Optimal Expression of Oils – key to oilseeed sector future
Modernisation and Technological Up gradation for reduced Processing Cost
Molecular Distillation for Edible Rice Bran Oil – The Complete Solution
Total Quality Management – to maximize food value of mustard oil

Optimal Expression of Oils – key to oilseed sector future

Indian Oilseed sector has not been able to live up to the promise shown a decade ago. The oilseed production levels have largely remained stagnant and the oil import bill has been mounting every year. Liberalisation of economy has exposed the shortcomings of Indian farm sector as well as oilseed and oil processing sector, which has not kept pace with the technological advances. Inconsistent government policies and delayed actions have further added to the woes of the sector.

Mechanical Crushing (popularly known as oil milling) of Oilseeds is a basic step in oilseed processing for Mustard seed, Groundnut, Sunflower, Safflower, Cottonseed, Sesame seed, Castorseed etc. The processing dominated by small, unorganised and primitive oil mills, is labour intensive and inefficient, which has a cascading effect in forward as well as backward direction. Industry segment comprises of Kolhus (for mustard and sesame
seeds), mechanical screw presses and expanders (as preparatory to Solvent Extraction Plants) with unit sizes of 10TPD to 400TPD. Oil milling of major oilseeds is reserved for small-scale sector, which are unable to compete in the liberalised economy.

Oil milling of mustard seeds in India deploys multistage crushing which requires larger space and operative labour, inhibits mechanisation and consumes higher energy and results in poor quality of oil and cakes. The screw presses being used are susceptible to high wear & tear, downtime and maintenance costs because of older designs and poor metallurgy. Optimal expression of oilseeds requires adequate preparation and minimum
stages of crushing. With the advancement of technology, higher capacity presses (30-270 TPD) are available and it is now possible to crush mustard seeds in a single stage, which results in lower space requirement, lesser material movement and lower energy consumption. The controlled crushing of oilseeds with minimal rise of temperature ensures better quality of oil and oilcakes.

Replacement of conventional milling equipment with high technology, energy efficient systems can bring about substantial benefits which outweigh the higher initial capital cost (additional investment recoverable within a year) and can make the sector internationally
competitive. However, a time bound programme is required to phase out inefficient screw presses and replace them with energy efficient ones with participation of all concerned.
Special Incentive package by government and financial institutions are required for rehabilitation and upgradation of mechanical crushing of facilities including ‘De-regulation’. Further formation of consortia of small oil millers and promotion of direct consumption of filtered expressed oils can go a lon
g way to improve the overall health of the sector.


Oilseed Sector – an overview

Near stagnant oilseed production since 90’s
Self sufficiency appears a distant dream
Riddled with inconsistent government policies and lopsided liberalisation
Minimum support price of oilseeds losing relevance
Negligible up gradation of processing technologies

Mechanical Crushing of Oilseeds

Basic step in oilseed processing for Mustard seed, Groundnut, Sunflower,
Safflower, Cottonseed, Sesame seed, Castorseed etc.
Employs large work force Small, unorganised and primitive oil mills dominate the bulk
of total installed capacity
Inefficiency has cascading effect in forward as well as backward direction

Present Status of Mustard Seed Crushing

Industry segment comprises of Kolhus, mechanical screw presses and expanders
Reserved for small scale sector 

Unit sizes – 10 TPD to 400 TPD with 10 to 100 TPD forming the bulk
Primitive design and small sizes of screw presses
Labour intensive and inefficient operations
Poor financial health of the industry
Unable to compete in liberalised economy

Problems with Existing System

Multi stage crushing
Difficult and expensive to mechanise
Larger space and operative labour requirement
Poor energy efficiency / high electricity bills
High wear & tear, downtime and maintenance costs
Poor quality of oil and cakes

Expression of Mustard Oil – the efficient way

Moisture control, Cleaning, destoning, flaking and conditioning a must
Essentials of good screw presses for oilseeds
Least stages of crushing
Minimal rise in temperature of oil and oil cake
High wear and abrasion resistant working parts
Sturdy and rugged design
Low power consumption
Hygienic pre and post filtration storage of oil

Modern Screw Presses

Option for Single finish pressing (even for high oil content materials),
pre-pressing as well as cold pressing (temperature of oil not exceeding 55 o C)
Capacities ranging up to 120 TPD for Single Finish Pressing and 300 TPD for Pre Pressing
Rugged construction, special steels for high wear and abrasion resistance permitting 20 – 30,000 MT crushing without rebuilding of worms
Extremely low energy consumption of the order of 45-50 KWH / MT for single finish crushing
Easy to operate features with progr
ammable memory control

Comparative Advantages

Markedly superior quality of outputs – both oils and oil cakes
Lower floor space (40% of conventional systems)
Simplified conveying system
Lesser operative staff due to lesser m/c’s & automated operational features
Dramatically reduced down time – opening of machine after 400 – 450 days of working as against 20-30 days
Substantial reduction in energy consumption : 45-50 KWH/MT as against 90 – 105 KWH/MT

Cost Benefit Analysis

Parameter Conventional System Efficient System Cost Difference
Requir-ement Cost
(Rs. Lacs)
Require-ment Cost
(Rs. Lacs)
% Amt.
(Rs. Lacs)
Cost of P&M Additional Investment 75.00
155.00 106.70 80.00
1. Floor Space (M2) 400 10.0 150 4.50 45.00 5.50
2. Operative Labour (No.) 45 16.20 9 5.40 33.33 10.80
3. Down Time (hrs/PA) 120 4.00 12 0.40 10.00 3.60
4. Energy Consumption KWH/MT) 90-110 78.00 45-50 37.05 47.50 40.95
5. Quality Benefit Rs./MT 500 39.60 39.60
Total Benefit/Annum
Payback Period (Additional Investment)
9 – 11 months

Projected Gains

At national level, energy efficient crushing of oilseeds means:

Savings of Rs. 180-200 crores for expression of mustard seeds with an investment of Rs. 300-320 crores, of which Rs. 70-80 crores are for energy savings
Savings of Rs. 225-250 crores in rushing of other oil bearing materials with an investment of Rs. 450-500 crores
This additional revenue, if shared with the farmer and ploughed back for upgradation of farming and processing, has the potential to impart competitive edge to the oilseed

Modernisation and Technological Up gradation for reduced Processing Cost
Ashok Jain, Managing Director, Vibrandt Project Consultants [P] Ltd. (VPCL), Delhi

Modernisation & Technological Up gradation – a must for Sectoral competitiveness

Indian Oilseed Sector presently, is not able to compete internationally due to the combined effects of low farm level productivity; multi-tier trading and excessive middlemen and lack of requisite modernisation and technological up gradation in storage, preparation, conveying and transportation, processing and packaging. The net result is that the Oilseed Sector finds itself at cross roads today – the farmer and the processor both are finding it difficult to survive in the globalised scenario. The poor performance of the sector over a long period has further diminished its capacity to modernize and technologically upgrade. For the Oilseed sector to perform better, pragmatic Government Policies and Technological Up-gradation in farm practices
as well as processing would be essential. Past experience has shown that for all agro based industries, up gradation in processing techniques and better market practices are the two most important factors that enable the industry to attain competitive edge and be in a position to pay remunerative prices to the farmer who then can work on improving farm level productivity. Improvement in processing techniques not only
leads to lower manufacturing costs and better recoveries, it also results in better quality of outputs and easier marketability of the produce. Generation of higher revenues in the processing sector invariably have the cascading effect on the farm sector 
Problems in Oilseed Processing

Expression of Oil
This section of the industry comprises of Kolhus, Mechanical Screw presses, and expanders, with capacities ranging from 10 TPD to 400 TPD. The units deploy expeller machines of primitive designs that are labour intensive, consume high energy, with high maintenance costs and not properly networked with down stream processing units. Quality, hygiene and safety standards are not up to the mark. The cumulative effect is low capacity utilisation, poor financial health and inability to compete in liberalised economy.

Solvent Extraction
This section consists of batch type, semi-continuous and automatic plants with 55-60% capacity with automatic plants and capacities ranging from 20 – 1000 TPD. The extractors are mostly horizontal chain type or rotary type. Major problems are with poor preparation of feed materials, inadequate process control during various stages, inefficient vacuum and heat exchange systems, non-adoption of energy and power saving means and negligible integration with oil milling industry.
The resultant effect is high steam, hexane and power consumption and inconsistent quality of oil and de-oiled meals.

Refining and Hydrogenation
Refining and Vanaspati plants in India deploy a combination of automatic and batch type processes with plant capacities ranging from 5 TPD to 300 TPD. Major problems with this section are continuing prevalence of batch type neutralisation, bleaching and deodorisation techniques, poor process control, inefficient vacuum and heat exchange systems, continuing use of inefficient pumps and refrigeration systems (for Vanaspati plants) and inadequate quality control.

Optimal Expression of Oils.
Mechanical crushing of Oilseeds is the basic step for the processing of Mustard seed, Groundnut, Sunflower, Safflower, Cottonseed, Sesame seed, Castorseed etc. This basic step has technologically not kept pace with the rest of the world and the result is

Employs large work force
· Multi stage crushing
· Difficult and expensive to mechanise
· Larger space and operative labour requirement
· Poor energy efficiency / high electricity bills (see Table 1)
· High wear & tear, downtime and maintenance costs
· Poor quality of oil and cakes
· Inadequate hygiene and safety standards

Essentials of good screw presses for oilseeds
· Moisture control, Cleaning, de stoning, flaking / disintegration of feed and conditioning a must
· Least stages of crushing
· Minimal rise in temperature of oil and oil cake
· High wear and abrasion resistant working parts
· Sturdy and rugged design
· Low power consumption
· Hygienic pre and post filtration storage of oil

Modern Screw Presses
The world over, the screw presses lately being used have the following distinct features:

· Option for Single finish pressing (even for high oil content materials), pre-pressing as well as cold pressing (temperature of oil not exceeding 55 o C)
· Capacities ranging up to 120 TPD for Single Finish Pressing and 300 TPD for Pre Pressing
· Rugged construction, special steels for high wear and abrasion resistance permitting 20 – 30,000 MT crushing without rebuilding of worms
· Extremely low energy consumption of the order of 45-50 KWH / MT for single finish crushing
· Easy to operate features with programmable memory control

Comparative Advantages

Processing of Mustard Seed or for that matter any other oilseed in such modern screw presses leads to:
· Markedly superior quality of outputs – both oils and oil cakes
· Lower floor space (40% of conventional systems)
· Simplified conveying system
· Lesser operative staff due to lesser m/c’s & automated operational features
· Dramatically reduced down time – opening of machine after 400 – 450 days of working as against 20-30 days
· Substantial reduction in energy consumption : 45-50 KWH/MT as against 90 – 105 KWH/MT

Projected Gains

A careful study of the above mentioned cost benefit analysis reveals that at national level, optimum / energy efficient crushing of oilseeds deploying modern screw presses could achieve savings of Rs. 500-600 crores per annum for expression of oil seeds with an investment of Rs. 400-480 crores, of which energy savings alone are Rs. 200-240 crores. In per MT terms, the gains amount to Rs 480-500 /MT which are quite substantial. This additional revenue, if shared with the farmer and ploughed back for up gradation of farming and processing, has the potential to impart competitive edge to the beleaguered oilseed sector.

Table 1
Cost Benefit Analysis

Parameter Conventional
Cost Difference
Requirement Cost
(Rs. Lacs)
Requirement Cost
(Rs. Lacs)
% Amt.
(Rs. Lacs)
Investment – P&M Investment – Civil Works
A] Additional Investment





150 M2


(-) 62.5



(-) 7.50


1. Operative Labour (No.)
2. Down Time (hrs/PA)
3. Energy Consumption (KWH/MT)
B] Total
C] Quality Advantage Rs./MT
Payback Period @ 80% cap. utilisation With
quality benefit 
Without quality benefit
8-9 Months

15 Months

Present Status of Mustard Seed Crushing

Mustard Seed crushing is traditionally done through Kolhus and mechanical screw presses and expanders. As per the prevalent government policy, crushing of mustard is reserved for small scale sector (except for co-operative / Government sector. The unit sizes vary from 10 TPD to 400 TPD with 10 to 100 TPD forming the bulk. It is also a fact that most of the units are based on primitive designs and small capacity of screw presses. The operations are quite labour intensive and efficiency levels are low. All this has led to poor quality of outputs, higher manufacturing costs and consequently bad financial health and inability to face the competition form international quarters.

Modernisation and Technology Upgradation initiative undertaken by MRPC and VPCL

As a follow up action of the presentation made by VPCL during MRPC’c National Convention during March 2000, an expert panel under the chaimanship of Mr. S.K.Batra, Sr. Processing Technologist, TMOP&M was constituted which decided to initiate modernisation and technological up gradation of the cluster of mustard processing units in Bharatpur – Alwar region. An elaborate proposal in this regard was later approved by Technology Bureau of Small Enterprises, New Delhi. MRPC in collaboration with VPCL has started work on this project, which essentially involves:

Phase – I Cluster Characterisation, Assessment and Scoping Study
Phase – II Identification of candidate units
Phase – III Preparation of Unit Specific Modernisation Reports
Phase – IV Implementation of Modernisation Package
Phase – V Dissemination of Results and Benefits

Aspects related to the processing of Rapeseed – Mustard to be taken up in the project

1. Raw material receipt and storage
2. Preparatory
3. Material handling during receipt, storage, preparation as well as crushing stages
4. Crushing of rapeseed mustard, handling of oil and oil cake
5. Oil Storage, foots separation and handling, filtration systems etc.
6. Packaging
7. Quality Control
8. Off-sites and Utilities
9. Common facilities for the cluster / group of units as well as centralised facilities in respect of cleaning / grading of mustard at market yards, qualitative assessment using moisture balances and NIR equipment etc., packaging and marketing of the outputs etc.
10. Training of manpower in respect of raw material procurement, storage and handling, crushing, operational parameters, packaging, quality control and marketing

Molecular Distillation for Edible Rice Bran Oil – The Complete Solution


1. Preamble:

Rice Bran Oil because of its health friendly properties offers excellent opportunity to Indian Edible Oil Industry particularly for:

Improving availability of indigenous health friendly edible oils at affordable prices
Preservation and recovery of vitamins and micro-nutrients for pharmaceutical purposes
Value added products – health supplements, cosmetic uses etc.

Rice Bran Oil, however, being a difficult oil to process requires special technology mainly to ensure that the rich vitamins and micro-nutrients in the form of tocopherols, tocotrienols, oryzanol and Squalene are not only preserved but can also be recovered.

2. Molecular Distillation Process:

Molecular Distillation is a proven, extremely versatile but little known and under utilized process. This process combines the operational advantage of thin film evaporation technology (max. heat and mass transfer, near plug flow, minimum residence time, low hold up and minimum film thickness) with the process advantages of operation at the lowest possible vaporization temperature by operating at the lowest practical pressure thereby considerably reducing the heat history of the product being handled. Molecular
Distillation process is highly suitable for

separationof materials that decompose at or near their boiling points
contains materials which contain a mixture of high or low boiling points
for a mixture of compounds with relatively similar volatility at atmospheric pressure
materials that are very viscous
materials which have high melt points
where conventional batch or continuous distillation is being deployed with marginal quality, purity and yield results

The hallmark of the process is the deployment of very high vacuum of the order of 1 micron for reducing boiling temperature and consequently the thermal stresses. The process has wide ranging applications and has been successfully used for the manufacture Vitamin E, Alpha Hydroxy Fatty Acid, Vitamin Enriched Cooking Oil (VECO), P-25, tocotrienols, Flavour Enhancer, Protein Extracts, Vitamin E concentrate, Orange Oil Wax, Lemon Oil wax etc. Specialty Oil Refineries have set using this process for recovery of Tocols, Oryzanol and Squalene from Rice Bran Oil and Carotenoids from Palm Kernel and Palm Oils.

3. Refining of Rice Bran Oil using Molecular Distillation Process

Molecular Distillation process offers a particularly attractive possibility for Refining of Rice bran Oil. Rice Bran oil with FFA as high as 35% can be refined using Molecular Distillation process. Table quality refined oil with excellent characteristics in respect of FFA, colour, iodine value, refractive index and unsaponifiable matter etc. have been produced using this process. These have been subjected to a Taste Test by World-renowned laboratory – Diversified Research Laboratories of Toronto, Canada and were judged at level 9 (as against 5 – 7 for Asian and North American Oils). With this process it is also possible to retain/recover vitamins and micro – nutrients to the extent of 50-80% depending upon overall characteristics of the feed oil. These micro – nutrients are recovered in dilute form and the concentration varies for different oils. The fatty distillates recovered have purity in excess of 90%. Notwithstanding the unique features in respect of output quality and recovery of Vitamins and Nutrients, salient operational advantages of the process are as under:

Recovery of FFA without the use of stripping steam thus ensuring
higher purity of free fatty acids removed
elimination of contaminated steam condensate and associated disposal
reduced steam consumption
Dramatically reduced processing time resulting in less heat history
of the product
Low oil inventory in the processing equipment which permits rapid changeovers
Perfect flexibility for different types of oils / feed specifications to ensure round the year operation

4. Emerging Business Proposition:

To evolve a commercially viable proposition out of the opportunity described here in before following factors require careful attention:

01. Engineering Support: The Molecular Distillation process is a carefully designed process optimized after sustained research. To ensure achievement of desired results, it is necessary to have the right kind of engineering support in that apart from the main plant the auxiliary and support equipment too has to be perfectly dove tailed. Nitrogen blanketing of the oil during intermediate storage, use of clean steam, precise temperature and pressure/vacuum controls, exact metering of chemical additives are some of the requirements without which desired results would be difficult to attain.

02. Financial Tie-ups: As the Project Cost of Plants based on Molecular Distillation Process is higher than the conventional Plants and substantial part of the Plant and Machinery would have to be imported, effective financial tie ups have to be arranged to ensure timely implementation. Recent dialogue with India’s lead financial institutions has revealed that despite dismal impression of the Oilseeds and Oil processing sector, plants based on this process will find affirmative response. Another remarkable happening has been the clearance of such a project by a European Financial Institution and with a categorical assertion to finance another 4 to 5 projects on fairly competitive terms.

03. Marketing: With the Industry’s resolve through its apex Association – SEA to take up an intensive campaign to popularize the Edible Rice Bran Oil, no difficulty is envisaged to market the Refined Rice Bran Oil. The tocols and oryzanol rich fatty distillates would certainly require necessary efforts for the marketing
tie-ups with overseas buyers as well as further work on refining and synthesizing the vitamins recovered and manufacture of value added products in India. It is very heartening to note that from the vitamins and micronutrients recovered from Rice Bran Oil, processes related to certain Vitamin E tocotrienols Molecule known as P25.P25 has been developed and patented. Based on this P25.P25 molecule a nutritional supplement named Evolve is already in the market which helps maintain cardiovascular health in 3 ways – 1} helps lower cholesterol naturally 2} acts as a powerful antioxidant (many times more powerful than conventional Vitamin E) 3} helps promote normal circulation and overall cardiovascular health. More and more quantities of vitamin rich Rice Bran and other distillates are being sourced from South East Asian countries which bodes very well for the future of Edible Rice Bran Oil manufacture in India.

Total Quality Management – to maximize food value of Mustard Oil
Ashok Jain, B.E., M.I.E., PGD – Project Management
Managing Director, Vibrandt Project Consultants [P] Ltd.,

Mustard oil due to its tremendous food value has been toast of Indian cuisine since centuries. Present day world is slowly waking up to the health and dietary aspects of the Rapeseed Mustard oil and making concerted efforts to fully exploit these unique properties. One has to however reckon with the fact that processing of Rapeseed Mustard has to be done in an environment which lays the required stress on quality management. Total Quality Management is not an adhoc initiative but a long term assured solution to maintain the output characteristics in such a way that the adherence to quality norms also brings about reduction in processing costs, improves the working atmosphere and conditions and finally leads to higher customer satisfaction and feeling of esteem amongst the manpower associated with the manufacture / management.

At present, quality management in Rapeseed Mustard processing is a tail-end control system wherein the quality of Mustard oil after crushing in Kolhus or expellers or for that matter after blending is subjected to a few laboratory tests to determine the overall quality. While these parameters – FFA, color, MIV, Iodine value, non-saponifiables, smoke point etc do indicate the quality of the finished oil, these are silent on the hygiene, vitamin / antioxidant retention and health aspects by and large. For an oil to be good from dietary or health angle, mere chemical analysis carried at the end of the entire process would not suffice. What in fact is required is that the Rapeseed Mustard passes through a quality conscious / quality enforcing regime through and through. This would apply to the procurement, transportation up to the processing centre, storage in the processing unit, preparation, conditioning, crushing, storage and filtration and packing of Mustard oil, proper conveying and storage of oil cake etc.

All this is possible by following the basics of total quality management following the Plan – Do – Check – Act cycle and imbibes in letter and spirit the following eight principles of quality management:

1. Customer-Focused Organisation
2. Leadership
3. Involvement of People
4. Integrated Process Approach
5. System Approach to Management
6. Continual Improvement
7. Factual Approach to Decision Making
8. Mutually Beneficial Supplier Relationships.

Each of these principles require essential steps to be taken to usher in an era of quality management at each stage to ensure that achievement of quality characteristics of the final outputs is not by accident but by an assiduously developed production plan where quality is never lost sight of.

Mustard oil produced in such a quality conscious environment shall be able to conserve the amazing food and nutritive characteristics and save on the processing costs / recoveries as well. Oil so produced would also lead to improved quality and lower processing cost during refining operations. Holistic approach to quality management on the lines mentioned above is the sure way to creating brand equity, so vital for present day marketing.


Total Quality Management – to maximize food value of Mustard Oil

Rapeseed Mustard  – Nation’s Pride

Major Oilseed crop in India
Sentimentally attached with India’s cooking habits
Vital for Indian Oil economy
Need to highlight food and nutritive properties
Quality products – a must to tap full potential

Quality  – the known virtues

Improves product acceptability
Enhances reputation / brand equity
Ensures higher value addition / returns
Brings more satisfaction to
o Customers
o Employees
o Owners
Generates feelings of esteem / belongingness

Quality – long term assured solution Quality is a function of

Raw Materials
Equipment & technology
Management commitment
Work force
Monitoring and controls
Evaluation Systems
Improvement plans
Implementation plans
Iterative improvements

Principles of Quality Management

Customer-Focused Organisation
Involvement of People
Integrated Process Approach
System Approach to Management
Continual Improvement
Factual Approach to Decision Making
Mutually Beneficial Supplier Relationships.

Rapeseed Mustard – Sectoral status

Up trend in production in the 90’s tapering off
Fierce competition in globalised economy
Processing Sector dominated by small, technologically backward units
Low energy efficiency, excessive wear and tear, high down time/maintenance costs
Poor quality of outputs
Value addition by high quality ouputs – known but sparingly practised
Hygiene and safety – mostly dormant
Financial Health – less said the better


Rapeseed Mustard – Quality today

Based on tail end control
Done more as a compulsion
Potential to lower costs not yet fully appreciated
TQM approach conversance yet to set in

Quality Management  Rapeseed Mustard processing

Analysis of seed
– Oil content
– Moisture
– Density
– Granulometry
– Foreign matter
– Varieties
– Chemical spray
– Temp0erature and humidity control
– Air changes
– FIFO principal
– Bulk Storage
– Pre-Cleaning
– Cleaning
– Grading
– De stoning
– Disintegration
– Conditioning
– Temperature / Moisture control
– Handling of foots / sludge
Oil Filtration
– Decantation
– Handling of filterate
– Cleanliness / Hygiene
Final Storage
– Storage Temperature
– Nitrogen Blanketing
– Material of construction
– Packing Materials
– Quality Analysis
– Equipment layout
– Illumination and ventilation
– Technology
– Marketing as a table quality oil without refining
– Networking with SEP’s of the region

Action Plan

Quality Audit to assess areas of weakness
Well defined quality assurance programme with reference values for each stage
Strict adherence to sampling frequency and analysis
Bottlenecks to be removed expeditiously
Organizational restructuring
– I/C Q.C. must not report to I/C Production
– For smaller organizations engaging an external agency may be prudent

Awards & Recognitions

National Award for Excellence in Engineering Consultancy Services by CEAI (FIDIC & Govt. of India) for the year 2004 vib2-250x250

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