GEA targets cost-efficiency and sustainability with three new innovations at Anuga FoodTec 2018

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26 Mar 2018 --- World-leading process technology suppliers, GEA, took center stage at Anuga FoodTec 2018 by exhibiting three new landmark machinery applications: the Callifreeze, the MaxiFormer, and the Combi Plus. The new innovations attracted great interest from the Anuga crowds, as potential customers lined-up to speak with technical experts and product managers at GEA’s large, impressively branded and facilitated stand in Hall 10. FoodIngredientsFirst managed to sit GEA’s experts down to speak about these three exciting innovations.

The Callifreeze
GEA, launched their new freezer control system, the Callifreeze, at Anuga FoodTec 2018, Cologne. Interestingly, the Callifreeze uses electromagnetic waves to measure the exact levels of frozenness of a product at its core, rather than the temperature. This allows for an accurate measurement which is then used to determine optimal retention time, air temperature and fan speeds. The freezer is primarily designed for the poultry, meat, fish, ready meal, bakery and dairy markets.

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GEA's Callifreeze

Mathieu Nouhin, Product Manager Freezing at GEA, spoke to FoodIngredientsFirst about the cost-efficiency potential of this innovation: “We have seen through tests, and implementations on-site, that we can gain a potential of 15-20 percent capacity increase, and about 10 percent energy-saving for refrigeration.”

Mathieu Nouhin said that there is no point in continuing to cool a product beyond 100 percent frozen but, until now, there has been no way of checking the level of frozenness of products as a continuous part of the process. “Callifreeze uses GEA’s unique sensing and control technology to measure the level of frozenness of every product in the spiral,” he said. “It then adjusts the machine to achieve perfect freezing in line with the customer’s requirements.” Mathieu also explained that for several applications, 80 percent level of frozenness at freezer discharge is sufficient with the product being ‘finish off’ in the cold store for energy savings purpose. Results from one plant operating seven GEA freezers has shown a 10-15 percent production capacity increase with a reduction in energy consumption.

The Maxi Former
Across the stand from the Callifreeze, GEA was officially launching the innovative new Maxi Former application, as clients and the press gathered in anticipation. Using a state-of-the-art vacuum filler and portion control system, the application processes poultry or meat replacement products at industry-high levels of capacity and quality.

Paul Verbruggen, Senior Product Manager Further Processing, explained to FoodIngredientsFirst how the MaxiFormer is designed for both quality and cost-effectiveness: “The unique portion control system ensures that all the cavities are filled precisely over the full-width of the forming drum, accurate every time. This reduces standard deviation by 50 percent over competitive systems, providing less giveaway and higher profit for our customers.”

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GEA's Maxi Former

In addition, Paul Verbruggen said that the better weight control means less product giveaway and the knock-out system uses up to 40 percent less air. “This means that we can be confident in achieving the lowest total cost of ownership in drum forming,” he explained.

According to Marcel Janssen, Head of Sales Steering and Support Further Processing at GEA, it also makes it much more efficient than any competitor: “Especially for 1000mm wide lines, running one GEA MaxiFormer 1000, compared with two 600 wide formers, is cost-efficient and space saving and delivers an optimal belt loading,” he explained. “This results in a much higher line throughput with fewer doubles down the line. The direct loading conveyor also eliminates the need for ‘Y’ conveyors and so can achieve a much denser loading without compromising quality.”

The Combi Plus
The other main attraction at GEA’s busy stand was the Combi-Plus application, a steam-stretching machine with a capacity from 1,000 to more than 6,000 kg/h. Combi Plus is suitable for producing many different types of pasta filata cheese, such as pizza-cheese or scamorza, starting from milk, commercial curds or mixtures of both.

Double feeding of the heating fluid – steam and/or water – allows the Combi Plus to work in the traditional way with water, but also with water and steam or steam only. The continuous stretching unit, with rotary paddles of various dimensions, provides high versatility and flexibility for the production processes while increasing the yield, lowering operating costs and reducing energy and water consumption.

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GEA's Combi Plus

Paolo Tomatis, Combis Plus Product Manager, told FoodIngredientsFirst: “The big advantage is the energy-saving, around 30-40 percent reduction in energy. The machine also minimizes loss of yield, because there are no losses of fat and protein during the stretching phase. We calculate the extra yield at between 0.5-0.8 percent more compared to the traditional stretching machine.”

The overriding theme of Anuga FoodTec 2018 was cost-effectiveness and sustainability, as the industry continues to develop new technologies capable of minimizing energy output while maximizing production levels. The main drivers behind these developments include the need to meet the demand of a growing and more ethically-conscious global market, while packaging suppliers are always keen to explore ways to minimize their energy output.

GEA – one of the world’s largest suppliers of process technology for the food industry and a wide range of other industries – encapsulated the market’s focus on cost-effectiveness and sustainability at this year’s Anuga FoodTec. The international technology group exhibited several highly innovative process technology applications and components for sophisticated production processes in various end-user markets. In 2017, GEA generated consolidated revenues of approximately €4.6 billion, with the food and beverage sectors accounting for around 70 percent of this.

Anuga FoodTec today reported a record attendance at this year’s show of over 50,000 visitors. It was also the most international Anuga to date, with visitors from 152 countries. Anuga have pointed to a more diversified event and congress program as the source of inspiration for this record-breaking year.

By Joshua Poole

This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirst's sister website, PackagingInsights.

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