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Tea - profit from oversize grades.

Tea - profit from oversize grades

The range of Tea Cutters from Blackfriars, England bring innovation to the tea processing industry with the promise of improved yields and higher profits. All tea processing methods (CTC, etc.) invariably produce an oversize grade of black tea. When sorted, the leaf can be cut to give a dust free product without visible or liquor degradation. Large leaf is not only turned into a useful grade but in the process the bulk density is improved, which is all important for subsequent high speed packing operations.

Cutting through Tradition

Up to now size reduction has been carried out either by a crushing process, where the outputs are typically low. Alternatively a hammer mill could be used which creates a dusty product with very considerable "greying."

In contrast, the Blackfriars Tea Cutter operates on a different principle to either of these traditional processes. The machines are rotary cutters which have a precision cutting action giving a high throughput and minimum dwell time within the machine.

The Blackfriars Tea Cutter has a potential use in any tea manufacturing process. After the tea leaf has been dried and prime grades collected, the residue leaf can be processed by the Tea Cutter to produce an increase in the overall yield of prime grades. By using the Tea Cutter, not only is the size of the tea leaf controlled, but also the bulk density and volumetrics improved. Such improvements can aid downstream packaging operations. All of this can be achieved without causing problems of dust or deterioration of leaf bloom or appearance. Inter-changed screens provide for flexibility in the leaf product.

The Tea Cutter is designed on the principle of a multi-knife rotary cutter. A complete system consists of a Tea Cutter, and an appropriate material in-feed and outlet system. The in-feed system must prevent contamination, such as stones and metal from entering the Tea Cutter. This is effectively achieved through the use of a pre-cleaner unit to remove heavy objects followed by a magnet for removing any light ferrous objects. The exact choice of in-feed system will depend on the way in which the machine is used and the purity of the tea being cut. For general applications it is recommended, that tea is fed by an auger from a tip into the pre-cleaner, from which it is pneumatically conveyed into the Tea Cutter.

The outlet system provides for tea to be conveyed from a chute on the Tea Cutter into a cyclone and released through a rotary valve. The conveying fan is placed downstream of the cyclone to prevent any deterioration of the leaf after it has been cut. Tea collected from the rotary valve can be screened or used directly. For both inlet and outlet systems, independent dust bag units are recommended.

The Blackfriars Tea Cutter is available in two sizes to meet different output requirements. The smaller Model 30/60 with a 11 kw motor, has a typical output of 750 kg/hr. The larger Model 38/66 with a 22kw motor, has a typical output of 1500 kg/hr.

A correctly operated system requires a minimum of maintenance. Periodic inspection and re-sharpening of cutting knives is required. Through automated material handling, operating labor is only required to feed the machine and remove the processed tea as necessary. The cutter screen can be changed in a quick and easy operation, to provide production versatility.

According to Blackfriars, the Tea Cutter is an innovation in the field of tea processing machinery. The Tea Cutter is being used in an increasing number of applications with tea producers and tea processors worldwide. It offers efficient, high output processing capacity suitable for a whole variety of teas. Full test and demonstration facilities are available in the U.K., together with technical support and a comprehensive knowledge of tea processing.

PHOTO : A typical Blackfriars Tea Cutting System with pre-cleaner (left) tea cutter (center) and outlet cyclone and rotary valve (right).
COPYRIGHT 1990 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:innovations in the tea processing industry
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:May 1, 1990
Words:658
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