Ribes Oli Production process

PRODUCTION PROCESS

The production process is developed according to the following outline:

Olives are received in our facilities, where we identify their origin, source and landowner (either own, local or from an underground silo). Once clean and without impurities, they are weighed on a continuous scales. A sample is collected to test acidity, oil quantity and oxidation for quality, as well as visual control. After testing them, we sort olives according to their qualities and divide them in different silos.

There is also a weighbridge on the outside.

Technology involved: The scales software links every quantity weighed at once with the olive grower’s land and with other internal administrative control processes, i.e. the product traceability process. Further analyses take place in the control laboratory at the foot of the scales.

Environmental criterion: A criterion of proximity between olive production and its treatment is one of the most important advantages, as it means a substantial reduction of transport, a significant fuel economy, fewer emissions to the atmosphere, and a better fruit processing because olives are milled on the same day they are received and are not kept in granaries.

After being tested for quality, olives are led to a cleaning machine, through a conveyor belt, where any remaining branches or twigs are extracted and discarded by an electric fan that removes leaves from other olive remains. Then the washing machine takes out any remaining dirt and stones that might have made it through the initial sorter.

Technology involved: Olives are placed in a bubbling water stream that makes dirt and stones sink to the bottom of the washing barrel, from where they will be automatically taken away.

Environmental criterion: In this washing process there is an internal water recirculation system, so that water can be used again in further pre-washing processes. Automatic dirt and stones decantation enables a correct washing water management, so no waste is dumped at this stage. When its cleaning capacity is over, water is decanted to dilute the alperujo (olive pomace paste).

Grinding starts after olives have been washed and stored in hoppers with regulatory mechanisms in their ends. Grinding consists of a hammer crusher inside a sieve with holes that turns in the opposite direction of the hammers. They adapt to fruit size and hardness.

Technology involved: In this process we use an automatic grinding system with different speeds and different sieve sizes and hardness, for which reason the grinding process becomes more efficient, cleaner and of a higher quality.

The resulting olive paste after grinding is added by gravity to a set of hydraulic mixers that crush it through shafts with spiral blades, to end up with the right homogeneity and temperature. Peripheral and central linear velocity of crushing blades are meant to group the small oil particles, which are in suspension and spread throughout the ground olive paste. The olive paste is heated with hot water in forced circulation by peripheral heating chambers, with a constant and controlled temperature at all times. Hot water is supplied and the olive paste transported to horizontal centrifuges by a hydraulic system and a solomon-like pump, with flow regulation monitored through the control panel. Olives can be automatically or manually supplied to the mills, so can the olive paste in the crushing process.

Technology involved: The crushing process consists of an internal hot water circuit that heats the olive paste in order to efficiently extract high quality oil. A pump takes the resulting olive paste to the decanter. It also has a level probe that automatically starts or stops the grinding process. Water is added to the olive paste by a hydraulic system according to olive type or working conditions.

The centrifugation process separates olive oil from pomace and vegetation water. The resulting olive paste after crushing is put in a horizontal centrifuge, where it is separated into the main three phases: solid phase (pomace), heavy liquid phase (vegetation water) and light liquid phase (oil). The solid phase and vegetation water are carried through the decanter to nozzles where the solid phase comes out. These nozzles are not so close to the shaft, under the nozzle where the oil comes out.

Technology involved: Two simultaneous processes take place in the horizontal centrifugation: pomace and vegetation water mixture comes out and so does the oil through the nozzle to a vibro-filter, where solid impurities in suspension are removed.

Environmental criterion: Once oil is separated, “alperujo” (pomace + vegetation water mixture) is stored in silos in the exterior courtyard. Olive stones are separated from the pulp so they can be used as biomass in the heating boiler combustion. What the boiler does not destroy is stored for an authorized company to pick it and reuse it in another industry, so no waste is dumped at this stage -it becomes a by-product of the main activity.

Oil is decanted by gravity in Firenze stainless steel decanters with a capacity of 20,000 kg. Oil and oily water are then separated by a process of decantation. Oily water is entirely recirculated back to the crushing process.

The oil is stored in stainless steel storage tanks, then taken to the packing shed to be packed and marketed.

Technology involved: Packing consists of a filling, sealing and labelling computerized system that guarantees a fast and hygienic process.

Environmental criteria: Containers used for oil marketing (glass and PET) can be recycled after their use. They are also registered in ECOEMBES under reference number Q1965JRI, becoming part of an integrated packaging management system.

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