Flexible manufacturing plant from GEA enables Bosnia Herzegovinian company, Violeta Ltd, to produce a wide range of home and personal care products much less expensively and more efficiently than with traditional technology.
GEA and Violeta have recently collaborated to implement a fully automatic, multi-purpose liquid processing plant for the production of home and personal care (HPC) products. Historically dominated by foreign imports, the new plant will allow Violeta to enter the local HPC market with high standards of hygiene, flexibility and operator safety, meeting customer demands and creating new opportunities. The plant has a theoretical capacity of 15.000 tons/year when only running day shifts.
Open for business since 1990, Violeta established itself as an exclusive importer and distributor of European brands such as Ferrero, Barilla etc. In 2000, the company invested in equipment to produce toilet tissue and kitchen towels and, ever since, has expanded to offer a variety of HPC products: baby diapers and wet wipes, cosmetic wipes, sanitary towels, handkerchiefs and table napkins. Wishing to expand further, however, and bring its portfolio in line with regional market trends, Violeta decided to invest in its own production technology and manufacture own-label HPC products.
The new plant has been designed and built to the same hygiene standards that GEA employs for food-grade applications in industries such as dairy and brewing; product is manufactured in a closed system that can produce relatively small batches and accommodate rapid product changeovers. Compared with traditional methods that require a dedicated process line for each product, the system is more flexible and provides a higher level of operator safety.
The GEA-supplied equipment includes raw material handling and storage, dosage and mixing systems — including GEA’s new BATCH FORMULA™ technology — final product storage and a Clean-in-Place (CIP) solution. Operating according to international hygiene and production standards, the plant now produces superior quality products that also meet strict sustainability criteria. “We can clean the plant, make it safe, change products at will, ensure that toxic raw materials are handled safely and guarantee security of outcome for the customer,” explained Søren Sandahl Skov, Senior Application Engineer, Biotech and HPC, GEA.
Despite using proven technology to build the plant, the project wasn’t without its challenges: “Many of the products are extremely viscous,” noted Søren, “and had to be transported in heat-traced pipes and stored in temperature controlled tanks. Some of the products are also highly active and can cause skin irritation, so we had to incorporate a high degree of safety to protect the workforce.” GEA also uses pigging systems to recover product during changeover and minimize the use of chemicals during the cleaning process; avoiding dead ends in the pipework makes cleaning easier and more effective.
“The co-operation with the GEA team was very professional; they were always available to answer questions and provide support. We are very satisfied with our choice of GEA as a supplier,” said Ante Milos, Managing Director, Violeta. Fully operation since autumn 2014, Violeta is now looking to introduce 24/7 operation or add further mixers to meet growing demand.