Pilot Test Plants

Comprehensively testing new processes with Pilot Test Plants from GEA

At our factory in Ahaus / Germany, we offer all customers the opportunity to perform their own production tests. This helps to ensure the successful implementation of any industrial process as completely as possible. Depending on your needs we offer four different pilot test plants: • Aseptic Pilot Line • Modular test plant • UHT Pilot Plant, Type L • Mini Pilot UHT Plant

Aseptic Pilot Line

The aseptic pilot production line designed for this purpose covers the mixing and preparing of products as well as thermal product treatment using non-aseptic or aseptic technology. Direct processes such as injection and infusion can be used for testing as well as indirect methods involving tubular or plate heat exchangers. Various de-aeration technologies can be selected. It is, of course, also possible to buffer the aseptically treated product in tanks and fill it later on an aseptic filling machine. 

The production capacity of the plant is 400 to 1,000 l/h, depending on the product's viscosity. 

The available pilot line can be configured with these modules:

  • mixing unit, 
  • UHT unit, 
  • de-aerator, 
  • aseptic tank unit, 
  • aseptic filling machine, 
  • CIP / ice water / waste water tank 

The GEA team offers everything that is necessary for successful testing on our premises: test kitchen where the products can be tested for their viscosity, dry mass, pH values and Brix contents and also a water bath, an incubator and a refrigerator for the samples are also provided.

Modular Test Plant

We also offer a modular test plant for technologists and product developers in the food sector – designed for research, product development, the reproduction of realistic process conditions on a laboratory scale and for pre-series productions. 

The test plant is used for the heat treatment of low- to high-viscosity food products such as milk, yoghurt, fruit preparations, puddings, sauces and dressings. The capacity of the modular plant ranges between 100 and 500 l/hour, depending on the product being processed. 

Owing to the large variety of products that the plant is expected to handle, all product-contact parts are made of stainless steel 1.4404 or higher quality to prevent corrosion problems as a result of chlorides or a low pH value at high temperatures. This test plant can be completed with many other modules you need for testing your product. 

 

UHT Pilot Plant, Type L

The UHT pilot plant type L is a compact unit that is easy to transport to where it will be used. This model also uses tubular heat exchangers. Both UHT methods, the indirect and the direct heating principles can be applied.

Mini Pilot UHT Plant for Manufacturers of Liquid Products

The test plant for small test quantities makes it possible to determine, as accurately as possible, whether and how a desired product development can be realized. 

The plant for aseptic product treatment is ideal for simulating the industrial production of liquid products using different technologies and designing the “scale-up”. This allows the manufacturer effective calculations and ensures repeatability in series production. Variable heating options 
provide flexibility in the choice of product technology. The production output of the mini pilot UHT plant ranges between 50 and 200 l/h, depending on product viscosity. 

The mini pilot UHT plant is equipped with single-tube heat exchangers with a clear diameter of 8–12 mm, which can be variably connected among each other. Due to the specific single tube heat exchangers in different nominal widths the indirect heating equipment can reflect real production conditions as closely as possible. 

One or two supply tanks (optionally fitted with an agitator) can also be selected. The plant is equipped with a regenerative circuit and two independent heat exchangers as standard. This concept allows you to carry out testing for various products. A non-aseptic or/and an aseptic homogenizer can also be integrated in the process. 

A direct module is also available but can only be used in combination with the indirect mini pilot UHT plant described above. It is equipped with a direct steam injector. A product pump with a second injector can be connected in series as an option. This makes it possible to minimize the heat load. The direct module also includes an optimized infusor tank with another product pump for controlling the level in the tank. It also comprises a flash tank, executed as a vacuum deaerator with a centrifugal pump connected to it, including all vacuum components and vapor cooling. 
The mini UHT direct module is operated from the switch cabinet for the indirect mini pilot UHT plant. 

The automation level is also restricted to controlling product output and heating temperature; all the other processes and (usually) CIP sequences are operated manually.

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