Setting up an edible oil manufacturing plant is no mean feat. It involves understanding not just the technical aspects of the production process, but also comprehensive research and budgeting, and building long lasting relationships with raw material suppliers, equipment manufacturers, distributors and everybody else involved in bringing your product from farms to you, and finally to its final customers.
In this blog article, we’re talking about rice bran oil, how it is extracted and refined, and how you should go about getting ready to set up your rice bran oil processing plant.
What is rice bran oil?
Unlike most other plant-based oils, rice bran oil is not a seed-derived oil. Instead, it is procured from the bran, or the hard outer layer, of rice grains. Rice bran can have an oil content ranging anywhere from 10% to 23%, with the oil’s chemical composition varying depending on the variety of rice used and the way that it is treated and milled.
If you’ve decided to embark on the rice bran oil extraction process, you likely already know that rice bran oil is quite nutritious; it is rich in antioxidants and micronutrients like oryzanol, tocopherols, tocotrienols, phospholipids, phytosterols and squalene. Rice bran oil also has a fairly balanced fatty acid profile; it comprises saturated fatty acids like palmitic acid as well as unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid. The free fatty acid, or FFA, content of rice bran oil can vary a lot, so the bran and the rice bran oil processing methods which you choose can have a significant impact on the health effects of your final product.
Due to its high smoke point and mild flavour, it makes for a great cooking oil, especially for health-conscious consumers as rice bran oil may lower plasma cholesterol and lipoprotein profiles. Rice bran oil’s health benefits are pushing its demand higher in Asian countries like Korea, India, Indonesia, Japan and China, but its applications remain mainly in niche markets like nutraceuticals, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
What challenges are involved in rice bran oil processing?
Before you commit to investing the high rice bran oil manufacturing plant cost India has, it is important to get a sense of the challenges involved.
For starters, because it is not seed-derived, crude oil obtained from the rice bran oil extraction process is full of impurities which must be removed. Further, the lipase enzyme that it contains converts the neutral oil to FFAs and partial glycerides, which means that the bran has to be stabilized or taken to the solvent extraction process right after rice milling. Even then, rice bran oil can have fairly high FFA content; this translates to extremely high oil losses during refining, especially if you rely on alkali neutralization. The refining process may also strip the oil of its micronutrients. These losses must be counteracted using physical refining, enzymatic reactions or other processes which can neutralize FFAs and retain nutritional elements with minimal oil loss.
The challenges don’t end when you’ve extracted, refined and bottled your rice brain oil. Rice bran oil is susceptible to oxidation during storage, cooking and processing, leading to the production of ketones, aldehydes and other undesirable components. Therefore, a careful and holistic analysis of the quality of oil produced by your rice bran oil extraction machine is a must.
What does rice bran oil processing involve?
Considering that rice bran has a relatively low oil content, a solvent extractor like the Anderson Solvex™️ Expander is the go-to option for a rice bran oil extraction machine. Before extraction, rice bran must go through conditioning, pelletizing and cooling to prepare it for the solvent extraction process using solvents like hexane. From here, while the cake is left behind and redirected to other processes where it might serve as a useful resource, the extracted crude oil makes its way to the refinery of your rice bran oil processing plant. Here, the crude oil is degummed, bleached, dewaxed, deodourized, deacidified, and winterized to procure a high purity refined rice bran oil - free of gums, wax oil and triglycerides - which can be used safely in food and other industries.
Setting up your rice bran oil processing plant: A step-by-step guide
- Identify your target market
Rice bran oil is used in specific industries like food, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. In terms of geography, the popularity of rice bran oil is growing more rapidly in some regions like Asia, whereas other areas are still catching up to the health benefits of this oil. Assess the landscape and identify where the market that you want to serve exists.
- Determine scale and budget
When you budget for your rice bran oil plant cost, you need to account for equipment costs – like your rice bran oil extraction machine, deodorizers, packaging machinery and more, and the cost of the space you will require to set up your plant. In addition to these CAPEX costs, make sure you take into consideration operating costs that can sustain your day-to-day expenses for at least a couple of years, and also think about maintenance costs. For the latter, planning in advance by signing an annual maintenance contract with your equipment manufacturer can protect you from unexpected, inflated or third-party payments which may surprise you in the future. Creating a well-considered budget can give you an idea of the amount you would need to invest in your rice bran oil processing plant, and will help you come up with a realistic scale for your operations as well.
- Narrow down on location and layout of plant
The logistics of transport can significantly add to your costs and carbon footprint in the long run. An appropriate location for your plant would be close enough to rice mills to circumvent these issues and also prevent the conversion of neutral oil to FFAs and partial glycerides. Further, when it comes to layout, you would need to accommodate not only all your machinery and space for people to move freely around and access it, but also a storage area for your raw materials and for your final bottled oil.
- Select raw material suppliers
Sustainability is at the core of all our operations at Kumar, so we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to source your rice bran from a supplier who cultivates the rice in ethical, sustainable, and planet-friendly ways. As we’ve mentioned earlier, the variety of rice the bran comes from also affects the chemical composition of your rice bran oil, so being mindful of where your bran comes from is critical. This affects not only the quality and health impacts of your final products, but also your customers’ perceptions of you as a responsible, forward-looking oil producer.
- Identify an equipment manufacturer
Most importantly, your equipment can make or break your rice bran oil processing plant. Think beyond rice bran oil plant cost. Think in terms of durability, longevity and maintenance requirements for your rice bran oil extraction process. Kumar’s range of preparatory equipment, solvent extraction equipment, deodorizers and other refining machinery are all constructed with stainless steel, have specially treated components, and minimum wear and tear parts. Features like these ensure a long service life and build your confidence in your supplier to also procure additional equipment from them.
Still, identifying high quality equipment is easier said than done. But to make the process a bit easier, here are some equipment features which you should look out for. The EcoPack Deodorizer used for physical refining (ideal for rice bran oil) has low steam consumption, has easy access so that maintenance is not a painful process, has an inbuilt vacuum heat recovery heat exchanger, and is characterized by its specially designed stripping column for oils with higher FFA content. Meanwhile, the Anderson Solvex™️ Expander also lowers overall plant energy consumption, reducing energy needs and operational costs while increasing capacity. It is the expander’s ability to pack the oil-bearing material into a dense and porous structure which confers it all these benefits.
After putting together a team and kicking all these steps into action, you are ready to get started, taking on any and all challenges in terms of raw materials, processing efficiency, and rice bran oil manufacturing plant cost India throws your way. Kumar’s equipment is known for its robust construction, superior quality, versatility and operational profitability. Talk to our experienced team for your oilseed processing needs today.
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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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