GEA: ‘Revolutionary’ mixing tech marks juice processing step change

By Ben BOUCKLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture Credit: Daniel Wehner/Flickr
Picture Credit: Daniel Wehner/Flickr

Related tags: Milk

GEA Liquid Processing claims its Inline Formula machine marks a mixing technology ‘step change’ and believes juice and carbonated water manufacturers are missing significant cost savings.

GEA’s Inline Formula machine uses mixing rota that use shear force to mix the product, but it also develops centrifugal pressure that allows one to pump the product to storage silos, which means there is no need for a separate centrifugal pump.

Claus Patscheider, area sales manager at GEA Liquid Processing, said that while the dairy industry had quickly recognized the new system's benefits, the juice sector had been slower on the uptake and was "losing out on...a step change in mixing technology design".​ 

“The combination of high shear technology with an integrated centrifugal pump – I don’t think any of our competitors have that on the market – this is the newest technology in terms of inline mixing,"​ he told BeverageDaily.com.

“Mixing is partly a certain matter of retention time, and a certain matter of flow. So you always want to have a certain flow over the mixer or downstream in the storage tank,”​ he added.

Single and multi-pass mixing

Inline mixing plants are used in the food and beverage industry for ‘single’ or ‘multipass’ high-volume mixing of dissolvable powders in low viscosity products up to 400cP (centipoise).

‘Multipass’ mixing is used for products such as recombined milk with oil or a high content of sugar or powder, where it is desirable to recirculate partly over the mixer itself and partly over the downstream storage tank.

Inline or ‘single’ pass is more suited to low-solid applications, up to 10-15% solids, meaning normally combined milk with no oil added at the mixing stage, although the latter could be added downstream during homogenizing or pasteurisation stages.

Patscheider said the Inline Formula machine could be used to add “any kind of product where you have a base liquid slurry – water, milk, whatever, that you want to mix with sugar, caseinate, whey protein concentrate, skimmed milk powder, chocolate or coconut powders, etc.”.

Advances over rivals

GEA’s Inline Formula machine uses mixing rota that use shear force to mix the product, but it also develops centrifugal pressure that allows one to pump the product to storage silos, which means there is no need for a separate centrifugal pump.

The company says it dispensed with the need for an external pump by splitting the vanes of the rotor around the stator to create the necessary external pressure.

Advances over current technology include (1) eliminating the need for a separate centrifugal pump limits downstream processing and cuts capital, installation and maintenance costs.

Secondly, GEA claims, the increased pressure means that storage silos can be recirculated more quickly which reduces batch processing time.

Finally, GEA says tests against rival setups show that the new system is significantly more efficient than existing systems, with use of less powerful 45kw motors cutting power usage by up to 15%.

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