Selona Fat Melter – Johannesburg, South Africa


Selona International, a manufacturer and supplier of raw ingredients for various food and personal care manufacturers, were experiencing throughput issues with melting and handling the fat required for their raw material process. They contacted Anderson Engineering with the task to build a Fat Melter that would be capable of melting 4 tons/hour. The client had an existing unit which melted a single block in approximately 4 hours. We were asked to build a machine that was capable of 4 times that throughput. The fat melter is used to melt a palm based fatty acid for the manufacture of soap.

The project

Anderson Engineering was tasked to design and fabricate a Fat Melter that was capable of melting 4 tons of a palm based fatty acid (1 ton block) in 1 hour. The fat melting throughput requirement was unprecedented and the dimensions of a 1ton block posed several challenges in terms of ergonomics, safe design and fat melting and heat transfer ability. The machine had to interlink with the clients existing bulk fat storage system. This required Anderson Engineering to effectively understand the process of transferring and storing into their existing system.

A number of changes and updates were made to the initial solution, to ensure the Fat Melter delivered on the required brief:

  • The outlet was initially not jacketed, this caused fat to start solidifying at the outlet, affecting the throughput. Jacketing this outlet solved this issue.
  • The 4 x cutting scrolls did not effectively remove material from the bottom of the 1 ton block. Cutting edges were added to the scrolls which solved this problem.
  • The bottom jacketed section was found to not be heating up. After the trouble shooting it was found that there were blockages affecting flow through the jacket.
  • To ensure 4tons/hr throughput, blocks of fat need to be continually fed into the melter as the blocks assist each other in being effectively consumed. This was addressed.
  • Although Anderson Engineering do not have in house heating capabilities for testing purposes, a hot water generator was hired to ensure complete satisfaction with the machine performance prior to dispatch

The project required us to engage with the client intensively during the final design phase, and prior to manufacture. The existing knowledge from the client of how the product behaves was critical in designing our solution.

The machine was comprehensively tested in our factory using actual product. The machine, when tested, achieved a fat melting rate of 1 block in approximately 12 minutes. This exceeded our own expectations. The project was very challenging for our team but overall we delivered a successful project and were able to uphold and supersede our commitment to our customer.

Anderson Engineering was awarded the project in July 2018. The project took approximately 20 weeks to design, manufacture and test and was installed in January 2019.