Powder storage silos are an inherent part of all dairy powder production plants. They provide a buffer between the continuously running dryer and the packaging line ensuring a natural flow through the process. However, thanks to GEA, new Limited Intervention Filling systems are so efficient and reliable that the days of the silo could be numbered.

In the past, silos were required to provide a buffer that allowed for interruptions in the filling process. Today’s systems are so reliable and efficient that they can be installed straight after the dryer with the absolute minimum of buffer capacity. This has the potential to allow development of much more compact plants, with smaller footprints and lower buildings, resulting in significantly lower overall project costs.

The technology offers complete control of the bags throughout the process from filling to final weighing and the weight data from the feedback weigher is used to auto-tune the filling process and maintain the accuracy of the machine.

Limited Intervention Filling brings together the separate elements of the filling line – bag presenter, filler, bag preparation, de-aeration station, sealing and closing - into a single machine. The smaller footprint means that packing rooms can be smaller, air conditioning units less powerful and running costs significantly lower.

The aim of the GEA Limited Intervention design is to reduce the causes of line stoppages to the absolute minimum. Not only does this increase productivity and efficiency, with attendant low levels of packaging material and powder waste, but by requiring less operator interaction with the process both product contamination and potential human errors can be virtually eliminated.

Simon Waddoup, Sales Manager Europe – GEA Powder Handling and Packing, said 

With the GEA Limited Intervention technology now proven on over 50 installations, buffer capacity can be dramatically reduced, often to 4 hours or less. In our experience almost all packing line problems can be solved within an hour or two at the most. Consequently, we can remove multiple silos and associated costs relating to powder conveying, cleaning, maintenance and other operating costs.”

Key features of Limited Intervention Filling lines include:

  • a rotary design that maintains its hold on bags to increase reliability;
  • the continuous calibration of filling stations;
  • integrated dust control technologies;
  • bottom up filling, minimizing product damage and dust emission loss;
  • automatic preparation of bags for sealing;
  • automatic sealing of inner liners and final closure of all bags;
  • automatic height adjustment to accommodate variations in bag length;
  • MAP (Modified Atmosphere Packing) capability;
  • 5, 8 &10 tonnes/hour capacity fits into 40ft container for easy shipping;
  • 12 tonnes/hour capacity also available;
  • easy cleaning.
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