Continuous curd drainage and maturation tunnel systems

GEA offers a versatile range of advanced, automated curd drainage and maturation systems to produce various types of pasta filata cheese. Continuous tunnel systems are available with capacities of up to 6,000-8,000 kg/h.

Curd drainage maturation tunnel

The continuous drainage and maturation tunnel system from GEA is designed to produce large quantities of a single type of curd.

The system comprises the following elements:

  • A rotating drainage drum for faster drainage. The hygienic design makes cleaning easy.
  • A curd maturation and transport inclined tunnel, through which the rotary auger transports the curd. The inclination of the tunnel allows a partial maturation of the curd with the whey. The electronically-controlled auger speed, with inverter and sensor, allows for flexible production and maturation time.
  • A final guillotine to cut the curd precisely into customized sizes, followed by a conveyor to the stretching machines.
  • A centrifugal pump for the recovery of the drained whey.

Improved curd drainage and maturation system for pasta filata cheese

Drainage is improved because of the curd pressure created through the accumulation of curd during tunnel filling. Precise control of the auger movement, curd transit and retention time allows optimum maturation and the development of the desired curd characteristics.

Continuous tunnels are constructed using AISI 304 stainless steel and are supplied with automatic cleaning-in-place to comply with the most stringent sanitization regime and hygiene regulations. Automated cleaning reduces water usage and the need for manual cleaning and minimizes stoppage time thereby reducing production costs.

PLC control optimizes automation and working parameters to further reduce manual intervention. The sensors allow for the precise control of the curd temperature. Maturation times can be precisely controlled with double-walled jackets for hot water heating along the complete length, and a piping system for product cooling.

Safety first for curd processing

GEA builds the highest standards of safety into all its systems. The curd maturation and drainage technologies feature mechanical barriers or proximity switches to protect operators close to the danger zones, and safety switches ensure that no operation can be continued if the requisite protection features have not been engaged.

GEA can configure continuous curd drainage and maturation systems to fit plant layout, footprint and utility supply.

Benefits of GEA curd tunnel systems at a glance

  • Systems available with capacities up to 6,000-8,000 kg/h
  • Rotating drainage drum for faster drainage
  • Inclination of the tunnel enables a partial maturation of the curd with whey
  • Improved drainage is achieved through the accumulation of a high curd layer during tunnel filling
  • Electronically-controlled auger speed with inverter and sensor for flexible production and maturation time
  • Auger support with mechanical gaskets for easy cleaning and maintenance
  • Guillotine cutting into customized sizes 
  • Hygienic design for easy cleaning

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