FAQs about Somat Food Waste Dehydrators

Somat DeHydrator System (DH) Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of volume and weight reduction can I expect from a DH alone?

You should be able to expect a 90% reduction in weight. Volume will be determined on the type of waste, i.e., large amounts of paper goods vs. mostly food waste. Typical volume reduction will be in the 70 to 90 percent reduction range.

What kind of volume and weight reduction can I expect from a SOMAT Pulping System and a DH?

You should expect a 95% reduction in weight and volume using both units.

How should I use my end product?

You could use it on the grounds of your establishment, at your residence, offer it to a composting facility as cover for static pile composting or (worst case) send it to the landfill. Because the end product is 95% dry, it is very stable and can be stored (as long as it is not rehydrated) for months with no ill effects. Also, keep in mind that if you do land apply it, the end product needs to be tilled into the soil, and it will finish the composting process there.

What type of container is easiest to use to get the product into on the empty cycle?

We find that a tote that fits under the discharge chute works the best. Find one that’s easily handled and able to easily accept your soil amendment.

What power requirements do I need?

Most units are 3 phase 208 volt. Contact Somat Company for spec sheets on specific models.

Are the Units Mobile?

All units have casters for easy mobility. We would recommend that the larger units be stationary as they need to be hard wired.

How should I install a unit?

Your unit should follow the following guidelines:


  1. The unit shall be installed in accordance with national and local wiring regulations and all applicable codes.
  2. The unit MUST be placed at least 8” from the wall.
  3. DO NOT pull or alter power cord. Pulling and misuse of the power supply cord can result in damage to the unit and cause electrical shock.
  4. Ensure the electrical cord is properly grounded.
  5. DO NOT place any materials on top of unit.
  6. DO NOT use water to clean the unit. Use of a stainless steel cleaner and cleaning cloth are sufficient to wipe down the outside of the unit.
  7. DO NOT alter the pre-programmed settings or disassemble the unit without first contacting Somat Company. Failure to do so may result in a voided warranty.
  8. Turn off incoming power to unit and lockout breaker to perform any kind of maintenance or cleaning.
  9. DO NOT open the input door during operation; it can cause odor issues and errors in the automated control and operation and cause burns from steam.
  10. Ensure the unit and the area around the unit is clean. Proper maintenance of the unit is also highly recommended.
  11. Please have ALL operators read the Operations Manual to ensure proper understanding of the unit and its operation.

Can I add product to the unit during a cycle?

No, by adding additional waste to the unit during a cycle, the unit will not be able to generate a dry batch in the given run time. If you must add more waste, you will need to restart the cycle.

How often should I clean the screen in the unit?

We would recommend daily.

Is my product actually compost when the cycle is done?

No, this unit dehydrates and macerates food waste producing a mulch-like end product that is suitable for use as a soil amendment. The by-product can be considered a “Sterile Biomass” since it has been sterilized by 180 degree temperatures for several hours. The by-product will complete the composting process when introduced into soil and rehydrated.

What do the number displays mean, and is there something I should be monitoring?

The displays are for monitoring temperatures and time. They are preset from the factory and should require no additional input. If the numbers on the display exceed the programmed set points, the unit will shut down.

My end result seems a bit wet; what should I do?

You would want to start another cycle, though you will need to check it after 2-3 hours. If the waste going in was extremely wet, or if the door was opened during operation, it would delay the original process and result in an unfinished product.

Can I couple a SOMAT Pulping System with a DH?

Yes, by coupling systems, you should see a weight and volume reduction of up to 95%. And you will increase the capacity of a DH by as much as eight times. This is accomplished by the eight-to-one volume reduction effect of the pulper.

How often should the tank be cleaned?

Typically there is no cleaning of the tank. Periodic buildup on the auger may need to be removed.

Is it ok to discharge the product as soon as the timer says the cycle is up?

No, by discharging the product as soon as the timer reaches zero, you could be burned by the steam from the system. It is always best to let the system cool itself down which prepares the waste for handling.

Is the end product safe to handle?

The product has reached a temperature of 180° for over 12 hours, meaning all pathogens and bacteria, and even seeds, have been effectively killed, and your product is now sterilized.

Do I have to add anything to the unit to aide in the process?

No additional additives are required for the DH. If a large greasy batch is going to be run, leafy greens or cardboard can be added to aide in the absorption of the fats, oils and greases.

How much drainage can I expect from the machine?

You can expect up to 10 gallons per 18-hour cycle. This will vary depending on the amount of moisture in the waste introduced into the DH.

How do I know if my product is safe for soil application?

We would recommend an analysis by your local agronomist or fertilizer company of both your soil and the DH by-product you wish to add to it. This analysis will determine whether or not one will help the other. As you can imagine, the by-product will vary from site to site depending on what goes into it, so this is important to maintain a healthy soil.

Really, how full can I fill the unit?

The fill should not exceed the auger of the unit. By exceeding capacity, you risk running multiple cycles to complete or damage to the machine and its sensors.

My employees like to open the door on the unit during processing to see what’s going on; is there anything wrong with this?

My employees like to open the door on the unit during processing to see what’s going on; is there anything wrong with this?

What type of material can go into a DH?

If it’s from nature, your DH will love it. All organic material and compostables can go into a DH.

I work in a high-volume restaurant. Sometimes things get missed when sorting; will it hurt the machine?

Making sure that silverware does not enter the machine would be best. A random piece here or there should not hurt the unit; just make sure that the object is taken out at the end of the cycle.

If I use the soil amendment in my garden, will seeds from what was processed grow?

Not at all; during the cycle, the waste is heated to 180° for over 12 hours, killing all bacteria and plant seeds in the process.

Should I expect some sort of odor?

The DH is a low-odor device. It effectively manages odor through activated charcoal air filters and a super-heated exhaust. It will emit a slight “cooking” odor at times, but you will not find it offensive.

How simple is the unit to operate?

Easy as 1, 2, 3. Fill your unit to the specified fill height, close all your doors, power the unit, and then, press start.-That simple.

How much does it cost to produce a soil amendment from the DH?

We look at an average of $67.50 per ton of soil amendment. This is based on a rate of ₡.12 per KwH. This cost of kilowatt hours may vary from region to region.

What is the difference between the DH and other similar units on the market?

The DH does not require ANY additional products such as wood chips, chemicals, or charcoal to be added to the waste. It also consumes NO fresh water and does not discharge any “dirty water” to sanitary. As mentioned above, the only discharge from the unit is the “Sterile Biomass” and a few gallons of condensate runoff from the condenser unit.



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