How fruit juice and concentrate is produced?

 

Have you ever wondered how juice in your glass was made?

We know it well because we manufacture complete technological lines for juice and concentrate production.

We'll describe this production process for apple juice. In Poland, every year, there are tones of apples from plantations. Their vast portion is exported and the remaining part is sold unprocessed or it is used as a raw material for producing juice and concentrates.

I. Acceptance of raw material

The production process of fruit juice and concentrates begins with raw material purchasing. Fruit is verified in terms of quality before unloading. It should look healthy and be ripe. There are two unloading methods: wet (known as hydro-unloading) and dry. Both methods are used for unloading and transporting apples to silos of pre-production warehouse. B&P Engineering delivers and installs both types of unloading system at the customer's site.

Hydro-unloading system consists of:

  • automatically controlled water cannon used for rinsing fruit from a car
  • operator's rooms with control and pneumatic cabinet for system operation
  • bucket conveyor for vertical transport of raw material and separating water
  • floatable chute with draining devices which accepts raw material from bucket conveyor and the flap system directs it to respective silos

The delivery scope of dry unloading system includes:

  • hydraulic tipper for vehicles. Raw material is unloaded from a car through lifting the front part of the platform and emptying fruit to the hopper
  • operator's cabin
  • spiral sorter - separates impurities such as: leaves, branches, sand and stones
  • diagonal belt conveyor - takes raw material from the hopper
  • unloading belt conveyor - located above silos, directs the accepted raw material to respective storage chambers

Apples should be stored in small prisms. The producer aims at the fastest processing of the raw material received in order to prevent putrefactive processes and quality deterioration.

Fruits are washed depending on the unloading method applied: in two or in three stages

  • during hydro-transport from silos
  • through water spraying in front of the vertical elevator which transports fruits to the inspection belt
  • at the end of the inspection belt of tables through the system of spray nozzles

Fruits taken from silos by a sorting unit are transferred to the pulp preparation section. Another stage of juice production starts: fruit pulp preparation and processing.

II. Fruit pulp preparation and processing

Raw materials from pre-production warehouse are transferred to the dosing units (known as sorting units).  The task of the sorting unit is to dose apples evenly to the vertical screw feeder (known as elevator). Sorting units have designs individually adjusted to the capacity of elevator and floatable chutes. 

Apples transported by a feeder made of acidproof materials and plastics suitable for use with food are transferred to the inspection belt or roller table  Trained employees carry out inspection and reject raw material which does not satisfy the requirements.

Sorted material falls down to the mill. Replaceable or adjustable mill elements, such as: knives, sieves, pressing rollers enable adjusting to the quality of raw material and obtaining optimal pulp parameters.

A cutting line is controlled by the system automated with visualisation and operated from a touch panel on the control cabinet.

During pulp milling with the use of a membrane pump, enzyme preparations are added which aid the effectiveness of the pressing process.

In technologically justified cases, fruit pulp from the mill is directed to B&P Engineering pulp pipe heater. Pulp flows in the internal module pipe and it is heated by hot water to a set temperature.

Then, fruit pulp is pumped to pulp tanks and it will be taken to the next step in the production of juice and concentrates.

III. Juice yielding.

A correctly performed pressing stage guarantees maximum yield of juice from raw material.

An extrusion process starts with pre-filling of hydraulic piston-cylinder press IPS 10.000 . Pulp is pumped to a closed cylinder, filling up the pressure chamber space. It is a fully automated process owing to the self-optimising press control system, which determines the level of product extrusion at each process stage.

After completing the press filling-up cycle, pressing takes place. Piston presses the pulp and juice flows out through filtering elements to both juice chambers encased in the resistance board and press-down board. Then, the piston retracts, while the cylinder is rotating, thus, the entire pulp is carefully loosened. This phase is repeated in cycles and each piston feed is a few millimetres longer than the previous one.

Constant cylinder rotation during pressing cycles and expanding ensures the most advantageous loosening of the pulp pressed, thus guaranteeing maximum pressing efficiency.

IPS 10000 press enables extraction in one operating cycle through their watering and additional pressing. Pressing cycle is completed. Coat is opened and pressing pomace are discharged. Pressing pomace reach a screw feeder which transports them to their storage site.

Closed system guarantees the process hygiene without juice losses as well as a simple and automated washing process. Juice pressed in the press flows down to intermediate tanks. 

IV. Pasteurisation and dearomatisation

Unclarified juice from presses is directed from intermediate tanks to the section of pasteurisation and aroma recovery in evaporation stationPasteurisation takes place in the temperature from 95-105°C and it is to inactivate enzymes, obtain juice microbiological stabilisation, starch gelatinisation and protein denaturation. 

At the same time, aromatic substances are evaporated in the dearomatization process. One to two hundredfold aroma concentrate is obtained. Evaporation station ensures high process efficiency, rapid evaporation and low steam consumption. Automatic controlling with visualisation enables the operator to control the parameters of pasteurised juice on a current basis. Pasteurised juice is pumped to depectinisation tanks.

Depectinisation process is carried out in acid-proof tanks made by B&P Engineering which are equipped with stirrers. Tanks have perfect dimensions, ensuring correct dosing of enzymatic preparations through the station preparing fining agents. 

Fining agent preparation station consists of four tanks. Two tanks are used for preparing bentonite solution and the third one for sol. The fourth tank is designed for mixing and heating gelatin solution. In order to dose the agent, it is enough to set the dose, specify water amount and choose a process tank. Fining agent preparation station is a fully automated and compact device with visualisation system. Control system guarantees precise dosing of fining agents and limitation of losses.

After dosing the solution, a feeding line is rinsed and fining agent preparation station is automatically switched off. All the data are archived in compliance with the production control requirements, including but not limited to HACCP system. Depectinisation process is finished with pumping of unclarified juice to the batch tank from which is then taken to Ultrafiltration System

V. Ultrafiltration

Ultrafiltration stage starts with pumping of unclarified juice from depectinisation tanks to the batch tank. B&P Engineering ultrafiltration system is a fully automated Cross-Flow filtration device.

Depectinised unclarified juice reaches the batch tank and a high-efficiency centrifugal pump pumps juice with high velocity through membrane modules. A thin top layer is formed on the surface of membranes and some liquid penetrates through membrane channel as a ready product to the permeate tank. Retentate is condensed to obtain maximum concentration. Then it may undergo diafiltration to obtain extraction. After ultrafiltration process, juice is fed to fined juice tanks and it is taken again to evaporation station in order to condense it.

VI. Concentration

The heart of the line for producing fruit concentrates is multi-staged falling film evaporation station with a dropping juice film used for condensing apple juice and soft fruit (coloured).

During the entire juice production process, raw material reaches the evaporation station twice:

  • for the first time, as unclarified juice before ultrafiltration process in order to be pasteurised and dearomatised 
  • for the second time, as fined juice in order to be subjected to processes of initial and final condensation, inter-stage filtration and product cooling

Condensing process consists in feeding fined juice to the heating columns which flows down as a dropping film. Hot steam heats the column from the outside, reaches a boiling point and evaporating point of liquid which is released to the next condensation level. Vapours are directed to the separator and used for further heating. The product goes through subsequent evaporation stages to obtain an appropriate concentration degree. Modern and intuitive interface ensures simple and safe operating; it selects parameters in a fully automated manner for production cycles. Juice condensed in the evaporation station is cooled down and pumped in pipelines to the equalisation tank and after standardisation to storage tanks.

 

VII. Standardisation and Storage

Concentrate condensed in the evaporation station is cooled down to the temperature of approx 5-8°C and transported to the warehouse. Modern warehouses have a complete pipeline installation and controls which enable information archiving. The operating status of devices and respective systems in the room are visualised on the touch panel, thus enabling the supervision and control of the system from one place.

Before transferring the concentrate to storage tanks, standardisation takes place. It is an important stage which enables controlling concentrate quality and parameters. Laboratory tests the extraction, acidity, NTU and colour on the basis of intermediate tank sample.

Concentrates are distributed and dispatched from the warehouse through equalisation tanks. It allows for complete control over the quality and repeatability of load batches. Therefore, there are no product losses, it is easier to maintain cleanliness and tank truck filling takes less time.

Additional equipment: Pasteurizer, Mona Aseptic Filtration System, Adsorber.

The pasteurizer is designed to carry out pasteurization of the concentrate in order to preserve it. The concentrate is heated to between 65°C and 99°C to render microorganisms harmless and then it is cooled.The pasteurization kills microorganisms that are harmful to life and health. Once the pasteurization has been completed properly, our apple concentrate has a longer shelf life and preserved organoleptic properties.  

MONA aseptic filtration system (Alicyclobacillus elimination) allows eliminating ACB bacteria as well as improving the quality of concentrated juices, e.g. the quality of which deteriorated as a result of storage.The principle of MONA operation is based on three processes: heating, filtration, cooling.Application of the Mona system is the only effective way to eliminate ACB bacteria,

ADS XL adsorber is used for stabilisation and conditioning of apple juice.This device is applied for the production of high-quality concentrates, which have to meet high quality requirements regarding stability and colour. The adsorber is used any time the uf xl ultrafiltration system does not ensure the required quality elated to colour standardisation and does not guarantee long-term stability of juices and concentrates. 

 

VIII. Washing equipment and piping in production line

CIP (clean in place) station is used for washing installations, devices and pipelines in the production line in CIP system.

In the production process of juice and concentrates, washing station ensures cleanliness and hygiene in process tanks and storage tanks as well as in pipelines transporting raw material in pipelayers.

Washing products are prepared in the station in the form of working solutions and pumped to the device or installation which is to be cleaned. Then, they circulate in a closed circuit between CIP station and a given device within the time which ensures thorough cleaning at a set temperature. Washing temperature and solution concentration undergoes ongoing verification and automatic adjustment.

A washing procedure consists of the following phases:

  • recovery of the products remains from the technological system,
  • pre-rinsing of superficial staining,
  • washing with the use of cleaning agents (acid washing and alkali washing),
  • rinsing with clean water,
  • optional disinfection

Closed circuit washing allows for cleaning agent economy and reduction of sewage discharged. Working solutions are prepared in the CIP station in the concentrations recommended by the manufacturer and in adequate temperatures. Solutions are retained in three tanks insulated with a double coat and fed by a pump as needed.

If you are interested in cooperating with B&P Engineering, please contact us via the form on the contact page. 

Below is a set of eight videos that show how apple concentrate is produced by one of Poland's leading concentrate manufacturers.The production is carried out with application of machines, equipment and control systems manufactured by B&P Engineering.