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Unveiling the Secrets of Corn Milling:Wet and Dry Processing

Corn, as the world's most important food crop with the highest total production, is rich in nutrients and has a variety of uses. Corn milling, the process of transforming corn grains into various valuable products (maize flour, corn grits, corn starch and some by-products.) , plays a pivotal role in the food industry. This paper focuses on the two main methods of corn milling - dry milling and wet milling - and provides insights into the processing steps, processing machinery and technological advances in the maize milling industry.

what is corn dry milling and wet milling?
Turnkey Solutions for Corn Milling Process Design

If you have plans to get into the corn processing industry to start a corn milling plant business, you can check out this article for some related information. Of course you can also get more information from our special page on corn milling knowledgeTips For Streamlining Maize Processing Steps>>

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Corn Uses

Corn oil - corn embryo contains 36 ~ 41% oil, for high-quality edible oil and can make margarine.
Corn starch - made of syrup colorless, transparent, high fructose content, can be made of high-grade candy, pastry, bread, jam and a variety of beverages.
Feed - harvested during the maturity of the stalk and cob, is a good silage for dairy cows.
Other - corn in the industry can make alcohol, beer, acetaldehyde, acetic acid, acetone, butanol and so on.

The Corn Wet-Milling Process

The main products of corn wet milling are maize starch and corn oil, and the by-products are excellent livestock feed. The main steps are cleaning, soaking, grinding, separating, refining, dehydrating and drying, etc., so that the cellulose, oil, protein and other non-starch materials in the corn kernel are separated, and get the white powdery starch. (You May Interested: Maize starch industry production process and equipment)

  • Cleaning Process: Clean the shelled corn to ensure that they are free from dust and foreign bodies.
  • Steeping: Corn kernels are soaked in water, often with sulfur dioxide, to soften the kernels before processing. Soaking promotes the release of starch, protein, oil and fiber from the kernels. 
  • Milling and Separating: Soaked corn is coarsely milled to separate the germ from the rest components (corn starch, gluten, fiber). 

The germ is dried to make corn germ oil. The rest is ground again to separate the corn starch, fiber, and gluten. Corn starch is either dried and sold or made into other products such as corn sweeteners, corn syrup, glucose and fructose. The fiber and gluten are used to make feed.

wet corn milling process steps flow chart pdf
Byproducts Of Corn By Wet Milling Process

The Corn Dry-Milling Process

Dry milling of corn is a widely used method that consists of several consecutive steps to extract different components from corn kernels. Generally includes removing impurities, adjusting moisture, peeling, breaking grits and de-embryo, lifting grits and lifting embryo, milling , to get corn grits, corn flour.

  • Cleaning process: The process begins with cleaning to remove impurities such as soil and stones to ensure the quality of the raw material. (Related Products: Grain cleaning equipment)
  • Conditioning Process: The cleaned corn is conditioned, adjusting the moisture content to 20-22% optimally.
  • Degermination Process: Removing the maize husk and embryo with a dehulling machine when they become tough, separating the outer layers of bran and germ from the starch-containing endosperm.
  • Milling Process: The corn milling process consists of the steps of grinding, sifting, classifying, purifying, aspirating and in somecase, final drying. The remaining endosperm is ground with corn roller mill machine, and corn grits and corn flour of different coarseness and fineness are separated through various sieves. (Related Products: Small scale corn milling machine)

Corn/Maize Mill Machine Fit Your Processing Needs From ABC Machienry

Corn dry milling process is a less versatile and less capital intensive process technology. In the corn milling process, the corn milling machines relies on a pair of opposite differential rotation to remove the skin, extract the endosperm, and grind the corn kernels into fine-grained corn flour. (Read More: small scale maize milling machines cost in Kenya)

The core corn processing equipment include: corn milling machine, vibrating screen, de-stoning machine, de-embryo machine, germ extraction machine, corn peeling machine, corn polishing machine, flat sieve, etc.

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Corn Dry Milling Process Machine For Sale

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Corn Dry Miling VS. Wet Milling-Pros and Cons Analysis

Corn milling process techniques include dry and wet processing, both of which are widely used in the maize milling industry, but also have their own advantages and disadvantages. Corn milling business enterprises should be considered comprehensively, choose the processing technology suitable for your own. 

Dry Milling 

  • The dry milling process has low requirements for maize mill machine equipment, which can reduce the input cost of corn processing plant and reduce the economic burden.
  • However, the value of by-products processed by this method is low, making the corn processing cost increase.

Wet Milling

  • With corn wet processing process, products obtained  have higher added value and more varieties. And they can adjust the production plan in time according to the market supply and demand to improve the income of corn mill plant.
  • But maize wet milling process steps are relatively complex, equipment and plant investment costs are high in the production process.
  • In additon, corn needs to be soaked for a long time in the production process, and the water treatment capacity is large, so the energy consumption is large.

Comparison of Dry- and Wet-Milling Process

  Corn Dry Milling Corn Wet Milling
Technology  Cleaning, conditioning, degermination, milling Cleaning, Steeping, milling and separation
Finish Products Corn flour, corn grits, corn meal, ethanol Corn starch, corn gluten meal, corn germ oil, fiber, ethanol
Requirements for equipment Lower Higher
Investment Cost Lower Higher

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