Corn is a major part of our food chain and millions of tons of corn are processed yearly into various types of end-products. Whether your end-product is flaking grit, brewer’s grits, low-fat meal, precooked maize meal (arepa flour), fermentation feedstock, or specialty products, we have vast experience designing, supplying, and optimizing dry milling systems that can significantly improve process yields and product quality.
Considerable advances have been made in recent years with degermination and processing techniques for corn. We are able to provide experience to any or all of the below operations:
Intake / Precleaning
Corn generally arrives at the plant by hopper truck or railcar. We have systems to efficiently intake the grain. The incoming corn contains impurities and one objective of this operation is to pre-clean the grain to remove large impurities and ferrous materials which may damage or choke downstream equipment.
Next, we further clean the grain stream to remove finer impurities such as smaller chaff, loose husk, seeds, dirt/sand, ferrous materials, and other impurities. Cleaning is done using a combination of screening, aspiration, magnet separation, density separation, length grading, scouring, and sometimes optical sorting equipment. This section often times grades the corn kernels by size depending on the milling objective. After cleaning, the grain is ready for subsequent processing.
Tempering / Conditioning
Tempering, or conditioning, is a critical step in the processing of corn. Tempering implies the precise addition of water to the cleaned grain and allowing the dampened grain to rest in a mass flow ‘temper’ tank for an optimum amount of time. The water is typically added in a machine called a tempering mixer, or dampener. The objective of tempering the grain is to moisten the outer coat, or bran layers, for the exact amount of time for the moisture to penetrate the bran coat, but not pass into the grain’s endosperm. Moistening the bran for the proper amount of time allows this layer to begin to separate from the endosperm, allowing for more efficient degermination.
Degerming / Debranning
This step entails passing the tempered grain through the proper type of degerminator to achieve the desired result. Generally, the objective is to peel the bran layers from the grain while also dislodging a large portion of the germ. These components are then removed through the screen itself on the degerminator or by a separate step of sifting/aspiration. The largely intact debranned/degerminated endosperm component of the grain is then ready for subsequent processing.
Sizing / Purification
The sizing and purification steps are highly variable depending on the targeted end-product. Particle size ranges and fat contents vary greatly in corn processing depending on the type of grit, meal, or flour trying to be produced. The sizing and purification steps are highly dependent on the desired particle size range and fat content and must be properly designed to maximize the yield of the desired product.
Loadout / Packaging
The finished product(s) are then sent to storage and are subsequently packaged in various sized packages and bags, or loaded out in bulk to railcars or bulk tanker trucks.