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Modernisation and digitalisation plans for German dairy

01 July 2022

The German dairy, Milchwerk Crailsheim-Dinkelsbühl has entrusted GEA with the modernisation of its milk treatment area, with completion of the project expected by early 2023. 

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The company processes around 150,000 tons of raw milk from cooperative suppliers every year and prepares it to produce Balkan cheese, pasta filata cheese Kashkaval, and grill cheese. 

Commenting on the project, Josef Vögele, managing director of Milchwerk Crailsheim, said: “Energy efficiency is our top priority when we think about the future of our dairy.” The heat treatment of raw milk, is important for hygienic cheese production, but at the same time it requires a lot of energy if the technology and process integration are not perfectly designed. 

The next step will see GEA working with the project team at the Crailsheim dairy plant to develop a comprehensive energy and heat quantity concept for the entire plant, thereby unlocking significant CO2 savings potential.

“Crailsheim faces similar challenges to many other small and medium-sized dairies,” said Steffen Rathmann, managing director of GEA TDS. “Sustainability and digitalisation are taking hold – and they can only be implemented by using efficient high-performance technologies and consistent process planning.” 

The dairy also opted to record the plant history via GEA Codex Plant Playback. This GEA automation solution analyses industrial processes batch by batch as a software-based video recorder. This reveals dependencies, errors, and their causes, which can be easily fixed. The software animates SCADA Historian data in real time or time lapse. This improves both production as well as product and process safety.

In order to connect the cheese dairy to the machine room in Crailsheim, GEA will technologically modify various tank farms, fundamentally rebuilding all valve blocks and the cheese milk tank farm. To ensure high microbiological quality, the dairy will get a new pasteuriser with surplus cream cooling and two new thermisers. 

During the project, the existing CIP station will be upgraded. An additional skimming separator is equipped with GEA proplus, which increases protein yield and significantly reduces fresh water consumption through longer emptying intervals for the milk separator. The cheese production technology is complemented by two new calcium chloride stations which increase yield and improve product quality through stabilised rennet gel. GEA will modernise the dairy without stopping production.

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