in oil, the higher the profit.
Bunge Deutschland GmbH implements
and realises this basic principle through
real-time process-control with NIR-Online
Overall, 3,500 tonnes of rape seeds are
processed day by day at Bunge Oil Mill in
Mannheim, Germany with two identical
production lines. Production yields are 2,000
tonnes of rapeseed meal which is further
used for feed processing and 1,500 tonnes
of raw oil for further biodiesel and refined
edible oil production after neutralization.
Rapeseeds pass through a press resulting
in press cake and press oil, representing
two-thirds of the profitable oil output of the
oil seeds. In the next step, the oil from the
remaining press cake is further exploited via
extraction process. This process is energy
and time demanding and, hence, Bunge has
set a limit for the percentage of oil to be
tolerated to remain in the press cake.
Deficits due to time-delayed
But when exactly has this percentage
been reached and when has the maximum
exploitation of oil been realised? “Previously,
this question could not be answered satisfyingly since for process control, the analytical
methods were restricted to nuclear magnetic resonance analysis and further laboratory
methods,” said Moritz Lücke, production
manager, Bunge Germany. “The results of
these time-delayed methods only reflect a
given moment in time and, hence, real-time
intervention to the process was not possible
in the case that there was scope for increase
This situation changed after application of
NIR-Online industrial spectrometers. These
systems are small and
handy analytical instruments which can be
directly mounted at the outlet of the press
and extraction installation for real-time measurement of the oil and moisture content of
the press cake - 24 hours a day, seven days
a week. This is obtained by successive emission of light in the near infrared (NIR) region
trough a vision panel. The light interacts with
the press cake which is transported by chain
conveyer and the reflected light is recorded
by photo diode arrays. The important point is
that the composition of the reflected light is
subject to the oil and moisture content.
These measurement values are further
processed by dedicated software which is
integrated into the industrial spectrometers.
The measuring curve is displayed in real-time
to the operators at Bunge control room.
Furthermore, the measurement values are
directly integrated into the process control
system of Oil Mill Mannheim.
“Assuming the press cake exceeds the
accepted moisture level, the operator at
the control room can directly intervene to
ensure that the upstream rape seeds are
subject to stronger drying during steps of
conditioning,” said Roland Bauer, assistant
production manager for seed processing,
“This is because the higher the moisture
content of the press cake, the more difficult
it gets to exploit the oil in the subsequent
Direct indication about the final rate of oil
exploitation is provided by the measurement
values of the second NIR-Online spectrometer, analysing the rapeseed meal at the end
of the extraction step.
Applicable in explosive
Industrial spectrometers can also be used
under potentially explosive environment. For
example, during the extraction process using
Hexane as a solvent, constituting another
important advantage for Bunge.
“Other comparable analytical systems are
not vibration-free and have no ATEX GasEx-certification. Instead, they are fitted into an
explosion-proof cabinet making it necessary
to work with optical fibre in order to reach
the true measurement position,” said Klaus
Klawun, head of laboratory, Bunge Germany.
“This is quite complex and results in far
weaker measuring impulse and inferior measuring results compared to an NIR-Online
device. Furthermore, the integrated software
is characterized by high user friendliness and
this is especially important for the laboratory
team at Bunge: Here, the industrial spectrometers are used for continuous generation of
the reference values for rapeseed processing.”
Transparency in just two hours
The new analytical method allows Bunge
to control the complete production process for the first time - from the pressing of
the rapeseed to the extraction. This whole
process lasts around two hours and after
this time span, Bunge can assess whether
the process is running under optimal conditions, i.e. whether the maximum amount of
oil is exploited from the press cake. In the
case where there is room for improvement,
the operator at the control room is able to
counteract undesirable development which
prevents financial losses.
“Traditional analytical methods provide
the results after around one day and in the
past we were not able to tell whether the
individual sampling was prone to outlier or
whether the whole process was deficient,”
said Moritz Lücke.
“Throughout the whole time we were
virtually operating without knowledge of
real-time information about the process
Those responsible at Bunge now know
about the true optimization potential of rapeseed processing, thanks to continuous realtime control of the pressing and extraction
process - purposefully increasing the profit.
The refinery should also benefit
In order to also benefit from the advantages of real time process control during
steps of refinery, the Oil Mill Mannheim plans
the acquisition of additional NIR-Online
industrial spectrometers this year. These systems are meant to be used during steps of
de-sliming and neutralization of the pressed
oil for determination of the concentration
of phosphorus and free fatty acids. The
potential for improving these processes are
significant: each day Bunge produces 1,500
tonnes of raw oil from which 70 percent is
further processed for generations of biodiesel by an external company, 30 percent is
used for edible oil generation at their own
15 | January - February 2014
How to get the mix
right with in-line NIR
by Richard Mills, FOSS,
outh African grain suppliers Senwes
have tried out a new way of using near
infrared (NIR) analysis to optimize
the use of increasingly scarce high-protein
wheat in blends going into milling. The new
instrument will now become a permanent
feature, helping to get the very best out of
both high- and low-protein material.
In the fairy tale ‘Rumpelstiltskin’, a miller
boasts to a king that his daughter can spin
straw into gold.
While nothing can make this enduring
dream come true, modern process analytical technology in the form of an in-line NIR
analysis system is making a real difference
to what millers can get out of wheat grain
deliveries. It is not exactly turning straw into
gold, but is perhaps the next best thing given
the increasing scarcity of high quality wheat.
The new (190x132mm)(outlines)_Layout
Corporate Banner process analysis solution called 1
ProFoss has been on trial at a
Senwes facility in South Africa.
The solution consists of an NIR
analyser, a sample interface and
special software for graphical
display of the results.
It has been used at a group
of silos next to a large mill. The
different silos contain different minimum
protein levels: 9 percent, 10 percent, 12
percent and so on. The sample interface is
installed in a pipe that delivers grain from
the different silos onto a conveyor belt that
serves the mill.
The sample interface is installed by cutting
a hole in the pipe of about 10 cm diameter.
It has a sapphire window that sits flush with
the sides of the pipe, allowing the NIR unit to
take measurements on the grain as it flows by.
Measurements are made every few seconds and the results are displayed on a
computer in the control room, where they
can be viewed as a trend graph to make it
easy to keep track of the protein content. If,
for example, 11 percent protein is the target
and the level starts to fall below that, then a
little higher protein wheat can be added to
stabilize the overall protein content.
Lower grade to higher grade
Manager of special products Mariana
Purnell describes how the ProFoss analyser was installed at the Senwes facility in
When the analyser was brought into use,
there were just over 5000 tonnes of grade
23/12/2013 08:54 Page 1
&Feed millinG technoloGy
B1, about 4000 tonnes of B2
and 4500 tons of B3 grade, and
lower amounts of lower grades.
The process analysis system
enables continuous monitoring of
wheat protein levels, allowing inline adjustment to regulate the
blending and maintaining specific
protein levels during outloading. As indicated
by the B1–B3 columns, this resulted in all the
lower grades being blended with higher protein
grades, yielding B1 and B3 grades that were
considerably higher than the initial stock level.
“We successfully managed the optimization of all protein levels and the homogeneity
of quality in all wheat batches,” says Purnell.
“As far I am concerned the ProFoss works
very well for managing your grain quality as
it monitors 100 percent of the batch being
loaded and really keeps protein fluctuation
within a narrow band.”
She also points out that it is of course
important to have the right quantities available to maximize the usefulness of NIR
The trial completed, the plan is now to
put the system into use on a permanent
basis. “We can see that the level of control
and management of the protein level being
shipped out is far superior to when it is
controlled by a human being who does infrequent sampling and testing,” says Purnell.
“By gathering more precise data of protein units leaving the silo, one can be assured
of a lower number of disputes related to
protein levels and subsequent downgrading."
January - February 2014
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