Illustration of the behaviour of GEA Clean Purge (right) compared with other, conventional solutions (left).

GEA, one of the word’s largest suppliers for the food processing industry, has been awarded a patent for its GEA Clean Purge system for food and dairy sprayers.

The patent covers the process of purging feed nozzles while swapping feed systems to ensure continuous feed product to the spray dryer. According to the company, the patent grants it “exclusivity to supply dairy and food spray dryers that can operate continuously at the highest level of safety and efficiency with feed line swaps”.

The system addresses the primary cause of fire and explosions in spray dryers while offering significant and valuable product and operational savings.

Food and dairy dryers can operate continuously by using multiple feed systems typically two or more feed lines upstream from the spray dryer. This is because the feed lines require regular daily cleaning using a three- to four-hour clean-in-place process to prevent undesired bacterial growth and the risk of producing off-spec product.

“This requires a spray dryer designed for continuous operation to ensure a smooth and safe swap of the concentrate feed lines without interrupting the process,” says GEA.

“In turn, this requires a cleaning system that an efficiently purge and atomise the product remaining in the feed lines into the spray dryer to prevent loss of valuable concentrated feed product.”

When cleaning or purging the retiring feed system, GEA’s Clean Purge system ensures that any remaining feed product is pushed out through the spray nozzles and atomised just as efficiently as under normal production, and that the spray nozzles are completely empty after purging. It is this method of achieving this purging effect and feed line swapping that has been patented.