The German dairy plant Milchwerk Crailsheim-Dinkelsbühl eG has enlisted GEA for the modernization of its milk treatment area. From there, the associated cheese dairies are supplied with pretreated – purified, heated, and mixed – milk. In addition, GEA will further advance the digitalization of the dairy.

The customer from Baden-Württemberg 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. GEA is about to commence modernization of the liquid part, with completion planned for early 2023.

Energy-efficient raw milk processing
“The technical modernization at the Crailsheim site represents the fulfilment of a long-cherished dream,” said Josef Vögele, managing director of Milchwerk Crailsheim. “Energy efficiency is our top priority when we think about the future of our dairy.”

The heat treatment of raw milk, is immensely 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. Vögele was convinced by the fact that key technology and components, such as skimmers, valves, and plate heat exchangers, come from GEA, the company stated. The next step will see GEA co-operate with the project team of the Crailsheim dairy plant to develop a comprehensive energy and heat quantity concept for the entire plant, thereby unlocking significant CO2 savings potential.

“In Crailsheim they face similar challenges to many other small and medium-sized dairies: Sustainability and digitalization are taking hold – and they can only be implemented by using efficient high-performance technologies and consistent process planning,” notes Steffen Rathmann, managing director of GEA TDS. “To tackle these issues, which are so omnipresent in the industry, we develop the process and technology design based on the specific conditions on site. It makes us proud to have the opportunity to set up the technical backbone for the future success of our customers like Milchwerk Crailsheim.”

Digital monitoring of historical plant activity data

In addition to the above technology, the customer opted to record the plant history via GEA Codex Plant Playback. This special GEA automation solution analyzes 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.