GEA has supplied its largest steam-sterilizable centrifuge to Jiangsu Wecare Biotechnology in Luohe, Henan Province, in central China. In January 2020, GEA completed the installation of the pharma separator of type CSI with a production capacity up to 20,000 liters an hour. It is used for the centrifugal harvesting of bacteria after fermentation at the customer’s new production plant, where probiotic powder is produced for the food, pharmaceutical and agriculture sectors.

Jiangsu Wecare Biotechnology is a market leading probiotics producer in China, an industry that has grown at a rate of more than 15 percent annually for the last five years in China. Terry Wu, Sales Manager for GEA in China, explains that as the industry develops, Chinese companies are continuously improving their production processes and Jiangsu Wecare Biotechnology wanted to go big from the beginning: "For the most part, probiotics are imported into China. This is something Wecare-bio wants to change. They know the market is growing rapidly and wanted the largest centrifuge and production batch size possible at their new plant."

The cooperation between Jiangsu Wecare Biotechnology and GEA began more than five years ago when they initially talked about the project. Terry Wu explains that while Wecare-bio was always keen to work with GEA, they needed some tests to determine which centrifuge suited their needs best: "Together with our expert for starter cultures and probiotics in Oelde, Germany, we conducted two different trials at a small pilot plant. In the end, our disc centrifuge was convincing thanks to its performance and large capacity. After intensive collaboration between our separation experts and Jiangsu Wecare Biotechnology, we were able to customize the right centrifuge for them."

GEA separator processes cultures reliably and efficiently

The CSI separator is the largest of its kind in the world, with a production capacity of 10,000 to 20,000 liters an hour. The centrifuge at Jiangsu Wecare Biotechnology’s plant is used to concentrate the bacteria from the fermentation broth. It is fitted with a pressured housing to prevent the escape of bacteria or living cells. All GEA culture separators allow for the running of automatic cleaning-in-place (CIP) and sterilized-in-place (SIP) processes to prevent cross-contamination of different products.

The commissioning of the customized centrifuge for the production plant in Luohe was completed by GEA experts in mid-January of 2020, just before Chinese New Year and much to the satisfaction of the customer. “To meet the customer’s expectations and ensure they were satisfied, good collaboration between the GEA teams in China and the production site in Germany was key. Every party involved worked closely together with the customer at each stage of the project. We are looking forward to continuing our great cooperation with Jiangsu Wecare Biotechnology in the future,” says David Yu, Head of Separation Sales in China.

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