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Olive oil mill toward industry 4.0


In recent years many studies have been conducted on olive oil mill and processes for improving extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) quality. The malaxer is the most studied machine among all, it is responsible for malaxation, which represents a very important and critical step in the EVOO extraction process. The processing conditions allowing a selective control of the enzymes represent a crucial point of the oil mechanical extraction process, strictly related to the sensory and healthy quality of EVOO. The authors designed a malaxer prototype provided with a supervisor control acquisition data (SCADA) system for the smart management of the malaxation process to obtain high quality EVOO. The system is equipped with sensors that allow the management of the entire malaxation process: olive paste input and output, exposure to air time and process duration. Different programs of the software can be chosen according both to the variety and quality of the olives and the type of EVOO that is to be obtained in terms of volatile and phenolic components. The innovative machine has been included in a modern olive mill in order to evaluate the quality of 'Cerasuola' and 'Nocellara del Belice' EVOOs. Oil samples were collected after each test, put in 100 mL dark glass bottles, stored at 12°C and transported to the laboratory where analyses were performed. The results obtained confirm that the quality of EVOO in terms of quantity of volatile and phenolic components can be designed by intervening on some parameters during the malaxation process. This was possible with the use of the malaxer prototype provided with a SCADA system that allowed to manage the biochemical processes that lead to the formation of volatile and phenolic components.