Ima Coffee Petroncini presents tailored solutions for green coffee processing

green coffee processing

With more than 100 years’ experience in the market, you could hardly say Ima Coffee Petroncini was ‘green’ when it comes to green coffee processing. Yet, experience is not everything.

Ima Coffee Petroncini prioritises engineering capabilities, technological evolution driven by constant investments in research and development, and relationships with customers focused on understanding their needs and adapting each system to bring it in line with their objectives.

Its latest solutions have been developed to optimise reception of the green coffee and all the subsequent processing stages. Each solution will be adapted according to the needs of each customer and takes into account factors such as efficiency, productivity, and safety, combined with close attention to coffee integrity, plant capacity, and the processing line.

Helping customers deal with in-house cleaning and sorting
Ima Coffee Petroncini says growing costs related to ready-cleaned coffee beans and an increasing presence of impurities in green coffee have led companies to evaluate in-house treatment options. Further issues concerning ethical sourcing and the quality offered by single-origin products have fuelled the demand for green coffee cleaning and sorting systems, for medium and large roasting factories. The fewer impurities there are, the greater the value of the end product. Companies are therefore seeing how vital it is to take control over the in-house treatment options and technologies in order to ensure constant raw product quality.

Built to suit each customer, in line with their preferences on coffee reception and handling, Ima Coffee Petroncini has developed the broadest range of tailor-made solutions for the reception and cleaning stages, making sure gentle and hygienic treatments are the bottom line right from the start in order to avoid any damage, product loss, and contamination, according to hygienic design specifications.

The right reception equipment for each processing plant
What makes the difference right from the start is providing the most suitable solution for coffee reception according to the plant. Ima Coffee Petroncini says a look at a few different scenarios will clarify this issue.

Plants processing 500 kilograms of green coffee per hour will be fine receiving 60-to-70-kilogram pallet-loaded jute bags of green coffee, which will be handled indoors on a hopper and cut open manually. The hopper can be installed underground or on a supporting frame. Then, the coffee is transferred to storage silos or directly to the roaster using an aspiration system.

The most convenient solution for plants with a larger capacity entails bag reception from trailers equipped with an integrated tilting unit, however, it is just as easy to envisage extracting the bags from the container and placing them on a tilting unit inside the reception area. Combined with a sorting unit which handles the bags downstream, the bags can simply be fed one by one to the cutting unit. Belt conveyors are another flexible solution to bring the bags inside the facility. The conveyor can extend telescopically into the delivery truck allowing operators to position the bags on the swivel head. Implementing robotic technologies, Ima Coffee Petroncini is able to supply appropriate automatic bag opening or palletising systems. This enables superb flexibility when production requires late bag picking.

Further options include a tilting platform for depalletisation combined with a bag cutting unit. This improves efficiency when reception rates are around 750 bags per hour.

Facilities handling big bags without any form of automation will welcome an unloading station on top of the hopper. When higher production rates are necessary, bags can be unloaded onto a special structure including a spiked cutting device to open them without manual intervention.

Larger processing plants will tend to receive green coffee loaded onto a trailer or in a container. Petroncini solutions include outdoor hoppers for bulk loads arriving directly from a tilting unit. Coffee is then pneumatically transferred to storage silos within maximum 45 minutes after unloading.

Iuthas: Combined bag and bulk receiving solution
Ima Coffee Petroncini says it designs the only system available on the market which handles both bags and bulk coffee from containers. Thanks to an alternating sliding mechanism – forward for bags and backwards into the hopper for bulk – combined with the hydraulic 45° tilting of the container, it says this system is the most advanced, versatile, high-capacity system available today. Featuring sorting units which carry the bags downstream to the cutting unit, this system can accept up to two containers per hour. A special belt conveyor fitted beneath the shutter conveyors managing the bags collects any beans falling out of the bags, thereby ensuring virtually zero loss of product throughout the entire intake process. The bulk discharge unit is equipped with a dust aspiration system and safety panels that rise into place as soon as unloading starts.

Choosing the appropriate in-house coffee cleaning strategy
In facilities handling upwards of three tonnes of raw coffee per hour, an in-house cleaning solution is an astute investment, especially considering the damage impurities may incur to the grinder, but also because eliminating unwanted elements present in poorly cleaned coffee will significantly improve the commercial value of the end product itself. For this reason, Ima Coffee Petroncini has developed a wide selection of cleaning solutions, tailored to the most common situations. Getting the cleaning strategy right will have positive effects on the processing stages downstream. Firstly, the solution is selected according to the type and quality of product the customer receives and the capacity of the plant. Starting with a basic cleaning sieve, which can be fitted with a magnetic surface to eliminate iron-based impurities, customers can separate impurities that are finer and/or coarser than the coffee. These machines are connected to a filter for dust removal and are highly recommended to plants processing up to 500 kilograms per hour, even when receiving ready-cleaned coffee. This doubles the effect of cleaning in order to be sure of removing all foreign bodies and thereby improving coffee quality.

In addition to basic cleaning solutions, Ima Coffee Petroncini can supply a dry destoner to remove foreign bodies with a specific weight greater than coffee, such as wood and aluminium impurities. This can be combined with a densimetric/gravity table used to separate other beans or stones having almost the same size as coffee beans, based on the different density, higher or lower. Separation technologies also include more advanced solutions. Nonetheless the destoner and gravity table, although they occupy more floor space, are both cost-effective.

Optical sorting, the next generation of cleaning and separation solutions
Today’s most advanced technology is known as optical sorting. The major benefit is its capacity to sort by shape and by colour. Combined with initial basic cleaning equipment, optical sorting is extremely effective in completing the process. Moreover, it is a versatile solution as operators can adjust the separation parameters according to the frequency and importance of the defects to be assessed and eliminated. This means taking close control over the process and consequently optimising the profits.

Once cleaning operations have been completed, a weighing station ascertains the weight of the rejected material. Losses in product volume are compensated for by the incremental value of the sorted product. Specific solutions have been engineered by Ima Coffee Petroncini to refill big bags after the whole cleaning process has ended. Thanks to dust-tight aspiration, keeping the working area free from tiny contaminants, the coffee which may return to the big bags is not only clean, but practically dust-free.

Handling and conveying systems to optimise productivity
No one appreciates downtime, so any conveying issues and handling requirements are treated as key factors affecting a plant’s productivity. The Ima Coffee Petroncini engineering department devotes much attention to ensuring maximum efficiency connecting one process to another in the processing facility, even though conveying itself does not itself directly add value to the coffee. Appropriate conveying solutions are crucial to safeguard product integrity and optimise productivity and it can guarantee the highest preservation of the quality of the product, avoiding any product contamination thanks to the Hygienic Design specifications. Petroncini’s solutions include mechanical and pneumatic conveying equipment in pression or in suction, bucket elevators, disk and tubular drag conveyors, chain conveyors. Each solution is designed to suit the plant.

How flexible storage solutions make life easier
Green coffee storage solutions need to be flexible and should consider how many coffee origins will be used during production, and what the desired storage time in green silos or in the warehouse should be. This will also always depend on the available storage space. Ima Coffee Petroncini supplies highly flexible solutions for both indoor and outdoor storage depending on the facility space available. To adapt best, square-shaped, polygonal or circular solutions are possible. Petroncini’s cutting-edge batch-weighing device can be installed beneath the silos making it possible to accurately dose the green coffee blend or single-origin coffee ready to be sent to the roaster. Despite the visible space-saving compared to standard valves, the special dosing valves applied to Petroncini weighing system enable high-quantity dosing. This optimises dosing times and ensures the highest precision of the batch. The capacity of the batch weighing system should be equal or greater than the roaster capacity. The determined weight will be recorded and used for calculating the roasting yield.

Why Ima Coffee Petroncini is a step ahead
Coffee is as much an art as it is a science and Petroncini blends both the engineering skills and experience with the sensibility that is a key ingredient in this sector. It says understanding a coffee processing plant and the goals of a customer are just the first step towards solutions which evolve and improve thanks to the company’s commitment and expertise.

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