Powdered food ingredients are an essential component in food manufacturing plants. The functional properties of these powders are locked in at the point of processing, so careful consideration must be given to the primary process technology.
Spray drying is the most widely used industrial process for the continuous production of powder or agglomerates from liquid feeds such as solutions, emulsions and suspensions and is the technology of choice wherever precise and repeatable processing is required. Even particle size distribution; controlled moisture content, bulk density and particle shape; and excellent dispersibility are key attributes that can be defined within the spray drying process.
All our GEA spray dryers conform to the highest industry standards for hygienic design, energy efficiency, safety and plant performance. The dryer feed system, air supply, heating and mixing (or homogenizer) systems are designed to meet EHEDG requirements and ensure safe operation and maintenance. We use plant-wide control and automation software to monitor process parameters and make continual adjustments to meet the requirements of the recipe. This ensures the repeatability of the process. CIP is optimized for fast, effective cleaning and reduced downtime. A key feature of all our spray dryers is gentle processing and controlled drying conditions that preserve organoleptic and sensory properties.
The spray drying process requires the atomization of liquid feed into a spray of droplets using either a rotary atomizer wheel or a nozzle atomizer. As the droplets fall through the warm air, under carefully-controlled temperature and airflow, they dry to form a powder with specific characteristics. Powder characteristics can be monitored in line, without interrupting the process, and the dryer adjusted as necessary to ensure product consistency.
Our DENSISET™ system is a compact unit enabling very precise control over powder density and providing powder with excellent foaming properties. It works by injecting CO2 under high pressure to the spray dryer feed. Lecithin is a surface-active agent, which enables a powder to dissolve easily in cold water. Our lecithination system is a proven method for the preparation and application of lecithin to dried powder surfaces giving excellent dispersibility.
Spray drying is an effective method for the encapsulation of food ingredients. Our experts can help you to adjust drying parameters to ensure effective particle formation and encapsulation inside the spray tower. We can also help to develop alternative encapsulation processes based on spray congealing or fluidized bed coating.
Our spray dryers range from basic units to very sophisticated plants, all designed to meet your exact needs.
The FSD® multi-stage dryer combines spray drying and fluid bed technology in a small footprint. This is ideal for customers that need a high level of flexibility to produce powders with different levels of agglomeration, lecithination and particle size. The FSD® dries and agglomerates in a single operation for cost-efficient, hygienic processing. Some food ingredients are difficult to spray dry owing to their high carbohydrate, fat, or protein content. Our FILTERMAT® spray dryer is ideally suited to these products as it can dry most sticky, hygroscopic, thermoplastic and slowly crystallising products into free-flowing, agglomerated powders. We also provide spray cookers to produce pregelatinized starches from a variety of raw materials.
Every application is different so our test centers are available to help you develop and test your new products and processes. Our testing facilities allow you to become confident that you have a safe and repeatable process before investing in full scale plant.
Examples of spray drying applications in the food and food ingredients sectors:
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GEA OptiPartner is a digital software solution that combines GEA’s process design and operational know-how for process optimization of production lines. Using advanced data-driven and machine learning technologies, GEA OptiPartner increases the efficiency and productivity with full visibility of process.
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