Uelzena starts up its state-of-the art new spray tower for contract drying28 Mar 2023
With "Tower 12", Uelzena has strenghtened its competence as a leading contract spray dryer. The new plant is designed for the spray-drying of infant food components under high-care conditions.
New spray drying plant for contract drying
After a two-year construction phase, the new spray drying plant of Uelzena eG is now going into operation. The new spray tower will increase the technological possibilities for the manufacture of infant-quality products of the experienced contract spray dryer to a new level. With this, the specialist for spray drying of various product groups from the food sector is further expanding its leading position in the market.
"In recent years, the demand for functional raw materials such as minerals or vitamins on carrier materials, which are also used in baby food, has increased steadily," explains Bernd Gewecke, Managing Director Ingredients and Contract Drying. "For Uelzena's spray drying competence, the new "Tower 12" plant was the logical and strategic step to accompany customers in the food and baby food industry as a preferred and sought-after specialist over the coming years. With the new plant, we can offer our customers process technology options that are at the cutting edge of engineering knowledge," Gewecke elaborates on the reasons for the investment in the new plant.
New state-of-the-art spray-drying plant for high-care productions
The new state-of-the-art plant, known internally as "Tower 12", is designed for the spray-drying of vitamins and minerals as well as other ingredients to the highest quality standards. "High Care" is therefore the top priority for the configuration and equipment of the new spray-drying plant. This includes, for example, a strict hygiene zone concept with hygiene sluices to separate the different areas, containment systems at the active ingredient dosing and filling plants, elaborate cleaning concepts with separate washing and drying rooms for cleaning plant components, and sophisticated ventilation and filter systems for fresh air supply.
Besides the spray tower itself, the new plant includes other central areas such as the feeding stations for ingredients and active substances, a separate wet mixing area with various technologies for preparing the delivered customer raw materials before the spraying process, filling facilities for 5 to 25 kg aluminium tubular bags as well as technical and social rooms. The result is a completely self-contained new spray-drying plant that will be state-of-the-art in terms of hygiene and efficiency.
Modern spraying technology with a high degree of automation
A 15 m high spray tower with a flexible, modern nozzle spray system forms the "heart" of the new "Tower 12" plant. It is designed for an output of 650 - 750 kg of powder per hour, depending on the type of product being sprayed.
For each of the very different spray products, a separate, specially adapted processing procedure is defined. The result is an optimal spray product according to the customer's specific requirements.
"The development of an individual mixing and spraying process for each product is one of the biggest challenges for contract drying and at the same time our most valuable core competence. These specialised processes are particularly important for the stability and quality of the final spray product," explains Simone Oeder, Head of Contract Drying Sales. "The technological equipment of the new "Spray Tower 12" offers us ideal possibilities, especially for contract drying according to infant high-care requirements," Oeder continues.
Recipe-controlled processes and flexible usable technology for the production of concentrates
To produce an optimal spray product, the upstream process of the concentrate production is of decisive importance, because the mixing process directly influences the quality of the subsequent spray product. Extensive equipment with different technologies and flexible combination options for systems and processes therefore represented two central requirements for the wet mixing area of the new spray drying plant, in which very different source products have to be prepared.
It is equipped with two separate, combinable mixing lines and high-performance high-shear mixers with dispersing unit for mixing in powders and other raw materials. The entire mixing process is largely automated.
Focus on energy-efficient and sustainable spray drying
When planning the project, Uelzena placed a particular emphasis on designing the entire plant to be as energy-efficient and resource-saving as possible with a view to sustainable production. The installed plant technology is state of the art in terms of energy.
For example, the spray tower is encapsulated and insulated to reduce heat loss and save energy. Heat exchangers in the ventilation systems ensure effective supply air preheating for the spraying tower by recovering heat from the exhaust air. Wherever possible, process heat is recovered and losses are reduced to a minimum. All cleaning processes are optimised in a resource-saving manner and also reduced to a minimum. These and many other energy-relevant measures keep the energy consumption of the production facilities as low as possible.
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