In addition to canning potatoes, this raw material is essential for the production of starch. Starch is produced in large specialized enterprises, in small factories and even in small workshops. As raw materials, you can use both ordinary ware potatoes and small ones, which, as a rule, are discarded in size during drying or freezing. The main requirement is that potatoes must be ripe, because in young unripe tubers the average size of starch grains is smaller, respectively, the quality of the finished starch from them will be lower, and the number of losses in production will be higher.
On average, one tuber contains about 18% starch of the total weight. When starch is extracted, the cell walls of the raw material are destroyed, the largest possible number of starch grains are extracted from them, which are then separated from the liquid and impurities and dried. Upon receipt of starch, cold water is used; it is dried at a low temperature. Since dry anhydrous starch has a specific gravity of 1.65 g per ml, starch grains quickly precipitate upon separation from the pulp cells. This allows you to capture them in the form of sediment and to separate using a centrifuge from the liquid part.
Starch production consists of several operations. First, all the potatoes are washed in a special washer, which is equipped with a deep chute with a shaft in the upper part. Water consumption for washing potatoes is 4-5 cubic meters. meters of water per 1 ton of raw materials. Then, as with potato preservation, the tubers are chopped. But this time they are crushed in such a way as to destroy the maximum number of cell walls (this will allow to extract as much starch from them as possible). However, excessive grinding will make their subsequent separation from starch and liquid more difficult. Therefore, to chop the potato, it is passed through grating devices that turn tubers into a porridge-like mass, the bulk of the starch grains in which is in a free state. The mashed potato mass is collected in a collection, and then served on a sieve. On the line they can use semi-cylindrical, cylindrical (rotational) and flat (jarring) equipment. It is here that under the influence of water, starch grains are separated from other components of the mass. More than half of the starch passes through a sieve along with water and other substances. In this case, the pulp, fiber and about 25% of starch remain on the sieve. To reduce losses, the remaining porridge is again crushed and passed through a sieve with smaller holes. Starch grains that pass through a sieve along with water are called starch milk. The solution is poured into a separate tank where starch is separated from the water by settling in tanks, settling in a stream (on trays or in grooves) or by centrifugation. In the first case, the milk is poured into tanks and left for 7-8 hours. Starch settles at the bottom of the tank, and the liquid with the resulting foam is carefully drained through the filters to trap the starch remaining in it. Starch is discharged into the washing tub, where it is again mixed with water and left to settle. The plaque formed during the secondary washing is removed from the water surface, and the raw starch is sent for drying. Raw contains up to 55% water. In the drying process at a temperature of 45-50 °, its moisture level decreases to 20%. Since lumps form in starch as a result of this operation, they must then be crushed. Finally, the finished starch is sieved through borate and packaged.
Most modern enterprises use automated lines for the production of starch in four grades (extra, higher, first, second). They allow you to perform all operations - washing the raw materials, grinding, collecting and cleaning the porridge, mechanical dehydration of the obtained starch, the release of free starch from the porridge, dehydration and drying - with minimal involvement of people and non-waste technology. A special hydrocyclone unit is used to separate potato gruel into starch suspension and a mixture of pulp and potato juice.
This can significantly reduce the flow of fresh water, which in this case is about 0.5 cubic meters. meters per 1 ton of potatoes. In addition, wastewater is almost completely eliminated, and the concentrated waste products obtained (with a content of about 7-10% of dry matter) go to livestock feed in natural or processed form. Such installations do not require a large production area for placement and are characterized by high productivity (up to 10-15 tons of starch per day). The cost of such a set of equipment starts from 7 million rubles. When choosing premises for production and warehouses, keep in mind that fine starch dust in the air can explode from contact with fire. Therefore, at such an enterprise, special requirements are made to the equipment of the premises where starch is produced (especially in areas where it is dried and packaged), including compliance with fire safety rules. In addition, you will need your own wastewater treatment system or the ability to arrange filtration fields near production. Such an enterprise should be located outside the city. Own transport is also needed: potatoes are delivered to the plant from farms within a radius of 100 km. The delivery cost alone is 6 tons of processed potatoes or 1 ton of finished starch, about 1000 r. Serving medium-sized production will require 14-16 people working in two shifts. The average employee wage will be about 18 thousand rubles. Thus, the cost of wages in the cost of 1 ton of finished products is 320 rubles. Add to this the cost of purchasing raw materials (potatoes), sodium sulfate, the cost of water, electricity, gas, the purchase of packaging (bags). With these figures, the production cost of 1 ton of potato starch is approximately 31-32 thousand rubles.
The average market wholesale price of potato starch is about 37 rubles per kilogram. Thus, the income of the enterprise producing potato starch excluding tax deductions, as well as organizing the marketing of products and other expenses, other than those considered above, can reach 3.5-4 million rubles per month with a productivity of 1-1.5 tons starch per hour. Of course, net of all expenses, net profit will be an order of magnitude lower. Nevertheless, it is possible to increase the profitability of the enterprise by expanding the assortment, selling waste from processing potatoes (fiber) as compound feed, etc.
The potato and starch production business is seasonal. Since during storage the potato loses most of the starch contained in it, the raw material processing season is about 250-300 days - from September to May. But in order to produce higher quality starch, it is recommended to process all the potatoes within 200 days. Already in April (and in some regions and earlier), starch losses increase significantly.
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