GEA – Engineering for a better world
GEA is one of the largest suppliers for the food processing industry and a wide range of other industries that generated consolidated revenues of approximately EUR 4.6 billion in 2017.
The international technology group focuses on process technology, components and sustainable energy solutions for sophisticated production processes in various end-user markets. The group generates around 70 percent of its revenue in the food and beverages sector that enjoys long-term sustainable growth. As of December 31, 2017, the company employed almost 18,000 people worldwide. GEA is a market and technology leader in its business areas
The company is listed on the German MDAX (G1A, WKN 660 200). In addition, GEA"s stock is included in the MSCI Global Sustainability Indexes.
Working with Saudi Arabia
GEA has worked with Almarai Company in Saudi Arabia to build the nation"s largest and most modern dairy processing facility. The new plant at Al Kharj includes multiple production lines for a wide range of milk and yoghurt products. It has the capacity to process two million litres of milk a day. The project has already been successfully completed and the plant is in operation.
Key features of the plant at Al Kharj include GEA separators with integrated direct drive that have fewer moving parts and so reduce friction losses. They also use asynchronous motors that are extremely robust for maximum machine availability. To reduce the environmental impact and energy consumption, the plant is equipped with GEA"s latest energy recovery technology.
Furthermore, GEA has built in the latest control systems and operating protocols in line with Industry 4.0. These include the interoperability of the equipment, the transparency of information, autonomous decision making where possible and the highest level of technical assistance. GEA"s Management Execution System captures data such as KPIs and utilisation levels to allow comprehensive monitoring of the entire plant operations and energy usage. The plant also features end-to-end track and trace for ultimate quality control and a plant-wide uninterruptable power supply.
Torben Jul Jensen, Regional Sales Director for Dairy, Beverage and Food solutions at GEA Middle East, said that despite GEA"s experience in building similar dairy plants worldwide, the Al Kharj plant did pose some specific challenges, especially in the final commissioning phase. "However, everyone involved in the project, including all the Almarai stakeholders, worked well together to bring the project in on time," he explained. The climate had played its part, too. "It was so hot that we had a midday ban during the peak summer season, however, by working together as a collective team side by side with Almarai the project was delivered successfully," he added.