• Larger bowl, lower speeds: The EngySpeed system significantly reduces the energy consumption of GEA’s MSI series milk skimmers. Image: GEA
    Larger bowl, lower speeds: The EngySpeed system significantly reduces the energy consumption of GEA’s MSI series milk skimmers. Image: GEA

GEA will present its latest integrated solutions for the dairy industry at Anuga FoodTec 2024, focusing on water and energy consumed by a key technology for dairies – separators.

GEA product manager, separation dairy Christian Becker said GEA was ‘stepping up to the plate to address sustainability, connectivity, and digitalisation issues with tailor-made solutions.

“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,” said Becker.

The GEA separator innovations presented at the Anuga FoodTec trade show are helping dairies move in this direction.

Low-energy drives for 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 minimizing 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.

Low running speeds 

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.

“If we go one machine size up for standardizing 25,000 litres of milk per hour, we require around 39 percent less energy. At approximately 6000 operating hours per year, EngySpeed would save the dairy some 65,000 kilowatt hours 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,” said Becker.

Digital process control 

Digitalisation – from real-time monitoring and service assistance to self-learning, AI-based plant optimization – is also spurring more sustainable production processes. Dairy products represent a critical area where individual AI solutions are already generating tangible added value for customers.

For the dairy industry, GEA is launching its KPInsight digital assistance system for separators as a new product in the GEA InsightPartner family. While conventional condition monitoring solutions consider centrifuge condition, KPInsight gives an overview of the milk and whey centrifuges’ performance. A clearly organized dashboard provides a real-time overview of process efficiency based on key parameters, such as production volumes, energy consumption, discharging and CIP cycles. Trend analyses covering a 30-day period indicate anomalies and process discrepancies, to which operators are able to respond immediately.

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