How does a cleaner work?


In a previous blog, we discussed the topic of how a destoner works.  In this blog, we touch on why it is important to prepare materials prior to extrusion.  While the destoner is important, something even more critical is a cleaner.

What does it do?

Unlike a destoner, a cleaner sorts material based on particle size instead of bulk density.  Cleaners have inserts called screens which can be installed and changed based on the material being cleaned.  These screens have various opening sizes which allow certain sizes of material to pass through while others remain on top of the screen.  The number of screens dictates how thoroughly cleaned a material will be and can range from one or two to more than 15.

Working principles

As mentioned, the primary method for separation is based on size.  Additionally, some cleaners have air that blows through the screens which helps lift lighter material up and out of the machines.  These are known as air-screen cleaners.  As material enters the cleaner, it passes over the various screens contained within the machine.  These screens are chosen based on the material to sort.  In the case of soybeans, you’d want to sort out things that are larger and smaller than the typical bean size, so screens are sized accordingly.  If your average bean size is smaller than normal, you could also adjust for this as well.  Smaller particles will fall all the way through the screens while others may stay on top.  The cleaner shakes and oscillates the screens back and forth to promote material flow and separation for better cleaning.  Screens are housed in decks and each deck has various points of discharge for these “trash” streams.  They will typically discharge on one side of the machine and be conveyed away to a bin or some type of collection point.  Desired material will be isolated and have a separate discharge location on the cleaner.


Cleaners come in various specifications and classifications.  Some can be a pre-cleaner prior to raw material storage while others can be a precision cleaner that will remove items such as soybean splits.  The choice of cleaner depends on your processing needs.  As precision requirements increase, so too does price.  The correct selection is a critical step to ensure clean and consistent material is entering your processing plant.

Please contact us if you would like our assistance in choosing the right system for your needs.

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