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Fruit to Juice: A Complete Guide for Commercial Apple Press Equipment

How do we turn apples into juice? What does our process look like? And how does a belt press fit into the equation? We answer all these questions about commercial apple press equipment below!

Ugly Apples

Shining, beautiful apples without a single mark, you know the ones? They radiate in all their glory perfectly arranged in classic supermarket fashion. Well, now it’s time to step aside, we’re here to talk about those imperfect, marked apples, the ones we dare call ugly! 

We love ugly apples! Want to know why? Because they make the perfect candidate for juicing. Our favorite topic is juicing, we even named our company after it! We’re here to take you on an informative journey, illustrating how we turn apples into juice, ready to be fermented into delicious cider.

Tipping Into Action

To start, the apples are harvested from the orchard where they have been subject to all that Mother Nature has thrown at them. This results in those speckles, marks and other gnarled features that disqualify it from the supermarket shelves. Once they have been collected in orchard bins, they are ready to make the trip to the commercial apple processing facility. The start of the processing begins at the Bin Tipper. The bins are loaded and then tipped onto the sorting conveyor for the next step of the process. 

The Good, The Bad, The Mouldy

Once the collection process has been completed, it is time to sort through the fruit to take away any apples that have any rot or mold. Is there equipment used for this?

Great question! A sorting conveyor does just the trick. The apples travel along the conveyor while being turned over so they can be closely inspected from all sides. Now, you’ve prepped all the apples and they are ready to be transferred to the washing station. If your system uses the sorting conveyor, as mentioned above, the apples can be directed off the conveyor straight into the washbasin of the elevator. Or, for an additional cleaning step, you can add a Brush Cleaner.

Rub a Dub Dub

The apples get systematically washed in the basin of our Kreuzmayr Washer-Elevator-Grinder. For the larger models, the basin has water jets to propel the apples towards the elevator ensuring it is consistently filled. The apples travel up the elevator to reach a powerful grinder at the top.

As the fruit is pushed into these teeth, the whole apple is transformed into pomace. That pomace is then deposited onto the next piece of equipment which is the next topic! 

The Star of the Show

Can you guess what commercial apple press equipment is known as the workhorse of the operation? If you guessed Belt Presses, you’d be absolutely right. They are designed to make your life easier! Their hands-off approach to fruit processing is one of the many reasons they are loved by cider makers everywhere. As mentioned above, the pomace is transferred onto the press creating a ‘mash cake’. The mash cake goes through a series of high tension belts that are made of food-grade synthetic material. 

To extract juice out of the mash cake, the belt press employs rollers that squeeze the mash so the juice can filter through the belt. That juice is collected in a tray directly underneath the press. The number of rollers that the mash travels through is dependent on the model of Kreuzmayr belt press. Our smallest press, the Single Belt Press KEB 400 has three pressing rollers and can process up to 1765 lbs/hr (800 kg/hr). With the KEB 400, you can expect up to a 72% yield with crisp, fresh fruit!

Next up, the Single Belt Press models KEB 500, KEB 750 have four pressing rollers while the KEB 1000, and KEB 1250 have five. They have varied capacities due to the difference in their belt widths. The KEB 500 has a capacity of pressing 2600 lbs/hr (1200 kg/hr) while the KEB 750 can handle 5300 lbs/hr (2400 kg/hr). The KEB 1000 can process 6600 lbs/hr (3000 kg/hr) and finally with the KEB 1250 extracting juice from pomace at a rate of 8800 lbs/hr (4000 kg/hr). The greater the width, the larger the amount of fruit the press can handle. Now you’re a Single Belt Press expert!

Double Trouble

Dream bigger with our Double Belt Press series, available in four varying sizes. These K2B models feature either eight or a remarkable fifteen pressing rollers, plus two press nips to give the pomace one final squeeze to get every last drop. Producers can expect an impressive yield of up to 80% with good fruit. Similar to the Single Belt Presses, the belt width increases with each size to offer greater throughput. If you decide on the K2B 750, you can expect to process up to 7150 lb/hr (3250 kg/hr).

The K2B 1000 can extract juice from 16,400 lb/hr (7500 kg/hr) of pomace while the K2B 1250 does 22,050 lb/hr (10,000 kg/hr). 

Looking to process even more? No problem with our K2B 1500 which turns fruit to juice at a rate of 27,500 lbs/hr (12,500 kg/hr). Lastly, the largest of our Double Belt Presses, the K2B 2000, is serious about commercial apple pressing. Its capacity is up to 38,580 lbs/hr (17,500 kg/hr)! 

Next Stop: Fermentation

As the juice collects in the pan below the press, it gets pumped off into fermenting tanks or other various holding vessels to get ready for the next stage of creating cider or apple cider. This is where you come in! The only thing we like more than juice is seeing what you turn it into! 

Scaling Up with BC Tree Fruits

Click here to read about how we scaled up the operations at BC Tree Fruits.

Or, watch the video to the right to see it in action!

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