The present sub-chapter aims at giving an outline of the
existing processes for manufacturing vegetable oils without entering into
complex technical details.
In the presentation, an initial distinction is made between the
aspects involved in the processing of oil fruits and those involved in the
processing of oil seeds. For oil fruits, the processes for the extraction of oil
from oilpalmfruit is given as the most important example. For oil seeds, the
principles for different crops are sketched.
In oilcrop processing, many technologies have been developed,
which have their place in different economic and cultural situations. Therefore,
a second distinction is made between traditional methods and modern methods in
each of the above categories. Whereas traditional methods are seen as clearly
reflecting their social environment, modern industrial processes are the result
of high level technological experience.
Small scale oil production systems, as the main target of this
publication, try to combine these two characteristics; i.e. they should be
adaptable to a given social context, and they should be technically efficient
and reliable (which in any case requires proper maintenance and an adequate
supply of spare parts). Small scale systems, therefore, can only be improved on
the basis of an understanding of traditional methods and a thorough knowledge of
modern technology. The presentation of this intermediary technology level,
however, is given in more detail in later chapters.