RAY® plants for the food industry

RAY® Freeze Dryer

The RAY® batch freeze drying plant is ideally suited to processing products such as fruit and vegetables, pet food, meat, seafood, probiotics, convenience foods, instant coffee, tea and ready meals.

RAY freeze drying plant
Here at GEA we have developed a portfolio of batch and continuous NIRO® freeze drying systems for processing a wide range of foods and beverages. Our RAY® family of batch freeze drying technology combines cost efficient,  automated operation with great functionality and reliability . Systems can be configured to process input volumes of 20-30 kg/day (RAY®1), up to 20-30 T/day (6 x RAY® 125). Offering flexibility so you can freeze dry a wide range of food types, the RAY® technology can also be supplied with full sanitary design, for freeze drying bacteria, enzymes and other bioactive products.

Freeze drying is a great way of preserving a wide range of fresh foods, from fish and meats, to fruits, vegetables, coffee and complete ready meals. Health-conscious consumers love the convenience of freeze dried smoothies and snacks that have an extended, fridge-free shelf life, and retain nutritional value, flavor, consistency and appearance. 

Freeze drying can help make food manufacturing more sustainable

For food producers, freeze drying can offer up new opportunities for creating additional value from perishable fresh foods, and for preserving surplus crops and preventing waste. For manufacturers, freeze drying technology presents a wealth of prospects for innovating and creating new products for diverse markets. And freeze drying can also help drive a greener future. Removing the need for final product refrigeration cuts storage- and transport-related costs and carbon footprint, and so helps to reduce environmental impact.

In built automation for reliable, reproducible freeze drying 

The RAY® unit itself comprises a cylindrical freeze drying cabinet with a door at the front for loading and unloading product trays. The unit is supplied, as standard, with our fully featured GEA Codex® control and automation system, which includes a recipe facility and offers full batch reporting, along with data management and visualization tools. This proven platform, for which we offer full global service, gives you confidence in the safe operation of your RAY® freezer dryer, and can enable improved performance, with minimal need for manual intervention and oversight. 

RAY® batch freeze dryer operation is fully automated for each product and batch. Once the unit has been programmed it’s simply a matter of loading the trays - conveyed using an overhead trolley system - closing the door and hitting the start button. One 8-hour preparation shift can provide enough product for 24 hours of freeze drying. And walkaway operation means you can run the system day and night, with minimal supervision. 

Fast setup and installation

The RAY® technology cabinet, heating plates and vapor condensers are built as a complete unit, with all connections to auxiliary systems sited at the rear. This modular design helps to make installation and set up fast and painless. Dryer installation can commonly be carried out by local subcontractors, saving you time and potentially costs. Combine the RAY® technology with GEA high efficiency refrigeration systems, and our energy-saving heat pump technology, and you could see impressive reductions in energy requirements and related costs and carbon footprint across your process line.

The RAY® technology offers:

  • Fast and uniform drying
  • High sublimation capacity
  • Precise control of temperature and vacuum
  • Negligible product loss (less than 0.1%)
  • Easy access for cleaning and maintenance
  • Simple and reliable operation
Thrive Life customer story

Thrive Life

Thrive Life markets a wide range of freeze-dried foods, including fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and ready meals predominantly sold in the United States and Canada from their headquarters near Salt Lake City, Utah.

Pol's freeze drying facility in Ermenek, Turkey


In partnership with community farmers, Pol’s processes a wide range of freeze dried fruits and vegetables, producing bulk freeze dried products for industrial and commercial applications.

From pilot freeze drying plants to fully automated solutions

Of course, GEA offers a range of freeze drying systems to match our customers’ products, setup and business goals. The RAY® Pilot Plant (PP) is a batch-based freeze drying designed to process a range of general food products as well as sensitive products including lactic acid bacteria, enzymes and lactoferrin. A true plug-and-play system requiring only water and power supply, the RAY® PP is fully scalable to industrial systems.

And for high volume continuous processing, GEA offers the fully automated CONRAD® freeze dryer, which is ideal for large-scale manufacture of a wide range of products, from tea and coffee, to fruit and vegetables, meat, seafood and ready meals. 

We want you to be confident that your GEA freeze drying equipment will give you great performance for all of your products. At our GEA centers of excellence you can work with our experts, and evaluate your processes, test new recipes, and work with us to configure the best GEA system for your needs, whether you are new to freeze drying, or you want to upgrade, expand and diversify. We’ll sit with you, listen to your challenges and expectations, and help to select and configure the right technology. 

Want to know more? Get in touch with our experts today

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