Effective drying of difficult-to-dry or heat-sensitive products


The FILTERMAT® spray dryer efficiently and gently transforms heat-sensitive and difficult-to-dry products into free-flowing, agglomerated powders.


A solution for challenging products

Some types of food and dairy products are not easy to spray dry into free-flowing powders, commonly because they become sticky, are slow to crystallize, or are heat sensitive. Examples include whey permeate, high fat non-dairy creamers, toppings and fruit powders, as well as hydrolyzed proteins, palatants, fat soluble vitamins and lysed cells. For these tricky products, which may typically form deposits or lumps in the spray dryer or fluid bed, we offer our GEA FILTERMAT® system, which retains the product on a perforated filter belt that is conveyed through controlled dryer zones. The FILTERMAT® can represent a great solution for drying some of the more testing product types into reproducibly high quality, free-flowing, agglomerated powders. And the good news is, that while we can help you to configure and build a new FILTERMAT® plant from the ground up, we may also be able to retrofit FILTERMAT® into an existing spray drying facility.

Improved productivity with less waste

The FILTERMAT® gently and evenly deposits the partly dried product onto a moving, perforated filter belt, through which the air passes as the belt is conveyed through the drying and cooling zones. This method helps to minimize the risk of lumping, smearing or deposit formation in the dryer, which may be an issue when processing sticky products using conventional spray dryers. For these types of products the FILTERMAT® can give you an improved yield, while fewer planned and unplanned stoppages for equipment cleaning also means that run times are longer, and so overall productivity is increased. The FILTERMAT® operates at lower temperatures than conventional spray dryers, which helps to preserve the structural and functional integrity and quality of heat sensitive products.

Precise control for defined powder characteristics

Each product and recipe will have an optimum set of process parameters, so the FILTERMAT® belt speed, retention time and temperature at different zones in the dryer can all be controlled to reproducibly produce powders with defined characteristics, such as moisture content, powder structure, degree of crystallisation and dispersibility. 

Benefits of the FILTERMAT® 

  • Reproducible spray drying of sticky and thermoplactic products
  • Gentle processing, with reduced heat impact
  • Precise control of powder temperature and residence time
  • Production of agglomerated powders without the need for powder fines recycling
  • Easy equipment inspection and cleaning
  • Longer production runs and less risk of unexpected stoppage 
  • Less product waste

GEA gas disperser flow straightener

The FILTERMAT® features some great GEA engineering, including our compact disperser flow straightener (DFS). The DFS is designed with side-mounted, angled nozzle lance inlets to reduce lance length and improve ergonomics, and accommodates a double-feed nozzle system, so you can change nozzles and carry out feedline CIP without having to stop production.

24/7 production, and optimized CIP

While the basic FILTERMAT® design is founded on decades of GEA engineering and process expertise, we also offer equipment and configuration options that will give you a FILTERMAT® solution to best match your products and processes. Options include a double-feed system that allows continuous, 24/7 production, as well as clean-in-place (CIP) systems either for the entire plant, or to enable belt cleaning without disrupting the production run.

Energy saving, and safety systems

The FILTERMAT® can also be configured with the GEA COTECTOR® safety system, which detects and alerts operators to potential fire or explosion risks, and with GEA AddCool high temperature heat pump technology, which recycles and amplifies waste heat from the plant to preheat the spray dryer air up to 120°C. AddCool heat pump technology can halve a spray drying plant’s overall energy demand, while cutting fossil fuel consumption by up to 70%.

Testing with the FILTERMAT®

You can find out more about these systems at the GEA Center of Competence in Soeborg, Denmark, where our GEA experts will work with you to configure and test out FILTERMAT® equipment for spray drying your existing and new products, at pilot scale. And if you would rather evaluate the FILTERMAT® at your own site, we also offer pilot plant equipment that can be used for process confirmation and scale-up evaluation, to generate market samples, or just for smaller production runs of up to about 70 kg/h. The FILTERMAT® pilot plant is user friendly and delivered fully featured, and ready to use, so it’s fast to install.

Key applications for the FILTERMAT®

Filtermat spray drying whey permeate

Whey UF-permeate consists primarily of lactose, which in its amorphous state attracts water from its surroundings. By retaining the product on the band, the FILTERMAT® prevents lumping and supports uniform lactose crystallization into a stable, non-hygroscopic state.

Fat filled whey cheese powder filtermat

The FILTERMAT® can reproducibly process high fat dairy products into free-flowing, agglomerated powders with the desired properties, for many different applications.

Non dairy creamer filtermat spray drying

The FILTERMAT® allows you to reliably and efficiently spray dry non-dairy products that have a fat content of more than 60%.


The FILTERMAT® can be an ideal solution for drying a wide range of fruits and vegetables, and can process products such as orange powders with less carrier, or tomato powder with no filler, to give you higher value products with a higher concentration of product relative to filler/carrier, and commonly a more natural color.

Pet food filtermat spray dryer

GEA FILTERMAT® systems are used to reliably and efficiently spray dry hydrolyzed proteins and flavors, including fish and meat products, palatants and other pet food ingredients. In many cases you can use less carrier and better control Maillard reaction, to generate flavor products with a higher fat content than you could achieve using a traditional spray dryer.


Conventional hot air spray dryers may not be the best option for sensitive biomolecules such as fat-soluble vitamins, or lysed algae and yeast cells. The FILTERMAT® spray drying process can help to maintain product integrity and properties, and reduce the need for carriers, to give you a more concentrated, uniform and higher value product.

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