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Introduction

In today’s competitive environment Tea Manufacturers are in the lookout and keen to implement methods/improvements to produce better quality of product with higher shelf life. Methods of improvisation in tea processing includes reduction in processing durations and enhance production, improvement in microbiological quality of product and lesser micro-contaminations in the environment to produce better quality of the product. Major tea processing steps consist of collection of tea leaves from the garden, withering them over a period of time, cutting them into suitable size, fermentation (spreading it on the floor or conveyer for a suitable duration so that the green color converts into brown), Drying, Size Gradation, Sorting and Packing.

Problem associated with tea processing

Certain amounts of micro-organisms are always associated with any food product and the same holds good for tea also. The Micro-Organisms grow at faster rate and deteriorates the product quality, with respect to preserving freshness and shelf life. The problem lies in the area of CTC machine, where small particles of Tea Leaves entangle into machine component and spread around. These particles in the due course are a source of Micro-Biological contamination.

Tea fermentation is primarily an Oxidation Process and to promote the process during fermentation, lot of air is available around the product. Fresh air is again a source of contamination and increase the microbial load on the product.

Concentration of ozone inside processing unit.

• An Air blower is normally installed closer to the CTC machine, blowing air near the rotary portions and closer to the entangled particles of Tea into the machine. To control the Microbial contaminations, process of blowing steam and disinfectant chemicals are utilized. Both these options are a recurring expenditure and reduce product quality.

• During fermentation, to promote the process, lot of fresh air is blown, which although enhances the fermentation process, however increases the microbial load onto the product.

How ozone will help in the above problems

Ozone being tri-atomic oxygen is a very strong oxidizer, efficient Broad-Spectrum Microbiological Control Substance, having powerful Oxidizing and Disinfecting Property. It destroys any bacteria, viruses, cysts and pathogens in the air or any food product in a very short duration. Ozone is very effective in the moist environment, thus Tea processing is an effective area for Ozone application.

Growth of spoilage Micro-organism can be retarded to a great extent in the presence of Ozone. If a controlled environment of ozone is maintained in the fermentation area or CTC machine, the fermentation process will accelerate and the bacterial growth in the area can be retarded to a great extent.

As a result the Fermentation duration can be reduced. In actual practice, our clients have reported a reduction of 33% duration. In addition, Microbial load is also substantially lower, making a superior product with an enhanced aroma, appearance and infusion.

 Ozone System  suitable for Tea Processing

• Ozone Environmental Sterilization Closer to CTC machine

An Online Ozonation System can be installed at the inlet of the blower from which the air will be passing, and the oxygen of the air will be converted into Ozone. Ozone mixed air will be blown close to the CTC Machine. Ozone will disinfect the environment and subsequently the component of the machine.

As a result of the sterile environment, microbiological load on the air and the machine component will get drastically reduced ultimately providing improved hygienic environment for the processing of the tea. Use of ozone is approved by FDA, USA and agencies of other countries.

• Improvement of oxidizing and sterilized Environment at tea Fermentation floor

For improving the oxidized and disinfecting environment controlled amount of ozone is spread into the area. This is done through the spraying of special Ozone showers, suspended in the effective area. By virtue of controlled ozone environment enhanced oxidation reduces the fermentation duration. In addition microbiological load is also reduced providing a improved quality product in shorter duration. The productivity can be increased by 30% to 40% by reduction of fermentation duration.


Concentration of Ozone, required to be maintained in the area

A very small Ozone concentration of .05 to .08PPM is adequate for sterilization of the affected area.

Maintenance and Control of Ozone concentration in cold preservation

Concentration of ozone in the air is monitored by Ozone Monitor. For Automatic regulation feed back loop can be used. The Monitoring System is equipped with high and low level outputs, which are used for providing warnings or control signals.
 

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