What food we can expect to see in supermarkets of the future depends mostly on the innovative technologies used in its production. A key prerequisite is to make food production as sustainable and as profitable as possible. After all, manufacturers want to be more than just environmentally friendly – they also want to boost their competitiveness by saving important resources. In the final analysis, this also keeps food affordable for end consumers worldwide. Consistently high quality and food safety play an equally important role in the development of new equipment and technologies. At this year’s Anuga FoodTec, GEA presented new possibilities and potentials that centrifugal separation technology offers for the food industry, particularly the dairy sector. From new compact and efficient skids for small to medium scale applications to innovative sustainability features: GEA’s separation technology solutions will safeguard tomorrow's food.
In recent decades, whey in particular has transformed itself from an unpopular by-product into a much-appreciated value-added product in the production of cheese and casein. It has enormous potential. For the production of 1 kg of cheese, for example, 12 liters of milk are consumed – leaving about 11 liters of whey, which can be used in various forms in products such as bars, beverages, baked goods, snacks and cereals. These are packed with proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. In other words, whey holds enormous potential for meeting the protein needs of the world’s growing population.
Producers need appropriate cost-effective and flexible technologies to keep whey at the highest quality from the farm to the final formulation. The solutions from GEA that have been on show at Anuga FoodTec appeal particularly to small and medium-sized productions that want to maximize their yield and minimize their process waste through optimum pre-treatment.
The new series of GEA CleanSkimmer skimming separators for capacities from 15,000 to 60,000 l/h have been designed specifically to maximize process efficiency. For one thing, they enhance fat yield from milk or the pre-sieved whey so that it can be processed profitably. Since the GEA CleanSkimmer can also handle higher quantities of cheese dust, an upstream clarifier is unnecessary up to certain cheese dust contents. There is also less fat in the skimmed whey that is used for further processing, meaning less fouling of downstream membrane filtration, significantly minimizing the time spent on cleaning and the use of cleaning detergents and water.
The GEA milk Pasteurizer Skid is a compact, pre-assembled milk pasteurizer with skimming separator and state-of-the-art automation as a plug-and-play solution that also comes as a unit optionally for whey processing. The skid can be designed for processing capacities from 3,000l/h up to 10,000l/h.
The new GEA milk Pasteurizer Skid showcased by GEA at Anuga also features a new generation of controls for tomorrow’s separators for the dairy industry. As the successor to the GEA IO control system, it is designed to meet the ever-increasing demands for data processing, systems networking, production process optimization and smart machines and associated equipment. The new generation is more than just a step up in terms of connectivity and compatibility. It also comes with an enhanced processor and features a multi-touch display with expandable apps and scalable graphics, as well as a cloud-based interface for data analysis. It provides future-proof support for modular plant concepts, and the uniform software and operating concept complies with the GEA Codex guidelines. An in-depth presentation and official market launch of the new control generation is scheduled for the end of 2022.
The GEA ecoforce CF 1000 decanter exhibited at Anuga has a processing capacity of up to 2,000 l/h, making it ideal for small-scale product processing, pilot plants and test centers. Like all GEA decanters in the CF series, it ensures high yield, optimal hygienic purity and premium quality flavor with reproducible quality. The GEA decanters lend themselves to the production of a variety of dairy products, such as processed cheese base and raw material for quark bars. They are also well suited for the preparation of cheese dust and the production of lactose and casein.
GEA decanters are also proving their all-round capabilities with plant-based milk alternatives. Here, they extract the valuable liquid phase from mashed cereal grains, beans and other plant sources mixed with water.
The unwelcome stick-slip effect is a familiar problem in decanter applications in dairies. As well as impairing the efficiency of the system and making it less profitable, it also damages the inside of the decanter, leading to repair costs and downtime. Users can prevent this with GEA’s automatic active torque control (ATC) system. It enables precise, automatic correction of the differential speed using active torque control to continuously maintain the optimum operating point while preventing stick-slip. This maximizes solids yield and minimizes energy costs for thermal drying. These cost savings also go hand in hand with ecological benefits: Less drying saves energy resources, substantially reducing the carbon footprint of the production equipment. GEA now offers new machines in the CF decanter series with ATC equipment as well as the option to retrofit existing CF decanters.
Plant operators looking to reduce their need for CIP media, fresh water and wastewater can achieve this with GEA’s new CIPClean Separator, which will also be launched at Anuga FoodTec. The unit is delivered as a plug-and-play skid and is available in five variants for capacities from 1,000 to 10,000 l/h. The skids can be used to properly clarify CIP fluids for subsequent reuse. Recycling with CIPClean skids also gives operators a better and more stable cleaning process, with enhanced efficiency of process components such as separators, evaporators and heat exchangers. The extended utility of the hot detergent also saves energy.
The GEA IDEAL whey separation concept exemplifies how technology providers can exploit digitalization as a key lever in taking industrial production processes to the next level of resource efficiency, plant availability and product quality. Dairies can deploy the smart IDEAL whey separation system to optimize their plant at the touch of a button, boosting productivity and safety. Separators in cheese production separate the by-product whey from cheese dust and cream before it becomes a protein-rich high-value ingredient in downstream products. IDEAL whey separation uses a series of digital components to detect and regulate this process. The combination of sensor technology, mechanical design and smart control strategies generates key centrifuge performance data such as feed volume, bowl speed and discharge intervals. These are all intelligently linked in the tool, intuitively displayed, and adapted to the process conditions in real time.
In minimizing product losses and energy and water consumption, IDEAL whey separation takes the pressure off dairies, so that they can process whey more efficiently and economically, in a way that optimizes resources. GEA’s system, which received the DLG International FoodTec Award in silver, is an innovative step forward in the development of centrifuges that can optimize themselves.
GEA also launched the Centrifuge Water Saving Unit, a profitable and efficient unit for food and beverage producers that operate water-cooled separators and want to minimize water consumption. The water-saving unit boasts impressive savings of several hundred liters of cooling water per operating hour, as well as a short payback period. With a very small space requirement of 40 x 60 x 50 cm, the Centrifuge Water Saving unit can be retrofitted in any production area, even the most cramped ones, with ease and within just half a working day. The unit, which is equipped with a circulation pump, utilizes two separate circuits for the motor and hood/arrester for optimized energy consumption. The cooling water can be run against water cooled either by ice or glycol. The heat exchange is done via conventional plate heat exchanger pumps. The new GEA Centrifuge Water Saving Unit allows manufacturers to produce in a much more sustainable and cost-effective way.
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GEA Group Aktiengesellschaft
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