For Seagarden, it was a question of necessity. The hydrolyzed fish protein that it extracted from North Sea Cod skins at its factory in Norway, an otherwise waste product, had always been transported to Sweden for drying to create the high-quality powders required by its customers. The company wanted to bring this process in house, to reduce transportation costs, reduce the environmental impact of its operations and help improve efficiency.

Seagarden, with its head office in Haugesund, Norway, is a major producer of fish-based ingredients for food, beverage and cosmetic manufacturers worldwide. Collagen peptide, a hydrolysed form of collagen produced in the Seagarden process, can be mixed in powder form into juice or performance drinks, used as an ingredient in nutri-bars and snacks, and as food supplement in tablet or capsule form. Collagen peptide is a special, natural type of collagen that is extracted from the fresh skins of wild Cod fished from the seas north of Norway. Seagarden converts this otherwise waste product into a high-value ingredient.

The challenge

The enzymatic process necessary to extract the hydrolyzed collagen takes place at the Seagarden factory in Haugesund. However, the GEA spray dryer, used to convert the liquid feed into a preserved and easily transported and marketed powder, was at a toll manufacturer in Sweden. This required each batch of feed to be transported, under temperature-controlled conditions, over 1000km for processing. Seagarden decided to build its own drying facility at Haugesund to smooth the process, improve efficiency and sustainability and reduce transport costs.

The GEA Solution

Seagarden was already familiar with GEA and its spray drying technology, and had previously installed a pilot-sized GEA dryer with support from GEA’s service team. That spirit of cooperation between the companies enabled them to work together to establish a practicable, permanent solution that matched the objective and suited the hydrolyzation process already in place.

Spray dryer

GEA and Seagarden identified the GEA Versatile Spray Dryer, FSD®, as the ideal solution for the job. This incorporates a fluid bed that dries powders in a multi-stage process to create the specific powder characteristics required for a variety of products.

GEA has a vast experience in building spray drying plants. This proven ability, with a robust manufacturing and support organization, enabled GEA to work with Seagarden to design, engineer, install and commission the plant within the relative short time period available for the project.

Lars Paarup was the project manager. “We knew that this was a tight deadline, but I had confidence that we could deliver. My team was extraordinary. All the people really performed and immediately understood what was needed. Seagarden trusted us to get on with the job; we had a very friendly relationship throughout.”

The equipment was delivered in summer 2019 on time and on budget. GEA also oversaw the commissioning phase which, despite some change orders, saw first product through the plant in August. After the plant was up and running, Seagarden confirmed that the powder quality was in line with their high-quality expectations.  

Rune Paulsen, CEO of Seagarden, was also complimentary about the work GEA had done: “It was important for us to use a supplier with experience. GEA could give us guarantees that its spray dryer could make the same product that we had. In a project like this it will always be challenging to be finished on time. For this project it was extra demanding due to summer vacation. The collaboration between us and GEA during the installation was very good and this was a key factor in our success. There will always be some challenges when you are starting up a new machine”.

The support from GEA was amazing during the first period. Now we have been running the spray dryer for some time and we are very satisfied with the performance of the dryer. The spray dryer is an important machine in our factory, and it is good to know that GEA is always there for us if we need help.”– Rune Paulsen, CEO of Seagarden

The result

Seagarden now has its new plant at Haugesund that creates its high-quality powders, increasing capacity and avoiding the need for expensive transportation. Through a combination of constructive dialogue with the customer, market leading technology, and unrivalled know-how, GEA once again completed the project on time, on budget and to the customer’s satisfaction.