October 06th 2017
Chernihiv to be the largest potato starch production hub in Eastern Europe and in the CIS.
Chernihiv, the Heart of Polesia, according to experts, becomes the potato processing hub. There are already two starch factories operating in the region, and in September 2018, the third one will be taken into operation. The new plant is being built with the technical facilitation of the Danish-based company SiccaDania and will become one of the most state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Europe.
Mr. S.V. Samonenko, Director of PPCE VIMAL, says: “Our enterprise has more than twenty years’ experience in producing potato starch. Over these years, we have continuously improved the quality of our products, have formed a civilized potato starch market in Ukraine, and raised the purchase price for potato producers to a level that exceeds the prices all over Europe. In summer 2018, we shall put into operation a new production facility in order to meet the needs of our customers, as well as to implement a deep potato processing project. We are convinced that the future of Ukrainian potato industry is in the deep processing of potatoes.”
Thus, the launch of the new starch processing plant alone will increase the total revenues of potato producers in Ukraine more than tenfold, and the further ambitions for the production of potato protein and food fibers will allow to deepen the processing of potatoes and obtain products with even greater value-added, both for raw potato producers the participants of the project, as well for the company.
Mr. E.V. Rebenok, Head of R&D Department of PPCE “Vimal” says: “VIMAL started its potato processing operations in 1994 with GU-50 hydrocyclones unit made in Russia by GUP ”Korenevskij Eksperimentalnyj Zavod”.
The equipment was not perfect, but we strove for perfection and our ambition was to position our products as the best in the world. In 2001, when I was a young chemist, I began to work for the company, and realized that our starch is not the best and we will have to go a long way in order to manufacture products that will meet the customers´ requirements.
Since we supply our products to food manufacturers, we began to seriously work on microbiology, viscosity, color, ash content, and the temperature of gelatinization – over all the key indicators which are essential for the buyers and which determine whether we can sell our products at a high price or not.
At that moment the quality of our starch was formed by a GU-50 hydrocyclones unit. Like similar equipment – GU-200 and GU-500, it was made of carbon steel and was supplied with K-type pumps with a gland packing seal. An attempt to replace the material of the equipment with stainless steel and the outdated pumps with modern ones did increase our productivity, but did not affect the quality issue. Therefore, it was decided to fundamentally change the technological scheme of starch extraction and refining.”
The peculiarity of the GU-50, GU-200 and GU-500 hydrocyclones is that the extraction of the fibers and starch refining occurs simultaneously. Thus, their main shortcoming is the refining only in 4 cyclone blocks out of 12 (in the latest models in 6 out of 14).
In addition, the design of the hydrocyclone unit allows for the uncontrolled multiplication of microorganisms, and the cyclones’ overflow themselves are a foam mixture of potato fibers and juice – a substance that is difficult to dispose of.
For comparison, in modern factories, the refining line has 12 to 14 cyclone blocks, and this excludes concentration cyclones, decanters or plane vacuum filters, in which juice separation is also carried out and fibers is being removed from starch suspension. This is not to mention the attention that modern equipment pays to controlling the development of bacteria.
The desire to improve the quality of products made us take a risky step – to change the scheme of work of the hydrocyclone unit, which was designed by the manufacturer of the plant. In 2011, a technical solution was developed, then dewatering and extraction sieves as well as concentration cyclones made by Larsson were installed.
The purchased equipment installed before the GU-50, and the new flow scheme allowed to threefold increase the number of cyclone blocks involved in refinery process, and which is most important – to radically improve the quality of products and increase the productivity of GU-50 to 150 tons of potatoes per day (i.e., by a factor of three)
In 2016, VIMAL, after consideration of the offers of all potato starch processing equipment suppliers, begins construction of a new potato starch factory with the daily throughput of 1440 tons raw potatoes with the support of the Danish company SiccaDania.
In the new plant, there are separate hydrocyclone lines for the refining of starch, one for large and another one for small granules, which will not only ensure the top quality starch, but also will allow the fractionation of starch and offer products with a large or small fraction, to the customers who need them, as well as to produce modified starch based on fine granules in the future.
Also, at the new plant it is planned to produce pharmaceutical starch and special starch for yeast production.