GEA Process Engineering has acquired intellectual property (IP) rights to a range of high-shear mixing technology from Danish company Limitech and established its own mixing business.
Bjarne Darré from GEA Mixing Systems told BeverageDaily.com that under the terms of an agreement signed recently his company had acquired IP covering Limitech’s mixing technology.
But he said GEA had not acquired the company itself, since it had other product lines that weren’t relevant to GEA.
GEA will now establish a headquarters for its mixing business – under the Mixing Formula brand that will comprise batch and in-line technology – in Skanderborg in Denmark.
Significant technological advantages
The company said the mixing equipment was specially designed for the beverage, dairy, beverage and personal care market, and that the products had a “significant technological advantage and will be developed further by GEA”.
For some time, GEA said, it had recognised that it needed mixing technology to meet growing demand for pre-prepared dairy, food and beverage products.
Darré told BeverageDaily.com: “You just need to have a look in your local supermarket to see the development in liquid ‘butter’ light products for baking and frying, all the different milk-based beverages with different added flavours, ready-made cold coffee beverages, processed cheese snacks.
“The mixing process is involved at some stage in most food and dairy products.”
The Mixing Formula range extends from lab-sized machines of just 10 litres up to 15,000 litre single-batch machines able to process at viscosities up to 50,000 centipoise or Cp (a viscosity measure), while systems can also run in a continuous process with an output of 40,000 litres per hour at lower viscosities.
Milk-based beverage demand
With a high-shear capability, GEA said the machines were well suited to mixing high viscosity dairy and food products such as ketchup, mayonnaise, baby food, sweetened condensed milk, ice cream, processed cheese and spreads.
On the beverage side, the firm said the equipment could processing ready-to-drink (RTD) iced coffees, chocolate drinks and isotonic drinks, as well personal care products such as gels and creams.
Darré said that GEA was looking at developing the continuous processing option further, and that the lower viscosity option was mainly suited to the dairy industry.
“There is a big demand for efficient technology for recombined products and milk-based beverages, but also the beverage industry in general has growing demands on more complex formulas and thereby need more sophisticated technology,” he said.
Darré said that the product range was able to homogenise and mix products in one operation, and had the ability to liquefy whole fruit – including hard to homogenise fibres – into juices.
“Products such as pineapple, for example, that have a high fibre content, can be mixed and homogenised …This is not something that conventional systems can handle,” he added.