Groundbreaking GEA serum Separator dramatically reduces fat loss and increases Ghee production up to 30% with no additional investment. Continuing its tradition of developing customer-centric, innovative solutions, GEA has engineered a unique separator for Ghee (clarified butter) processing – the GEA serum Separator – supplied first-of-its-kind equipment to the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union (a.k.a. Amul Dairy) facility at Anand, Gujarat. This revolutionary product has not only reduced fat losses from 2% to 0.3%, but also increased Ghee production by 30% with no additional investment in the plant.
Ghee – a major value-add product in India
India produces around 5 million metric tons of Ghee every year. It is the second-largest milk-based product consumed in India after curd. Since ancient times, it has been used for cooking, medicinal and ritual purposes in the region. Although it is largely produced in the unorganized sector, the market penetration of the organized sector is increasing gradually. The COVID-19 pandemic has further boosted the demand for packaged food products, including packaged Ghee. Amul Dairy, market leader in the Indian dairy sector, has a dominant market share in the packaged Ghee market.
A forward-thinking partnership between Amul and GEA
GEA and Amul enjoy a longstanding partnership, with GEA supplying some of Amul’s largest capacity processing plants and equipment. The GEA serum Separator marks yet another step forward in our relationship. This machine is future-proof and the entire plant can be automated further for continuous Ghee production." - Mr. Deepak Singh, Vice President, Separation and Flow Technologies Business, GEA India
Conventional setup limited production capacity
Amul Dairy at Anand is one of the largest milk unions in Gujarat and manufactures various dairy products. Their Ghee production unit had a conventional pre-stratification setup which used to cause high-fat losses on the order of 2%. With millions of liters of butter melted every day, the 2% fat loss was significantly impacting profitability. The traditional setup also posed operational challenges and was challenging with regard to sustainable production methods.
To overcome this, Amul requested technical support from all the leading technology solution providers, including GEA. GEA understood the importance of the project and proposed KPIs very much in line with Amul objectives – including guaranteed production losses of less than 1% fat in the serum, and a safer, more hygienic production process.
GEA developed its groundbreaking serum Separator based on Amul Dairy’s requirements for the local market. With a capacity of 3,000 liters per hour, the separator allows Amul to bypass the conventional pre-stratification setup and scale up its production to generate an additional production volume of 6 MT per day, without any additional equipment or investment in the plant. This new installation has reduced the effluent load on the ETP section, resulting in large savings on the overall power and fuel consumption and benefiting Amul Dairy’s sustainability initiatives. The GEA serum Separator also helps reduce the turnaround time of the production process.
Developing the GEA serum Separator
The GEA team worked closely with Amul to develop a customized solution, taking time to thoroughly understand the nature of the entire process. Once Amul’s requirements were clear, the team in Germany began innovating the GEA serum Separator at its facility.
Developing the separator itself was just one piece of the puzzle for the GEA team in Germany.
One precondition for a perfectly performing centrifuge is a detailed understanding of the entire process, the particular requirements at every single step and finally the seamless integration of the centrifuge into the line." - Mr. Thomas Veer, Product Manager Sales, Separation Business Unit, GEA Germany
Whether for retrofit or greenfield projects, GEA provides solutions for the complete upstream process, such as milk clarifying and skimming separators, pasteurizers, standardization units and continuous butter making machines. At the same time, GEA supports customers throughout the entire project journey – from design to basic engineering, to machine selection, to the final performance test.
How it works
The GEA serum Separator receives the melted butter or phase inverted cream in the bowl, which has a network of smartly placed disks that rotate at high speed, separating the melted butter into fatty phase and serum. The solid contaminants from the liquid are pushed out towards the outlet and cleared smartly from the chamber periodically by the hydraulic bowl opening system.
The robust engineering allows the serum separator to function as a standalone unit or be integrated with future automation solutions.
Satisfied customer, successful chemistry
Amul Dairy congratulated the GEA team for developing such a revolutionary product that has transformed Amul’s Ghee production.
After installing the GEA serum Separator, we were able to reduce our fat losses while increasing ghee production capacity by almost 30% with no additional investment. We achieved our ROI in less than a year and are very pleased with the performance of this centrifuge." - Mr. Amit Vyas, Managing Director, Amul Dairy