Optimum Spray Drying Solutions for Nutritional Formula

GEA designs spray drying plants that comply with the strictest dairy processing regulations and meet the highest standards of safety, hygiene 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

Nutritional powders are typically made as agglomerates during the drying process, to give them the requested specific properties. These include a powder structure that allows easy reconstitution in water by the consumer, as well as a uniform bulk density, which is vital for uniform filling of the can or sachet.  

GEA’s MSD™ spray dryer is recognized for producing the highest quality of agglomerated products, and represents a benchmarking technology for evaluation of powder quality in the dairy and nutritional products industry. GEA spray drying technology can be configured to or modified to optimize desired product properties. 

On top of this all GEA dryers, and especially the ones for nutritional powders, are designed to the best possible hygienic standard. This is vital for a consumer product such as Infant Milk Formula. Therefore, plants for nutritional products are equipped with the best possibilities for CIP cleaning inclusive of complete drying prior to production and inspection.

GEA Multistage Dryer, MSD®
GEA Multistage Dryer, MSD®

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 no. 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 decrease 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 heat recovery also contribute to improved energy efficiency. GEA technologies can, for example, reuse the 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, 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.