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ABB, in cooperation with Rapanelli S.p.A., has studied and set up a new  solution for olive oil plant  management and automatic control. This new system characteristic is in dividing   the mill control in three main blocks  (crushing and kneading  group, decanter, separators) so that  it can be obtained three independent units, each one being perfectly operating  and handled separately. The system is based on Industrial Hardware components with great reliability and easy availability. Each unit has been set up to respond at reliable and flexible needs. 


Reliability is given by the solidity of  used electronic components. In fact those have been created for industrial use which are normally exposed to the heavy conditions of continuous processing . 


Flexibility is obtained by the use of a programmable logic which allows , comparatively to a pure electromechanic solution, to modify property and characteristics, mode of processing  any time needed,  only by interfering on software without  having the need to interfere on Hardware components. Using a programmable logic for each unit gives a remarkable expansibility and modularity to the entire system. To personalise the machinery configuration is very easy, according to specific needs of customer as per example: with a superior number of Decanter and/or Separators compared to the standard configuration.  The use of  system centralized control will not have allowed the plant‘ diversification without a remake either on  hardware than software components.

Another capacity of this  system is  to give the plant status, either for management and control than for maintenance done by specialised technicians, from remote sites through common phone connections (modem, internet, etc). The local control of each unit  is done by a programmable logic PLC and by  a display for the operator either on the general board which is located on the crushing and kneading machinery, than on the board located on separators section.  For the Decanter a display for the operator can be given as optional according to requested type of delivery.


The system contemplates, besides the three dedicated software to control of single parts of machinery, another two  supervision software which allow the operator, either to manage the machine functioning, or to monitor and sample the processed product  temperature during the different phases of production and issue a report which certificate the effective crushing and processing of olives at cold .

The supervision software which is located on the main board is able to display in a table, the functioning status of the entire plant as well as the traced  temperatures during the main phases of production.   This first table allows in any case to enter  into dedicated pages  to single units  (crushing and kneading  group, decanter, separators) which are parts of the plant and to display  and control consequently their activities.

The dedicated page to crushing/kneading section  allows all  operations of loading, crushing, kneading and offloading of  processed raw material. The important innovation is to be able to set up the water temperature into  kneading  tanks and to be able to vary the offloading  speed through mono pumps process frequency  control. Another characteristic of this new system is to be able to manage, during maintenance , the mono pump speed and their rotation direction (forward gear, reverse gear). This device is extremely important when the anti metal detector traces the presence of  foreign body inside the connecting pipe between mono pump and decanter.

The display associated to decanter allows to activate or deactivate  the husk conveyor and the decanter itself; rev number  of decanter is displayed and it is possible to determine a lower rev number under which the entire system must stop automatically.

Regarding Separator, two displays are available of which one is dedicated to automatic handling, the other one dedicated to manual handling. With different graphic (but with same logic) the same displays are located either on main board than on separator board. This gives the possibility to the operator to manage, without distinction, the separator functioning either  trough local control or through remote control.  Operations done are  displayed  either on local  display and  vice versa.

This new system  is able to monitor and sample temperatures during all production  phases of raw  material.

This takes place automatically as long as the system determines the exact location of product according to given commands by operator.

Due to set up of system, no more than four orders  may be processed contemporaneously. Each one is combined with one of the four kneading tanks.   When the operator is entering for instance at loading hatch of kneading tank “B” and is giving  the  starting order, automatically on display will appear a table, corresponding at order “B”,  on which customer’s data will be entered (customer’ name, delivery batch number, quantity of raw material) and will confirm the work  start. 

Sampling status of each order is displayed on two tables.

One page (order) sums up the four orders, but at same time is divided in four main areas which are showing  the four  single orders. (orders A,B,C,D).

Each area has been divided in two parts; the upper part relates customer’s data and allows at any time to enter and modify those data. The lower part is reserved for  temperature display which have been traced in the different points of the plant.  

From this page, you may enter on report table if needing to check the respective data for single order.  It is sufficient to press on areas where are displayed the temperature to open a data sheet where are mentioned the following data: 

Ø      Customer’s name,  delivery note, order number, quantity;

Ø      Date and  process starting and ending times;

Ø      Kneading  time  (shown in minutes )

Ø      Respective temperature for the five phases: elevator, crusher, kneading tanks, decanter, separator.