Production of edible oil with LEWA diaphragm metering pumps

To supply the global demand for edible oil, about 40 different plants are used for the generation of edible oil.

Depending on the region, a wide variety of seeds and fruit are used. The basis for these seed oils include soy beans, rapeseed, sunflowers, peanuts, palm seeds or flax seeds. Fruit pulp oils are extracted from olives, palm oils and avocados, and others.

In the production of edible oil, pumps mainly operate in the low pressure range; we recommend the use of the LEWA ecodos pump series for these processes.


The advantages of the LEWA ecodos pumps in edible oil refining:

  • Hermetically tight diaphragm pumps
  • Maximum operating safety
  • Good cost-benefit ratio
  • Robust drives, designed for continuous operation
  • Patented 4-layer sandwich diaphragm made of pure PTFE
  • Emergency operation even with a diaphragm fracture (indication)
  • Food compatible wetted materials

Because of the outstanding features of the LEWA ecodos in systems in the edible oil industry, other pump types are increasingly being replaced.

LEWA is a one of the leading producers of hygienic compatible designs of pumps and systems and can supply accordingly certified products.

Areas of application

LEWA diaphragm metering pumps are used in the industrial production of edible household oils, mainly in the refining processes:

  • During degumming
  • During neutralization, also called deacidification

The pumps meter phosphoric acid, citric acid or caustic soda during the process.


Process description

Pressing or extraction are generally used for the production of oil from seeds and fruit.

Oil that can be extracted without external addition of heat by pressing is called cold-pressed oil. This oil may not be refined. These oils are ready for use after filtering and filling.

However, the higher the temperature, the higher the oil yield. This leads to pressing under the addition of heat.

Using temperatures of >100°C is referred to as "hot pressing". Raw oil extracted in this manner must absolutely undergo refining.

This term is understood as a combination of physical and chemical processes, to remove undesirable and environmentally related components, such as

  • Phosphatides
  • Free fatty acids
  • Coloring
  • Odors and flavors
  • Waxes
  • Heavy metals
  • Pesticides

from the raw oil.

Essentially, classical refining consists of the following operational steps:

  • De-lecithinization
  • Degumming
  • Deacidification or neutralization
  • Bleaching
  • Deodorization

Beside this classical chemical refining, physical refining is also significant. It is technically more complex, but only has two combined process steps, the degumming and prebleaching or deacidification.

The major advantages are its lower environmental impact and reduction of refining losses. The disadvantage is that a significantly improved degumming is required, depending on the type of oil.

Process scheme production of edible oil in the food industry


A special form of degumming to extract lecithin. 
De-lecithinization is exclusively used for special types of oil, e.g., soy oil, in which the targeted processing is profitable. 

Precipitation of the hydratable phosphatides using the addition of water and heat. The remaining, non-hydratable phosphatides are dissolved by the addition of acids. Phosphoric acid or citric acid are the preferred additives. By heating to about 90°C, the protein and carbohydrate compounds, which would cloud the oil break down. Degumming is completed by decanting or separating.

Through the addition of caustic soda, the fatty acids are removed, which negatively affects the taste and shelf life. The resulting soap is suctioned off or removed in centrifuges.

In this step the coloring is removed, along with hydroperoxides and heavy metals.

Deodorization (vaporizing)
The highest temperatures in the entire refining process occur here. At around 240°C, undesirable smells and flavors are removed. Volatile compounds (including traces of hexane) and pesticides are also removed.


Food & Beverage

Use LEWA pumps and system solutions for your homogenization processes in the food and beverage industry. Ask our experts for more information!


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© 2019 LEWA GmbH