Tien Giang: Invention of coconut milk powder production line
Engineer Nguyen Van Hoa and his partners at Thai Hoa Industrial Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing Company, Ltd (Trung An Commune, My Tho City) invented the Coconut Milk Powder production line.
The solution was also awarded the Encouragement Prize of the 17th National Technical Innovation Contest in 2021. This is the first patented solution based on advanced European technology in Tien Giang province.
Engineer Nguyen Van Hoa said that grated coconut and coconut milk are commonly used in the food processing industry, but the life cycle is quite short despite being well preserved. With a desire to create a product of dried coconut milk powder with a long-life shelve and to meet the demand of the domestic and foreign markets, Mr. Hoa and his partners have researched and unveiled a coconut milk powder production line. During the research process, engineers incorporated a number of technology solutions such as mechanization, automation, digital technology, and specialized software to design models. The work has run test successfully.
This production line has complex structure and operation, in which, Thai Hoa company has manufactured a number of tools and equipment such as blower, main tower and cyclone, control cabinet, electrodynamic cabinet, and written specialized software (programming automation, control). The company imported several equipment and machinery from Europe and Japan including homogenizers, high pressure pumps, measuring devices, PLC control devices, HMI to assemble and complete the line.
The process of research and creation of the production chain has been very challenging. It took over 8 months for all members of the team to grind, research, commission and adjust to complete the line and put it into installation. The total cost of labor and materials for testing is up to billions of dongs. The most complex stage is the adjustment of wind speed and vacuum pressure in the drying towers (if the wind is adjusted at a low speed, the color of milk powder will degrade and deteriorate quickly; if the wind is adjusted at a high speed, milk powder is sucked out and falls into impurity-containing cyclones). In addition, the team had to spend time on researching, testing and selecting a special type of imported injection nozzle (made in Germany) that can withstand high temperature and pressure (from 140 to 180 par) to overcome the problem. Precipitated coconut milk due to high fat content, causes stickiness at the top of the pec, causing stuffiness.
In terms of operating principles, this line uses spray drying technology to turn coconut milk into coconut milk powder. Accordingly, coconut milk, after being pressed from desiccated coconut, will be transferred to the mixing tank, supplemented with some necessary ingredients and dry materials. After that, this solution will be homogenized by machine (helps to disperse fat molecules) and misted (by high pressure pump) into the drying tower through nozzles. The ejected mist is heated (the heat from the line is heated up to 200oc through the heat exchanger) and evaporates the water rapidly to become a powder and fall to the bottom of the tank. The falling powder is cooled to below 35°c and sent to a vibrating floor to separate large particles. The finished product obtained through the mesh screen is fine coconut milk powder, with moisture content not exceeding 3%, transferred through the bagging line and kept in storage. Particularly hot air and steam are pushed out through the blower system and fine dust is collected at the cyclones.
Engineer Nguyen Van Hoa said that this line is researched and designed based on advanced European technology with much lower investment costs than imported equipment, hence it is affordable for domestic enterprises. Particularly, this line can dry foods with high fat content (up to 70%). Besides, this line also has a number of advantages compared to imported equipment, for example, continuous production time is about 72 hours for a production cycle, less finished products loss (from 0.3 to 0.5%). In addition, the process of squeezing coconut milk achieves an efficiency of 70 - 80%. On average, 1 kg of pressed copra can produce 700 - 800 grams of water and every 2.5 kg of pressed water produces 1 kg of coconut flour (with additives). On an hourly basis, an amount of 200 kg of finished coconut milk powder can be produced for export. Coconut milk powder can be preserved for a long time and is convenient for the food processing industry.
According to Mr. Hoa, the coconut milk powder production line is manufactured by his company at the order of Dinh Phu My Coconut Co., Ltd (Ben Tre province) with a package contract worth VND 9 billion (design, construction, assembly, operation and quality check). In the meantime, imported equipment costs over USD 1 million. Beside coconut milk powder, this line can process cereals and seafood into fine powder, including some fruits such as papaya, kumquat, dragon fruit, mango, coffee, etc.
Up to now, Thai Hoa Industrial Machine and Equipment Manufacturing Company, Ltd has processed and installed 4 coconut milk powder production lines for Dinh Phu My Coconut Co., Ltd. Currently, the Company is installing the fifth production line under the signed contract with an enterprise in Tra Vinh province.
Engineer Nguyen Van Re - Chairman of the Mechanics Association of Tien Giang province said that the patented solution created by engineer Nguyen Van Hoa and his partners contains high scientific and practical value, thus significantly saving investment costs of enterprises compared to imported production lines (Only Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company Vinamilk uses imported production line from Europe). Currently, Dinh Phu My Coconut Co., Ltd. has effectively put this line into operation and has produced coconut milk powder (25 kg bags) for export to a number of countries such as Japan, the United States, Middle East.