Thinking of coconut palms likely conjures up an image of an idyllic coastal town in your mind, with the sounds of the sea in the distance providing a soundscape to a relaxed pace of life. The different parts of the coconut serve a number of different functions. Coconut products are used in food, personal care and for their therapeutic properties; from coconut water and milk to the meat, oil and even the husk, despite the image they conjure, coconuts are of great commercial value, with each component being productive in a different way.

In this article, we’re particularly interested in the virgin coconut oil manufacturing plant cost. But before we break down the investment, we will break down the meaning of the term virgin coconut oil itself, examining the virgin coconut oil production process and coconut oil plant cost as well.

What are cold-pressed oils or virgin oils?
As consumers the world over become more conscious about what they consume, the demand for cold-pressed or virgin oils is only rising. Virgin olive oil, extra virgin olive oil and virgin coconut oil all have great market potential, as you probably already know as you begin to assess the coconut oil manufacturing plant cost you can expect to incur.

Cold-pressed oils simply refer to those oils which have been extracted in a temperature-controlled setting (never crossing 27°C), without heat or chemicals altering the purity of the oil. High temperatures can affect the flavour, colour and nutritional profile of the oil, as can chemicals; so mechanical extraction using an expeller press is the go-to method for virgin oil extraction. Virgin oils are usually also unrefined, with no bleaching or deodorising techniques affecting the natural state of the oil.

As mechanical oil pressing is harder to scale as compared to solvent extraction, production costs of virgin oils tend to be on the higher side. For example, your virgin coconut oil manufacturing plant cost will definitely be more expensive than a plant for refined coconut oil. Virgin oils also tend to have a shorter shelf life. But given growing awareness about the many health benefits of virgin oils, they also command a premium in the market, making up for the increased investment in the extraction process.

What is virgin coconut oil?
We can’t speak of the virgin coconut oil manufacturing plant cost before we speak about the oil itself.

Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is a colourless, sediment-free and relatively odourless oil extracted from fresh and mature coconut kernels. It can be consumed in its natural state and is said to offer myriad health benefits. As compared to its refined counterpart, VCO is exposed to much less heat in the production process. If stored appropriately, without much exposure to heat and sunlight, it can even have a shelf life of a couple years.

How is virgin coconut oil extracted?
Refined coconut oil is extracted via mechanical pressing, followed by solvent extraction to get as high a yield of the oil as possible. Virgin coconut oil, however, is extruded exclusively using an expeller machine or screw press.

Before pressing, the coconut goes through some preparatory processes to make it suitable for mechanical extraction. Wet coconut meat is washed and stabilised. A fine cutter is used to shred it, subsequent to which it is dried in a controlled environment to bring its moisture content down to as low as 3%. Then comes the expeller press - Kumar’s stainless steel 304 New Super Press Series Oil Expeller is particularly suited to this - which expels the oil from the prepared raw material. Then the final clarification and filtration processes and voila! You have your virgin coconut oil!

What are the coconut oil manufacturing plant costs that you should account for?
As with any other manufacturing facility, before diving in, you want to have a plan and a budget. The coconut oil manufacturing plant cost can be significant, and you need to account for not only your CAPEX, but also your operating costs. Here, we’ve broken down the investment for you. We’ve listed all the items you can expect to include in your total coconut oil plant cost, so that when you get down to actually shelling out your money, you’re not caught off guard by any surprises.

Your larger expenses will naturally be the CAPEX ones. Of these, your equipment will account for a lion’s share of the overall virgin coconut oil manufacturing plant cost. You need to invest in not only a high quality expeller press machine - the Kumar New Super Press Series Oil Expeller and the Anderson Dox-Hivex™ Extruder are great options - but you also need to purchase the equipment you’ll need for the preparatory steps which come before the actual pressing.

Space and construction
Securing land and constructing a full-fledged facility is no piece of cake. To meet hygiene regulations which govern the F&B industry, you will need an appropriate enclosed space for your operations. The size of your initial investment - and your overall coconut oil manufacturing plant cost - will depend largely on the land and construction costs that you will have to incur.

Applying for licences with local, regional and other relevant authorities like trade bodies as well as procuring the certifications necessary to commence operations can cost you a significant sum of money. Make sure to include those in the total estimate of your virgin coconut oil manufacturing plant cost.

Raw material costs
Operating costs may not seem as significant as your CAPEX, but over time, they add up. Procuring raw materials - in this case, coconuts - is a costly affair when you’re speaking of industrial scale quantities. And when you’re adamant about high quality, the costs can go even higher. When accounting for this in your coconut oil plant cost, also add in the costs of supply logistics.

Workforce requirements
AI-powered robots won’t eliminate all the labour requirements in the virgin coconut oil extraction process. At least we’re hoping they won’t. Your workforce will add to your overall cost, but it will also add to the quality, reliability and relatability of your operations.

It is critical to account for the basics - water and electricity - when planning and budgeting for your virgin coconut oil plant. Any complications here could affect your production lines.

Maintenance and repairs
Last, but far from the least, it is of supreme importance that you budget for regular maintenance as well as unexpected repairs in your total coconut oil plant cost. Fortunately, companies like Kumar offer annual maintenance contracts, or AMCs, on equipment; they also promise long service life and minimal wear and tear parts. Besides, the special steel alloy construction of the equipment keeps it running at peak performance for long durations of time, minimising repairs and maintenance. Nonetheless, your budget should always be prepared to deal with emergencies.

Kumar screw presses are perfectly designed for the virgin coconut oil manufacturing process. The worm assembly promises maximum yield over a couple of presses; the compact design occupies less of your precious and expensive floor space; and the specially treated components ensure strength and durability. When you think of oil extraction or refining, you would do well to think of Kumar.

Since 1939, Kumar has been delivering dependable process engineering solutions to the oils and fats industry. We're known for our robustly engineered, versatile, and operationally profitable plant and machinery. It's why customers all over the world depend on us to solve their processing challenges, big or small. If you'd like to know more about our solutions, please fill out the form below:

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