GEA develops serum separator for Amul to reduce losses in ghee production

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

The GEA serum separator was developed based on Amul Dairy’s requirements for the local market with a capacity of 3,000 liters per hour. Pic: GEA
The GEA serum separator was developed based on Amul Dairy’s requirements for the local market with a capacity of 3,000 liters per hour. Pic: GEA

Related tags Gea ghee amul India Milk

GEA has engineered a ghee processing separator for its customer Amul Dairy, market leader in the Indian dairy sector and one of the largest milk unions in the state of Gujarat.

The company said the customized GEA serum separator means Amul Dairy has reduced fat losses by 85% and increased ghee production by 30% with no additional investment in the existing plant.

“GEA’s custom designed centrifuge has transformed our ghee production,”​ said Amit Vyas, managing director of Amul Dairy.

"After installing the GEA separator, we were able to dramatically reduce our fat losses – from 2% down to 0.3% in the serum part – while increasing ghee production capacity by almost 30%. We achieved our ROI in less than a year, with the added benefit of improved safety, hygiene and energy efficiency.”

The GEA team worked with Amul Dairy to develop a customized solution.

“One precondition for a perfectly performing centrifuge is a detailed understanding of the overall process, the particular requirements at every single step and finally the seamless integration of the centrifuge into the line,”​ said Thomas Veer, product manager sales, separation & flow technologies division at GEA. 

“Amul’s previous ghee production unit had a conventional pre-stratification setup which resulted in high-fat losses on the order of 2%. With thousands of liters of butter melted every day, the 2% fat loss was significantly impacting their bottom line. The traditional setup also posed operational challenges and was problematic with regard to safety, hygiene and energy consumption.”

GEA developed its serum separator based on Amul Dairy’s requirements for the local market. With a capacity of 3,000 liters per hour, the separator allows Amul to bypass the conventional pre-stratification setup and scale up its production to generate an additional volume of six metric tons per day with no additional equipment or investment in the plant.

Amul Dairy’s new installation has reduced the load on its effluent treatment plant (ETP), resulting in savings in overall power and fuel consumption and benefiting its sustainability initiatives. The GEA serum separator also helps reduce the turnaround time of the production process.

“GEA and Amul enjoy a longstanding partnership, with GEA supplying some of Amul’s largest capacity processing plants and equipment,”​ said Deepak Singh, vice president separation & flow technologies business, GEA India.

“The GEA serum separator marks yet another step forward in our relationship. This machine is future-proof; the robust engineering allows the serum Separator to function as a standalone unit or be integrated with future automation solutions to serve a growing market. And the installation is more energy efficient overall.” 

India produces around 5m metric tons of ghee every year; it is the second-largest milk-based product consumed in India after curd. Although ghee is largely produced in the unorganized sector, the market penetration of the organized sector is increasing gradually. The Covid-19 pandemic has further boosted the demand for packaged food products, including packaged ghee.

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