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Dry Fractionation Plant

Process Description

Dry Fractionation is a process to separate vegetable oils such as palm oil into two fractions, Olein and Stearin, by the crystallization properties of the oils. A typical dry fractionation plant consists of Crystallization Section and Filtration Section.

Crystallization Section

Preheated RBD palm oil is fed into the LIPICO crystallizers and then cooled in a controlled environment to form crystals. The cooling sequence follows a defined program using PLC or programmable controllers. The slurry of crystals and oil is then pumped to the fractionation filter for separation of the solid crystals from the oil.

Filtration Section

In the filtration section, an automated membrane filter press is usually used for filtration of oil slurry to separate the stearin crystals from the liquid olein. Stearin is retained as filter cake while olein passes through the filter as filtrate. Olein yield is maximized by squeezing the stearin cake through inflation of the membrane with air or liquid.


At the heart of the dry fractionation process is the industry-standard LIPICO crystallizers. A result of years of studies and continual enhancements, the LIPICO crystallizers are hallmark of good and robust design.

With multiple sets of double-layered cooling coils surrounding a multi-impeller agitator, optimally arranged in a vertically orientated tank, the LIPICO crystallizer is designed to provide optimal heat transfer efficiency and thermal homogeneity within the oil while maintaining minimal disturbance to crystal growth.

These crystallizers, together with LIPICO’s experience and extensive database of cooling programs, can be tailored to produce different highly filterable crystals to suit various customer-specific fractionation requirements. Combined with vast in-depth knowledge of filter press performance, LIPICO is able to provide specific fractionation solution meeting customers’ requests.

With higher tolerance to feed stock variation, the same cooling program can be used in our crystallizers with minimum fine-tuning to achieve consistent results.

The same crystallizer can be used for both the first or second fractionation processes to produce normal olein or super olein with lower cloud point; or further fractionation of stearin to produce tailored products.

Double layer coils are grouped in multiple sections to achieve optimum cooling efficiency. Furthermore, the agitation is varied by a frequency inverter during crystallization to homogenize the slurry with minimum disturbance to the process.

Minimum Operating Cost
Utilities costs are reduced using cooling water for pre-cooling during crystallization, thereby reducing the load on the water chiller. In addition, there is no chemical dosage, no oil loss and no pollution as in wet fractionation processes. Absorption chillers may be adopted when feasible to further reduce operating cost.


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