Industrial Processes


The operation chain that allows to transform raw material into the desired product requires of a set of equipments, methods and workforce that makes that Refinería del Centro was a leading company in the area and one of the most modern in South America as regards continuous processes.

Refinería del Centro has a series of automatic equipments of Italian origin for tallow and bovine bone processing coming from refrigeration plants, automatic and digital processes controlled from a distance, with high tech equipments and from different origins: Belgian, for fat refining and hydrogen production; Italian, for oil refining; and Danish, for the production of fat, margarine, emulsions and hydrogenated vegetable oil. These means of production support all the productive process, create value and through its operational

A modern laboratory with the latest generation equipment, in charge of highly qualified personnel, assures –during 24 hours- the specifications compliance by means of a quality control plan that includes from the received raw materials until the plant product exit.

records are part of the evidences of the Food Safety Management System.
Refinería del Centro has a SENASA office, a controller organization per excellence in this area. Daily, a functionary of this organization gives permanent inspection and certifies the quality of the received raw materials and the products manufactured.


Raw material used during the process of obtaining fats is tallow, bones and varied slaughter sub products coming from meat processing facilities authorized by SENASA and protected with the corresponding sanitary documents. This raw material is basically composed of the following components: fatty material, bone, water and proteins.

The process starts with the reception of the tallow, bone and sub products by means of dump trucks that discharge into the main hoppers of raw material reception, in a truck maneuvering area. From here, such raw material is entered into the process by means of two inclined endless screws that discharge from the crusher of every feeding line to ground hoppers by means of endless screws. Subsequently, the milled raw material supply to continuous cookers where the tallow and the bone, mixed proportionally according to the meat and bone meal to be produced, are processed using dry heat coming from the saturated water vapour that flows into the cookers through a sleeve and a rotating serpentine.
The cooking temperature is such that denatures the adipose tissue releasing triglycerides. This process is commonly known as cooking of proteins, achieving in this way the formation of two phases: a liquid one (melt fatty material), and other one solid or expeller (composed of proteins mainly). The raw material is then transformed into industrial simply melt tallow and pork scratching speller.
Every cooker discharge the cooked material into its respective tricking, where the liquid tallow is separated from the solid using an appropriate sieve. After that, different paths are followed. The simply melt industrial tallow comes out of the tricking with a content of solid impurities and is pumped into a vibrating sieve where this content is reduced to acceptable values. The liquid tallow is then purified from solid impurities using a horizontal decanter centrifuge in parallel, which have a result of a liquid tallow with a content of solid impurities below specification.

The expeller, after coming out of the cooker, has a high content of fat. For this reason, it is mixed with the dreg separated in the centrifuge and the solid separated in the vibrating sieve to be pressed, recovering fat in this way, and reducing its content to authorized legal values in meat and bone meal. This pressed expeller is transported by means of bucket elevators to storage hoppers, where, subsequently, it is milled using a hammer mill, turning it in this way into meat and bone meal that present a protein content which depends on the bone quantity of the initial raw material.

The following unitary operations that are linked together with the project are:

Reception of raw material

The collection and treatment of raw materials are made immediately once the slaughter has finished to avoid the loss of protein quality of meat meals as a result of the intense microbial activity, especially in summer. The transportation of raw material is carried out in leak-proof vehicles, which are used especially for this purpose in an exclusive way and authorized by SENASA. They have discharge swivel systems. Raw materials are swung on half-buried hoppers, made of steel, with transport devices such as double endless screw.


The aim of this operation is to reduce the fragments of raw materials to a scope that allows for a uniform, complete and at a lower cost thermal treatment. It is considered that the maximum size of fragments shall not exceed 50 mm diameter, which allows to standarize the thermal treatment of raw materials, given the wide variety of sizes of the different parts.


In this operation the thermal processing of raw materials is carried out with dry milling, continuously. Humidity in raw material is removed totally by evaporation, applying heat. High temperatures produce the cooking inside the fragments of raw materials, in the retention time that the passage through the equipment takes to get the sterilization of the treated material and the fusion of fat contained therein. This continuous cooker with dry milling has an entrance of the material to be treated which is introduced in the lower area at the backside, and the exit is held by means of an endless rotor in the upper area at the frontal side. Temperatures are controlled by an automatic system, and the settings of them are managed by the SGI (Food Safety Management System), through CCP (Critical Control Points).

Percolation, shaking and centrifuging

In this continuous operation, the separation of solids and liquids obtained at the end of the cooking process is produced. At the end of the cooking process, a solid material is impregnated with fat (expeller or crackling) and a liquid part which is the liquid industrial tallow. A worm gear, with a drilled sheet housing and with the decreasing pitch endless thread (percolator) produces an increase of pressure and benefits fat separation. The fine separation of solids and liquids is carried out in the shaking process and the filter is finally led to the centrifuging stage.

Mill/ Pressing

This operation allows eliminating much of the fat which impregnates the expeller (crackling) to obtain a meat meal with a fat content that facilitates the product manipulation, according to the legal requirements. The presses consist of a cone shaped shaft, equipped with a decreasing pitch discontinuous propeller, placed in a tubular sieve, which provokes a high increase of pressure in the expeller moving forward through the press shaft: in this way, fat is separated from the sieve and the screw makes that the pressed cake go out, which is conducted through a system of pitcher towards the expeller’s hopper for its cooling.

Milling and Fractioning

The plant operation of meat and bone meals has the aim of physical conditioning of the meals expeller and the adaptation of its quality specifications to those concluded with the clients. Therefore, the pressed cakes obtained are milled to the size of an acceptable particle; they are cooled by the decanting between two hoppers of the expeller, they become homogeneous by a hammer mill and they are packed in sacks and bags for its subsequent commercialization.

Refinery of Industrial Liquid Tallow

In this sector of the plant, a series of operations are made about the industrial tallow, with the aim of obtaining a food-grade product and with characteristics according to the final use. The first step in the refining of the industrial liquid tallow is the whitening process. This process consists of the removal of all impurities which confers color to the fat, mainly proteins and carotenoid pigments, with the help of bleaching clays which absorb these coloring substances.
In the first whitening, slurry is measured out with a certain quantity of bleaching earth; after a particular residence time, it passes through another heat exchanger to raise the temperature and it enters into the second whitening tank where slurry is added with a higher concentration of bleaching earth on a dry basis. Both whitening tanks work with agitation and vacuum to keep the earth in suspension to avoid that the tallow came into contact with the air oxygen at high temperatures, avoiding in that way, the tallow oxidation.
Subsequently, they are passed through a system of two plate filters to separate the tallow earth already whitening. These plate filters work in a discontinuous manner: while one of them filters, the other is cleaned. In this way, the general process is continuous.
With the aim of separating the whitening tallow in different types of fat, which are classified according to the melting point, the process called dry fractionation of fat is made, which consists in the progressive and controlled cooling of the fat, achieving the partial crystallization of the tallow and its later separation in one liquid phase and in a solid one, through a vacuum tape filter.

Products with different melting points are stored in tanks, waiting for the last refining process called deodorization and deacidification. These two processes are, technically, a vacuum distillation with water steam dragging. This process is carried out to eliminate all the responsible compounds for the fat odor; moreover, the content of free fatty acids is reduced to require legal values. The temperature and vacuum applied are achieved with a system of barometric ejectors and condensers of direct contact. In this process, the management Food Safety Management System (SGI) defines Critical control points (PCC) in this stage. Antioxidants and citric acids are added to the deodorized product which acts as a metal remover and it is stored with a nitrogen atmosphere to avoid oxidation.

Formation/ Preparation

The aim is to develop a product according to the needs of the client. In this stage, solid curves, palatability, adequate resistance to integrate dough or a puff pastry, melting point, among others are defined.

Cooling and stirring

At this stage, an abrupt cooling of the product is carried out in order to be able to form stable dough in which the liquid and solid fat fractions are balanced, achieving to crystallize the product in form of crystals more stables. With churning or kneading, products are obtained which possess plasticity and a good mechanical work, that at the moment of being part of a breadmaking product, they will produce a more aerated, flaky and light dough.

The cooling equipments used are the so-called scraped surface heat exchangers with kneading/laminated equipment. These are formed with stainless steel sanitary material; they are hermetic, work at high intern pressures and at adequate cooling temperatures, obtaining harmless products.


At this stage, the cooled and kneading product make contact with the primary package (high density polyethylene- bags and sheets); once the primary package is closed, the product is put inside of its secondary package, palletizing and transported to a maturing/cooling plant.

Hydrogen generation plant


It uses the principle of electrolysis for the hydrogen generation. In a cell, electricity causes water disassociation in the hydrogen and oxygen molecules. An electrical current passes between two separate electrodes by an electrolyte or a 'ions’ means of transport', producing the hydrogen in the negative electrode (cathode) and the oxygen in the positive electrode (anode).

Process flow

Hydrogen and oxygen bubbles, formed inside of the individual cells, are taken together with the electrolyte to the upper part of the cells and they are picked up in two separate channels. Then, the gases go through the liquid gaseous separators where the gas is separated from the liquid electrolyte. Hydrogen passes from the liquid gaseous separator to equipment where the gas is lighten with the incoming distilled and clean water to reduce the residual electrolyte quantity in the gas stream. Then, the hydrogen goes through the coalescent filter where it is cooled and tiny drops of water are taken away. From this filter, the gas flows to the storage tanks. The closure of certain valves in the H2 or the lines O2 allows the system to increase the pressure. Nominal pressure in which hydrogen is produced is determined between 4 and 10 bar.

The cooling equipments used are the so-called scraped surface heat exchangers with kneading/laminated equipment. These are formed with stainless steel sanitary material; they are hermetic and work at high intern pressures and at adequate cooling temperatures, obtaining harmless products.

Hydrogenation Plant

The aim of Hydrogenation is to improve the oxidative stability by reduction of polyunsaturated fatty acids and to change the melting properties by a proportional increase of saturated fatty acids and/or trans.

To do this, the reactor is charged with refined oil and a nickel catalyst is added with determined conditions of process (pressure, temperature), the hydrogen is bubbled to begin with the saturation of fatty acids. Once the reaction is finished, refining of the product is carried out and its subsequent deacidification in the distillation column (deodorization) of free AG, until the required parameters for the Argentine Food Code are reached.


In the interesterification unit, catalytic reaction is carried out in which acyl groups between unsaturated soy oil and saturated oil (hydrogenated) are reorganized randomly with the aim of diminishing the melting point of the mixture and improving the resulting fat plasticity without the formation of trans isomers. In the first place, the reactor is charged with an equipment percentage with refining oil; then, the rest of the reactor is filled with hydrogenated oil, a fully saturated, coming from the hydrogenation stage. Filling percentages of oil and fat will vary according to the properties required in the final product. In the reactor, the interesterification reaction is carried out with the aim of decreasing the melting point of the obtained fat and giving it plasticity. This reaction is random, that is to say, the formed triglycerides are not always the same but the melting point of the product always remains identically defined.


The whitening is batch. The interesterificated fat enters into the whitener where it directly makes contact with the clay. When the equipment is empty, the removal of air trapped in the earth is produced, as the humidity.

Post whitening filtration

Filtration process is batch, filtering process is made of three stages: 1) precoat, 2) filtration and 3) filter cleaning. The interesterificated, whitening and filtered fat that abandons the filters is sent to the polisher filter. This last filtration is made to secure the product quality through the removal of the possible traces of impurities.


The product goes through the deodorization stage, using a continuous deodorizer/deacidifier to obtain a product which fulfills with the AFC requests, considered suitable for human consumption.

The company has a product distributors’ network placed in all and each of the provinces, achieving a properly and on time supply all over the country.

Important industries are attended directly due to our sales force, which allows having a direct, agile and dynamic treat.

Our headquarters is placed in the capital of Córdoba, in the Parque Industrial de Ferreyra. Also, we have a Distribution Center in the city of Munro (Buenos Aires) from where clients from Buenos Aires and the south of the country are supplied with goods.


The premise of creating a sustainable competitive advantage implies finding new and better ways of doing things, design strategies which take into account external factors and clearly visualize the internal performance, with the aim of adding value to the products that reach potential consumers and clients. In a market increasingly complex and diverse, the creation of that value encourages to overcome our own limits, moving forward to a management concept that responds to the new challenges. It is globally accepted that food quality is made up by a series of characteristics which vary according to products and markets, established on the harmless basic condition, understood to be the hygienic and sanitary

The implementation of the food safety management model allows us to place us as a leading company in the national market and to carry out the demands of international markets. The migration from a quality model to a food safety integral management model makes us principal actors, turns us into a motor of this process and into a link in a chain of supports and efforts guided to success and reliability. security of a product. To achieve this, it is essential that the companies’ quality management carry out techniques such as BPM and HACCP, integrated in specific regulations of international standard as ISO 22000.