The GEA decanter used by fruit juice manufacturer Konings has a key function: to separate the juice from the fruit. Add to this the fact that 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes of fruit are processed there annually – peaking at 3,000 tonnes a week during the fruit season – and it’s clear what makes or breaks the reputation of this machine: reliability. “This CF 6000 works brilliantly,” is Project Manager Wim Vandeput’s verdict.
The GEA decanter is installed at Konings 2, one of the five facilities of the Konings Group, where primarily apples and pears are processed into apple juice, pear juice, concentrates or fermented products (cider and beer). “During the peak period between September and October we process 3,000 tonnes of fruit a week,” Wim points out. “So we need to have full confidence in the decanter; reliability is crucial. We can bring in two other decanters as a fallback, but the GEA CF 6000 is in the front line.”
The second criterion was of course how well the decanter would perform. “Both with fresh fruit in the autumn and with fruit from cold stores at other times of the year,” Wim explains. “To achieve good performance, it’s important for us to be able to control specific settings on the decanter. While we were commissioning the machine, our experienced operators and the people from GEA put their heads together to come up with the ideal solution. I think I can safely say that both parties learned a lot from each other, working in a true spirit of partnership.”
"The GEA CF 6000 decanter is installed at Konings 2, where 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes of fruit are processed annually", says Project Manager Wim Vandeput.
The design of the GEA decanter was also a factor in the decision to purchase this particular model. “This decanter is hermetically sealed,” Wim explains. “We can inject nitrogen, which causes the juice to absorb a small amount of oxygen when the decanter is in use. This means that the fruit cannot oxidise, resulting in a better end product.”
Last but not least, the decanter had to be very easy to maintain. Wim: “The machine is serviced once a year. Apart from occasional lubrication, there shouldn’t be any problems. With its hygienic design, this machine is ideal for processing foodstuffs and is also easy to clean.”
Konings started out in 1946 as a gin distiller and is now one of Belgium’s leading manufacturers of beverages, both alcohol-based (gin, cider, liqueurs, cocktails, etc.) and alcohol-free (fruit and vegetable juices, nectar, energy and health drinks, etc.). Last year Konings crossed the English Channel when it acquired the PepsiCo site in Broxford (Suffolk). Fruit juice brands from Konings include Trudo, Looza, Hero and Copella.