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Separator innovations enhance dairy production efficiency

Home Manufacturing & Processing Food & Beverage Separator innovations enhance dairy production efficiency

THE dairy industry faces huge challenges: surging energy costs, the climate crisis, consumer trends and a shortage of skilled labour. Integrated solutions are critical to overcoming these hurdles. In view of this, the innovative solutions presented by GEA at the Anuga FoodTec 2024 trade show will centre on the water and energy consumed by a key technology for dairies – separators.

“Sustainability, connectivity, digitalisation – we are stepping up to the plate, addressing these issues with tailor-made solutions,” confirms Christian Becker, product manager separation dairy at GEA. “Our customers need centrifuges that not only deliver maximum efficiency using minimal resources but are also able to function regardless of the operators’ skill level. Centrifuges have to become intelligent to work more sustainably and, going forward, autonomously.” The GEA separator innovations presented at the Anuga FoodTec trade show are helping dairies move in this direction.

Bacteria removal

Equipped with the latest drive generation, the GEA ecoclear i bacteria removal separator is ideally suited to small to medium-sized dairies. These businesses require cost-effective, service-friendly solutions that enhance dairy product quality and extend shelf life.

Removing bacteria and spores from milk and whey is crucial for minimising production losses and reducing waste, contributing to a more sustainable and profitable industry. The key innovation is the integrated direct drive. It transmits the drive power directly to the bowl, considerably reducing energy consumption. Nor does it require any transmission, belt or coupling, which might reduce efficiency and be subject to wear and tear. Both spindle and engine are mounted in a drive cartridge and, as a modular exchange unit, can be easily maintained on site. The new integrated direct drive is now also available for the GEA ecocream i skimming and GEA ecoclean i clarifying separators.

Reduced energy consumption

When weighing up capital expenditure against operating costs, high electricity and water prices are tipping the balance toward the latter. The sustainable line of GEA’s MSI skimming separators with GEA EngySpeed is catalysing a paradigm shift in separator design. In place of smaller yet higher-speed centrifuges, which are still standard in many places, larger bowl volumes are now coming to the fore. For dairies, this means the same clarification area at lower speeds and using less power. Maintenance intervals are likewise extended – particularly for the drive assemblies – because the lower mechanical load causes significantly less wear on the drive. The EngySpeed system reduces the energy consumption of GEA’s MSI series milk skimmers by up to 40 percent. Rule of thumb: 10 percent lower speeds translate to 20 percent lower energy consumption.

Becker cites the example of a medium-sized dairy from one of the target markets in Poland: “If we go one machine size up for standardising 25,000 litres of milk per hour, we require around 39 percent less energy. At approximately 6,000 operating hours per year, EngySpeed would save the dairy some 65,000 kWh per separator and, subject to the energy mix on site, reduce CO2 emissions by up to 43 tons. Depending on electricity prices, the larger centrifuge would pay for itself within two to four years.”

Digital process control

Digitalisation – from real-time monitoring and service assistance to self-learning, AI-based plant optimisation – is also spurring more sustainable production processes.

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