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    Wellness Foods & Supplements

    Wellness Foods & Supplements is the first European magazine devoted exclusively to health ingredients, nutraceutical foods and beverages.

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    Specialist for the spray drying of high-care food components

  • The drying of a wide variety of product groups, such as flavours, vitamins, minerals and colouring plant extracts, has been one of Uelzena eG’s core competencies for more than 50 years. The contract dryer specialising in food and infant food has earned an excellent reputation in the industry, particularly as a service provider for the high-care spray drying of baby food components.

    Expansion of capacities for contract drying of infant food
    “The product safety requirements for ingredients for infant formula, such as minerals or vitamins on carrier materials, have risen continuously in recent years. In this context and with the aim of expanding existing partnerships with baby food manufacturers, the construction of a new high-care spray drying plant was a logical and consequential step for us. We are therefore optimally positioned to continue supporting our customers in the food and infant food industry as a preferred and sought-after specialist in the future as well.“ Bernd Gewecke, managing director for ingredients and contract manufacturing, explains the decision to build a new spray drying plant.

    With this new facility, the North German dairy from Lower Saxony intends to further expand its leading position in this segment. A total of four spray towers of different sizes and designs are now available at the central production site in Uelzen for the drying of infant food components. Like the other spray towers from Uelzena, “Tower 12” is also certified for the production of products in accordance with Kosher and Halal standards.

    “Due to the new “Tower 12” plant, the Contract Drying division can offer its customers all the required potential to grow on a long-term basis, strategically and in compliance with all necessary qualitative aspects. The new building enables us to offer our customers state-of-the-art services in terms of technology, sustainable production and environmental protection. We are particularly proud of the extremely high level of hygiene at our new facility.“ comments Simone Oeder, sales manager for contract drying.

    Efficient new spray drying plant for high-care production
    The new spray drying plant has now been in operation for several months. The equipment of the new plant includes a strict hygiene zone concept with product and people access gates to separate the different areas, containment systems for the active ingredient dosing and filling systems, elaborate cleaning concepts with separate washing and drying rooms for cleaning plant components as well as high-performance ventilation and filter systems for fresh and exhaust air.

    Besides the spray tower itself, “Tower 12” also includes other central areas, such as a high-performance wet mixing area with various technologies for preparing the raw materials as well as feeding stations for ingredients and active ingredients, fully automated filling systems and various technical and social rooms. Everything is embedded in a completely self-contained separate spray drying plant, which is state-of-the-art in terms of hygiene, technology and efficiency.

    Modern spray technology and individual processing procedures
    The new plant has a 15-metre-high spray tower with a flexible nozzle spraying system and a capacity of 650 – 750 kg of powder per hour. For each of the very different spray products, a separate, specifically customised processing procedure is defined in advance. This is one of the greatest challenges for all contract drying projects and at the same time one of the most valuable core competences of the experienced spray drying specialist Uelzena.

    By customising, for example, the nozzle configuration or the fine powder recirculation, important parameters such as particle size distribution, flowability and bulk density can be controlled very precisely during the spraying process. The characteristics of the powder can then be further modified in the fluidised beds. The result is an optimised spray product that meets the customer’s specific requirements.

    Thanks to the flexibly combinable technology options and individually customisable processes, the new plant offers the best conditions for realising a wide variety of spray drying projects.

    Flexible technologies for an optimised concentrate production
    The upstream process of concentrate production is essential for creating an optimal spray product, as the mixing process directly influences the quality of the subsequent spray product. The new plant is therefore extensively equipped with various technologies, e.g. for heating and emulsification, which can be flexibly combined with each other in order to perfectly and individually prepare the very different raw materials.

    This includes two separate, combinable mixing lines and high-performance high-shear mixers with a dispersing unit for mixing in powders and other raw materials. The entire mixing process is largely automated. The required raw materials are taken directly from various feed stations by recipe control. All further process steps are also determined by the control system and recorded and documented in detail during each production run. Active ingredients can be added via special containment systems in a separate active ingredient room with an airlock and a particularly high standard of hygiene.

    Automated packaging lines for bag-in-boxes
    Initially, the powder is filled into big bags directly under the tower. The final packaging in 5 kg to 25 kg aluminium tubular bags (bag-in-box system) then takes place decoupled and downstream on currently two largely automated, separate packaging lines. The filling of big bags and tubular bags takes place under optimum high-care conditions within the plant’s strictest hygiene zone. The products are then transported via a conveyor bridge with an automatic transport line into the fully automated, neighbouring high-bay warehouse, which was commissioned in 2019. Palletising and storage are carried out there using state-of-the-art robot technology.

    Sustainable spray drying thanks to energy-efficient technologies and resource-saving plant design
    Besides the functional aspects, the plant is also state-of-the-art in terms of sustainable and resource-saving production thanks to its energy-efficient design. For example, the spray tower is housed and insulated to reduce heat loss and save energy. Heat exchangers in the ventilation systems ensure effective supply air preheating for the spray tower by recovering heat from the exhaust air. Wherever possible, the process heat used is recovered and losses are minimised. All cleaning processes are optimised to preserve resources and are also reduced to a minimum through the use of various measures.

    For more information, please visit: https://www.ingredients.uelzena.com/en/

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