Specifically targeted at the dairy industry, the company's Tixotherm system promises to shake up the drying market.
"This drying system is ideally suited for products such as dairy product,"GEA process engineering division director Philippe Beauxis-Lagrave told FoodProductionDaily.com. "It allows dairy permeates such as lactose to dry correctly by means of a totally new process."
The equipment features a paddle processing technique and fluid bed that Beauxis-Lagrave believes could revolutionise separation. The company succesfully tried out a pilot plant in the US, and is on the verge of marketing the product.
A second innovation on display is GEA's new Integrated Filter Dry (IFD), which Beauxis-Lagrave claims offers processors increased efficiencies but requires a lot less space.
"Usually a drying process such as this would require a large building to house all the machinery," said Beauxis-Lagrave. "But this new process only requires one piece of machinery. The space requirements are therefore a lot less."
The smaller, more compact size offers processors other advantages. Because there is only one piece of machinery, it requires no transfer of product, and there alot less valves and pipes to deal with. As a result, product loss is significantly reduced.
"There is also the energy-saving factor," said Beauxis-Lagrave. "We've estimated that this plant is 15 per cent more efficient than a conventional drying plant."
GEA has an impressive presence at IPA 2004 in Paris. The engineering giant has four stands; along with the processing and separation stand that FoodProductionDaily.com visited, there is one dedicated to refrigeration, another concentrating on pharaceutical applications, and there is even a stand in the neighbouring Emballage packaging show.
This of course reflects the diversity of the group, which is a company of mg technologies group. GEA employs 17,000 people globally and operates ten consolidated businesses in France alone.