Fresh fruit bunches (FFB) delivered to mills in Malaysia contain a high volume of trash that accompany the loose fruits when scooping loose fruits from the field using hand or tractor shovels. In the early days of the industry when loose fruits were handpicked, the problem of FFB contamination by trash was virtually non-existent. The acute labour shortage coupled with high labour cost has generated the present problem of high trash content in FFB. The sand, the main component of trash causes serious erosion on process machinery. In addition, the wasted iron is also picked up by the palm oil, which in turn become contaminated by the iron it picks up resulting in oxidation of the palm oil. In order to address this serious problem, many methods were tried out by the industry but none offered a satisfactory solution. This article presents a simple and effective method of selective elimination of trash in FFB based on 12 trials conducted in a mill in August and September 2011. The volume of sand and stones removed was observed to exceed those observed in the conventional system. The implication of the study reveals that further system extension and development can bring about even better trash removal efficiency.
Keywords: FFB, PALM OIL MILLS, PALM OIL-Processing & Milling, MPOB PUBLICATIONS