Uelzena’s “Spray Tower 12” opens up new possibilities for contract drying

27 May 2021

Just 18 months construction time from the initial preparatory ground work to handover of the finished and tested plants to production – that's the schedule for building a new spray-drying plant at at the site in Uelzen.

After the official laying of the cornerstone in February, the new plant is slowly starting to appear in the last months and the building complex on the site is gaining in height: The ground floor walls are up and the ground floor ceiling has been cladded, reinforced and concreted since February.

Uelzena’s “Spray Tower 12” opens up new possibilities for contract drying

“For decades, Uelzena has been a recognised and sought-after partner for the spray drying of very diverse, high-quality food ingredients. Demand has steadily increased over the past few years for functional raw ingredients such as mineral or vitamin carrier materials, which are also used in baby food.” says Mr. Bernd Gewecke, Managing Director Sales Dairy Products, Ingredients & Contract Manufacturing.

“The Tower 12 plant is a logical and strategic step towards establishing Uelzena’s spray-drying expertise, supporting customers in the food and baby food industry over the coming years as a preferred and sought-after specialist.

With this new Tower 12, our contract drying division offers customers all the necessary potentials for long-term and strategic growth in compliance with all the required quality aspects. The new plant allows us to offer our customers process facilities at the cutting edge of engineering knowledge.” further explains Mr. Gewecke.

This state-of-the-art plant, known internally as “Tower 12”, is designed to spray-dry vitamins and minerals, as well as other ingredients, to the highest quality requirements. “High Care” is therefore the highest priority when designing and equipping the new spray-drying plant for the contract drying division. This includes, for instance, a strict hygiene zone concept with hygienic airlocks to separate the different areas, containment systems on the active ingredient dosing and filling plants, cleaning concepts with separate washing and drying rooms to clean plant components, and sophisticated ventilation and filtering systems for the fresh air supply.

In addition to the actual spraying tower, which boasts an average capacity of 750 kg powder/h, the new plant also comprises additional core areas such as feeding stations for ingredients and active ingredients, its own wet mixing area with various technologies to treat the raw ingredients supplied by the customers before the spraying process, filling plants for 5–25 kg aluminium pouches, engineering rooms and social areas. This creates a completely self-contained new spray-drying plant, which offers state-of-the-art hygiene and efficiency. In energy terms, the plant will meet the latest standards and enable production that is both sustainable and conserves resources. A bridge with an automated conveyor belt connects the plant to Uelzena’s fully automated high-bay warehouse, which was commissioned in 2019.

The new drying plant will be equipped by the experienced plant engineering company Tetra Pak, who is supplying and installing the critical components such as the spray tower, wet mixing area, and feeding stations. The main installation phase for plant engineering starts September 2021. Commissioning is scheduled for the start of 2022, which will be followed by a generous test phase lasting several months. Normal operation is envisaged for the tower from mid-May 2022, significantly expanding the capacities and technical possibilities of the contract drying division to produce baby food-grade products under high-care conditions.

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