In India we have a tradition of processing oils by using different herbs since a long time. Many vaidus and their families process oil at household level for their personal use and for selling as well. Taking a leaf therefore from our rich tradition Rural Communes has been motivating and promoting use of medicinal plants for primary health care under various projects. During the baseline survey under DST–Core support project we found that there are lot of herbs available like Nirgudi, Maka, Amala, Alovera, etc. in our project area which can be converted into oils and used appropriately. After the discussion with community and SHGs we understood and learnt the current practices of oil processing which is as follows:
1. Collect leaves/ raw material as per ayurvedic formulations.
2. As suggested by Ayurveda, take the desired oil base (mostly sesame oil) in a vessel (preferably non reactive like stainless steel) and heat it till it becomes warm (around 50 ° C).
3. Then add the juices or decoction or raw material in the sesame oil.
4. After that let it simmer on slow heat and stir it continuously and properly till all the water evaporates.
5. Processed oil is then sieved through cotton cloth and filled in the bottles.
During the traditional method of oil processing, the major issues we observed were as follows:
· Very poor heat exchange efficiency leads to increase in the cost of product.
· Change in product quality per batch due to improper heat exchange.
· Risky operations due to heavy weight load & improper gas burners.
· Higher labour cost per batch due to low efficiency.
· Required huge manpower for crushing leaves and making juice. Also proportion of water and leaves were improper which affected the quality of oil.
· Wastage was found due to handling by different people.
· Tricky business of stirring continuously by sitting in front of gas / heat.
To address these issues Core team of Rural Communes conducted meeting with experts of Vigyan Ashram, Pabal, discussed the above issues and developed the Oil Processing Unit.
Functions and benefits of this Oil Processing Unit are as follows:
· Selected SS body with total volume of 60 lit / batch which is easier for women to clean and handle.
· Fabricated convex shaped bottom with drain valve which includes filter for sieves and for harvesting water & oil (final product) easily and reducing wastage.
· Increased heat exchange efficiency with convex bottom, auto stirrer and electronically controlled heat sensor helps in reducing heat consumption thereby saving fuel.
· Due to stirrer, reduced labour for stirring continuously.
· Kept a Buzzer to understand heat operations & efficient heat exchange.
· Baffles & adjustable stirrer fans to vary oil rpm according to different product formulation.
· LPG based heating mechanism with adjustable flame valve.
Wet grinder (stone):
We have added Wet grinder (Stone) of 10 liter with this unit for easy grinding of product. This reduces the drudgery and cost of labour. Also due to less handling it reduces wastage of raw materials. Due to wet grinder we will be able to make juice properly and improve the quality of final product.
This product is easy to handle and need single phase electricity for stirrer. Gas is needed for boiling oil and raw material that we use.
This unit is developed for processing of various oils (for e.g. Massage oil, Hair oil etc.) following ayurvedic formulation.
Final working model developed & released for field testing