Liquid Ring Vacuum Pump & Compressors in the Tobacco Industry
Tobacco is a plant that is particularly high in moisture content as it grows. If the air is dry, tobacco in particular begins to wilt and die, even as it grows before harvest. For this reason, humidity plays an extremely important role in the cultivation and sale of tobacco.
The tobacco is harvested according to ripeness and with consideration to the health of the crop. Either the leaves are taken off or the stalk is cut with the leaves, and then separated. The plant is taken to yellow and dry, altogether called the curing process. Yellowing is slowly heating the leaves until they are all yellow in color. They are then hung up to dry.
While there are many different curing processes, such as air, sun, fire, and flue curing, all of them require a close eye on the moisture content of the plant while curing. If the surroundings are too humid, the leaf degrades in quality more quickly, and curing is a very time-consuming process. On the other hand, if the leaves are too dry, they can wither or tear, significantly reducing the yield and quality of the leaves.
Sometimes the curing process includes bulking, or stacking the leaves enough so that a fermentation process can begin on the bottom of the stack. The pressure of the leaf pile creates a bit of heat, which helps the leaves to ferment and become sweeter. The leaves are taken to storehouses to “finish”, which includes the bulking process for some species of tobacco. They are then graded, packaged and shipped.
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Applications of Liquid Ring Vacuum Pumps
The liquid ring vacuum pump is applicable in the humidifying process. During the yellowing and drying process, ventilators are opened and closed to let atmospheric moisture enter. This is done so that the leaves don’t completely lose moisture while curing, but not much moisture is needed while heating and drying the leaves in this way. However, while the leaves are being stacked and finished, moisture control in the air of the storehouse is extremely important to maintain the quality and not forsake the weeks of preparation beforehand. This cannot simply be done by opening and closing ventilation. Thus, the introduction of a steam jet connected to a liquid ring vacuum pump can properly control the humidity and temperature in the storehouse, possibly for encouraging the bulking process, but just for maintaining the quality of the leaves in general.
The leaves can then be vacuum packaged by liquid ring vacuum pumps. The vacuum packaging is able to minimize potential biodegradation of the leaves and maintain the quality, aroma, and flavor of the leaves.
The main reason why liquid ring vacuum pumps are so advantageous in this process is that they are excellent in operating within wet environments while processing wet vapors and gasses. In an industry where humidity is the ultimatum between quality product and no product, this kind of pump ensures that controlled moisture is achieved.