by Peter Matthew, Director of Cereal Operations, Satake USA, Inc.

The Vertical, Top Feed, Abrasive Rolls (also known as the VTA) was first designed and manufactured in 1993 by the Satake Corporation in Hiroshima, Japan. Originally manufactured for the rice milling industry, the was supplied as part of the world renowned Satake rice milling systems; These systems incorporate the VTA (abrasive milling), VBF (friction milling), and the KB (polishing) machines which, very quickly, became the standard for rice milling across the world, with approximately 5000 VTA units currently in operation. Satake's rice milling systems are still the preferred choice for rice milling to this day.

Using the same machine body, structure, and main drive motor, numerous cereal grains and pulses can be processed through the VTA unit. By simply changing the standard abrasive rolls and/or screens, the required dehulling/debranning/splitting actions can be achieved.

Cereal grains and pulses currently being processed utilising the Satake VTA include rice, wheat, barley, sorghum, millet, peas, lentils, soybeans, and chickpeas. How can this one machine process such a wide variety of grains and pulses? Let's take a closer look at the VTA operational benefits on these products:

Rice: As mentioned previously, the VTA unit has been utilised for many years, and remains to be, an integral processing machine in the Satake rice milling systems. Using abrasive stones, in combination with specially designed screens, the rice bran is uniformly removed from the grain, with minimal breakage to the rice grain

Wheat: In 1996 Satake introduced the VTA to the wheat milling industry as part of the Peritec Wheat Debranning Process. With simple changes to the abrasive stones and screens, efficient bran removal from the wheat kernel is achieved. In this application, the VTA is typically utilised after the 1BK scale in the production process, but prior to the to the 1BK roller mill. This application is suitable for both new mill installations and existing mill 'upgrades' with several key changes to the existing mill process flow.

Typical benefits gained from debranning wheat prior to the milling process are:

  • The reduction of harmful elements such as pesticides and vomitoxins
  • Less bran specks in the finished flour, resulting in a 'whiter flour'
  • Mineral-rich flour (aleurone inclusion)
  • The use of a lower 'falling number' in wheat
  • Baking quality – Volume, taste, colour, and consistency
  • Mill capacity increase to existing mill units.

Barley: Again, by simply changing the abrasive rolls and screens, the VTA can accomplish three tasks:

Dehulling: Removal of the outer husk

Barley debranning: The percentage of bran removal is dependent upon finished product requirements. This, typically, is a single pass although a secondary pass is sometimes necessary for higher debranning rates. (the 'batch- type' method is sometimes used for this application)

Pearled barley: The pearling of barley requires a high degree of bran removal. This is achieved through using a multi-pass VTA system, employing two or three VTA units or, as previously mentioned, a 'batch-type' method.

Sorghum: Utilising a configuration of abrasive stones and screens like that required for wheat processing, the efficient debranning of sorghum is achieved.

Millet: With an identical set-up of abrasive stones and screens to that of sorghum, the debranning of millet is efficiently achieved by the VTA machine.

Peas: The efficient and simultaneous dehulling and splitting of peas utilising the VTA has proven to be a market success for Satake. In this application, the configuration of the VTA utilises special diamond-coated abrasive rolls, along with a specifically designed screen. The diamond-coated rolls provide an excellent medium for the removal of the pea hull whilst the internal resistance bar design facilitates the 'splitting' effect of the whole pea. In addition to this, the diamond coating provides a long lifespan to the abrasive rolls, whilst the special screen design ensures lasting durability.

Lentils: With an identical set-up of abrasive stones and screens to that of sorghum, the debranning of lentils is efficiently achieved by the VTA machine.

Soybeans: As with peas, the VTA machine efficiently processes soybeans. Dehulling, splitting, and removal of the soybean hull are carried out by the diamond-coated roll and the splitting action is the direct result of the processes varied out by the internal resistance bar. It can also be noted that, in this application, the diamond coating again provides a long lifespan to the abrasive rolls, whilst the special screen design ensures lasting durability.

Chickpeas: Despite the irregular shape of chickpeas, they can again be easily processed by the versatile VTA. Dehulling and splitting actions are both carried out in the VTA chamber.

The versatility of the Satake VTA is clearly evident by the many different applications highlighted in this article. Through extensive on-site testing, the participation of Satake test facilities worldwide and the experience and knowledge from decades of grains processing, the versatile VTA from Satake provides the best technical solution for our customers' needs when it comes to dehulling, splitting and debranning of grains and pulses.

For all your cereal grains and pulses processing needs, please contact Satake USA, Inc. or visit our website.

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