State-of-the-art Spray Drying for Milk Powders

GEA designs spray drying plants that comply with the strictest dairy processing regulations and meet the highest standards of safety and plant performance. We offer a broad range of spray dryer designs, and work with our customers to configure each plant to match the requirements for optimal operation as well as very specific product composition and properties.

Optimal powder properties

Milk powders are commonly made as agglomerates during the drying process, to give them specific physical properties such as bulk density and wettability. Often combined with lecithination, this process produces a powder structure that allows easy reconstitution in water by the consumer. GEA spray drying technology can be configured to modify or to optimize each desired product property.

GEA’s MSD™ spray dryer is recognized for producing the highest quality agglomerated and non-agglomerated products, and represents a benchmarking technology for evaluation of powder quality in the dairy industry. 

Plant optimization

A GEA spray dryer can remain in continuous operation for up to four weeks, which contrasts with evaporation and dryer feed systems that require daily cleaning. The addition of supplementary evaporation and feed systems to the plant means that the spray dryer can operate at full capacity on evaporator and feed system number 2 while the first set is cleaned.  This gives extra 3-4 hours of uptime every day and improving overall plant output by 15-20 %. In addition fewer start/stop sequences of the dryer decreases the risk of deposits calling for cleaning with loss of production time as result.

GEA has applied computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations and other state-of-the-art design processes to develop the perfect spray drying chamber. Optimized drying conditions lower the risk of powder being deposited on the chamber walls, and so reduce the need for cleaning, as well as reducing the amount of air and energy needed for the process. Features such as optimized heat recovery also contribute to improved energy efficiency. One example is use of evaporator cooling water to preheat the main drying air for the spray dryer.

Our innovative spray drying technologies include the SANICIP™ bag filters. These liquid cleanable filters enable a greater recovery of powder from the spray dryer exhaust air, and so can help to maximize product recovery as well as minimize emissions and ensure efficient cleaning. Overall plant efficiency is improved and operational costs are reduced.  

GEA can also configure sophisticated process analytical technology (PAT) and control systems into our spray drying plants to help ensure that product quality requirements are consistently met, and to help improve efficiency and reduce energy and resource consumption.