Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. Special Issue  2006 April p.  153-167

A Commercial Scale Implementation of Rolek™ Palm Nut Cracker : Techno-Economic Viability Study for Production of Shell-Free Kernel

Author(s): ROHAYA Mohamed Halim ; NASRIN Abu Bakar ; CHOO Yuen May ; MA Ah Ngan ; RAVI, N

new generation of palm nut cracker, known as Rolek was successfully invented through a smart partnership between MPOB and Hur Far Engineering Works Sdn Bhd (HFEWSB). A few units of this invention were installed and commissioned at three palm oil mills processing different types of nuts. A systematic evaluation was carried out to obtain their commercial performances such as cracking efficiency, kernel and nut quality, shell fragment sizes and maintenance cost. The data obtained from Rolek were then compared with commercial nut cracker (ripple mill). The machines were tested with two types of nuts as input material; 95% tenera nuts in Mill A and more than 25% dura nuts in Mills B and C. From the analysis, it was found that all mills achieved more than 98% cracking efficiency with less than 10% broken kernel. The results have also shown that all the mills produced less than 2% half cracked nuts and shell fragments were found to be uniform and small in size capable of maximizing separation of shell and kernel in the winnowing column. Concerning other parameters, Mill A showed a lower maintenance cost and longer operating hours before replacement of parts as low as RM 0.056 t-1 FFB processed at 650 operating hours, compared to Mills B and C, as it processed 95% tenera nuts having thinner shell that would be easily cracked. Therefore, the type of nuts processed is found to be the main contributing factor for the higher maintenance cost of Rolek if the consideration was made based on the parts replacement in the certain operating hours. The details of all these studies are discussed in this paper. The use of Rolek promises significant quality improvements and lesser maintenance cost than other convectional nut crackers

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* Malaysian Palm Oil Board, P. O. Box 10620, 50720 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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