Our engineering center is located in the biggest European area for citrus growing and processing (Spain). We have built some of the major plants in this area, and our expertise in citrus processing is unique in the European market.
Orange and other citrus processing plants should be located near to the citrus growing areas, so that the fresh fruit can be processed as soon as possible after harvesting as temperatures in citrus growing areas tend to be high and fruit deteriorates quickly.
Juice is the most important product to be obtained from oranges. Orange by-products - pulp and peel - represent about 50% of the oranges, and they can be further processed into other marketable products: essence oils, Press liquor, Citrus molasses, D'limonene, Dried peel so as to obtain maximum profitability out of the oranges.
Citrus processing is challenging as the goal is to maintain the fresh fruit qualities as untouched as possible, and yet obtain the maximum yield out of the citrus.
Citrus Processing varies from client to client, but we can describe a citrus processing line loosely as follows:
Fruit reception and pre-grading: fresh citrus are pre washed to remove dirt, pesticide, leaves and stems, and pre-graded to remove any unsuitable fruit.
Citrus storage: the citrus are carried by conveyors and elevators to storage tanks. Storage tanks are specially designed to prevent too much weight pressing onto the fruit. Testing of fresh fruit can be done at this phase as well.
Citrus grading and washing: citrus pass by transporting lines to be graded and washed again. Grading it is very important as different citrus sizes require different extractor sizes to obtain a quality juice.
Citrus extraction line: juice needs to be squeezed out of the fruit without any oils, rag or other components contaminating it. A good extractor line is key to obtain a quality juice and a good yield. There are normally 2 to 3 different sizes of extractors to suit the different orange or citrus sizes. To avoid fruit being under squeezed, resulting in a low yield, or over squeezed then resulting in oils and rags passing on to the juice. There are many different types of extracting systems to choose from, of which it depends on the final product, production method and budget.
Finishers: pulpy juice passes onto finisher machines that separate the juice from the pulp. Pulp resulting from this process will go to pulp recovering units.
Juice blending: juices coming from different extracting lines are mixed and blended to obtain a homogeneous flavor and acidity.
Different type of juices or concentrate can be obtained from here on:
Frozen concentrate orange juice: juice is pasteurized and then evaporated to produce a concentrate that is then cooled, blended and stored in frozen tanks. Most of the juice nowadays comes from concentrate. Different evaporators are used depending on the quantity to be processed (tubular or plate evaporators). Concentrate can be stored cold, frozen and packed for delivery. See juice making process and concentrate making process.
Byproducts: citric essential oil, and citric pulp and seeds, are byproducts from citric juice processing that can be further processed to obtain other products for cleaning, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and animal food industries. MachinePoint Engineering provides lines for peel processing, peel oil recovering, feed mill, pulp debittering, pulp wash and pulp production. See also our
Not concentrated juice: NFC (not from concentrate) juice is pasteurized and then filled and packed. Deoling and deaeration can also take place.
essential oil processing.