Freeze Dryer

RAY® Pilot Plant Freeze Dryer

GEA’s RAY® Pilot Plant (RAY® PP) is a batch-based freeze dryer designed to process general food products such as instant coffee, fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood and pet food, as well as very sensitive products such as lactic acid bacteria, enzymes and lactoferrin.

RAY Pilot Plant Freeze Dryer

GEA’s RAY® Pilot Plant (RAY® PP) is a batch-based freeze dryer designed to process general food products such as instant coffee, fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood and pet food, as well as very sensitive products such as lactic acid bacteria, enzymes and lactoferrin.

Today’s consumers actively seek out food products that are easy to prepare, tasty and stay fresh for longer. Freeze drying enables manufacturers to meet these demands by preserving the natural color, properties and consistency of the product, as well as its constituent proteins and vitamins.

Offering substantial benefits to nearly every area of food processing, including fish, fruit and herbs, RAY® freeze drying technology provides a high quality solution. Frozen products are dried under vacuum, ensuring that the inherent solvents in the product are removed as vapor.

Freeze dried berries

Freeze dried pineapples

Key Features

Operated via a touchscreen, the RAY® PP is designed for hygienic processing and, as such, is easy to clean and maintain. Once product has been placed in the chamber, the process runs fully automatically and all vital parameters — product temperature, heating profile, loss of weight, etc. — are monitored and stored to provide full documentation and ensure repeatability. The RAY® PP is able to automatically generate drying profiles and, based on maximum product temperature and/or factors such as constant weight, temperature and vacuum difference, determine the end point of the process.

Although designed to operate at 0.2 mbar, the RAY® PP can tolerate pressures as low as 0.1 mbar. In addition, the RAY® concept ensures short downtimes between batches, based on rapid evacuation times, effective deicing and efficient tray loading. The pilot plant comes in two sizes: 

RAY® PPRAY® PP 1RAY® PP 2
Drying surface (m²)0.71.5
Load (kg/day)20  38
Dry matter (%)20.020.0
Expected batch time (h)8.08.0
Sublimation (kg H2O/day)15.330
Production (kg/day)4.08.0
Installed power (Kw)1225
Average consumption (Kwh/h)712
Water consumption (L/h)5075

Key Benefits

As one of the most experienced designers and manufacturers of freeze drying plants in the world, GEA combines unique technology with reliable plant operation to provide the superior product quality you need to stay ahead of your competitors. The RAY® PP offers the following economic and technical advantages:

  • Full scalability to industrial systems
  • Preservation of product structure and size, as well as key attributes such as color and nutrients 
  • Uniform drying delivering stable products with a long shelf-life
  • Flexible operation with variable parameter for condenser temperature, vacuum and heat input
  • Online monitoring of weight loss and product temperature.
  • Batch reporting and recipe system integrated
  • High throughout and large capacity condenser
  • Automatic generation of freeze drying profile. 

RAY™ PP at a glance

  • Stainless steel cabinet and condenser
  • Plug ‘n’ Play unit that only requires water and power
  • High-capacity vapor trap able to handle sublimation of 2.5 kg H2O /m²/h 
  • Water-based heating system. 
  • Controlled heating and cooling from 20–140 ºC
  • Radiation heating for even heat input.
  • Evacuation to 1 mbar in less than 8 min
  • Accurate vacuum regulation from 0.1–5 mbar for controlled drying 
  • Condenser temperature and pressure monitoring and logging
  • Touchscreen computer-based HMI 
  • Product weighing system
Freeze drying is a great way of preserving nutritional value in different food types, while increasing shelf life at room temperature, and reducing waste.
Thrive Life customer story

The evolution of Thrive Life’s freeze drying business

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

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