GEA secures third contract from Pol’s for freeze drying systems

GEA RAY batch freeze dryer with freeze dried strawberries (Photo credit: GEA)

GEA has secured its third contract from food manufacturer Pol’s to deliver and install RAY freeze drying equipment at the company’s 4,000m2 fruit and vegetable freeze drying facility in Ermenek, Karaman, Turkey. The new order will see another RAY 125 freeze dryer installed at the Pol’s site. This will give the ability to increase freeze drying output from 200 tons to 300 tons per year. Handover of the new equipment is expected by mid-2022.

“As one of the only companies in Turkey to exploit freeze drying technology for commercialising local crops and harvests, our mission is to contribute to sustainable development of agriculture and offering the healthiest products to consumers from seed to plate. Our growing business is focused on expressing core values and promoting local engagement. GEA’s freeze drying equipment works very reliable and on a high-quality level. We of course reviewed freeze drying systems and technology from other global companies, but GEA’s technology competence and services convinced us and we have repeatedly returned to GEA for new equipment”, reported Ali Polat, CEO of Pol’s.

Supporting sustainable farming and reducing food waste

Part of the Muzaffer Polat Group, Pol’s was established in 2017 to help promote and boost sustainable, profitable agriculture, employment and knowhow for struggling farming communities in the remote Ermenek region. Pol’s supports local farmers in the area, who grow a wide range of fruits and vegetables – from strawberries, to apples, kiwi and peas. These are freeze dried to generate nutritious, tasty and high-quality products that are sold globally. Importantly Pol’s supports small-scale farmers from field to factory, with a focus on quality. The company offers complete oversight of the end-to-end freeze-drying process, from the minute the fruits are harvested and arrive at the factory, to the storage and release of packaged products.

Freeze drying can represent a key process for reducing food waste during bumper harvests, or when the market for fresh produce might be depressed. The extra revenues may represent a lifeline for farming communities and small producers, as well as ensuring that valuable crops and harvests are utilised, rather than just thrown away.

GEA demonstrates advanced technology and commitment

The new RAY 125 freeze dryer will triple capacity at the plant since the first RAY 125 and RAY 1 units from GEA were installed in 2017. The RAY 125 unit is the second largest of the GEA family of RAY batch freeze driers, with a potential output of up to 460kg per 24 hours, when running with fruits. Featuring a fully automated continuous de-icing system, the RAY 125 is designed to minimise energy consumption in the refrigeration plant, high freeze-drying capacity per square meter of tray surface, and constant condenser capacity. Offering complete hands-off control of the drying cycle for each batch, the system is inherently user friendly.

The presence of dedicated GEA representatives in Turkey was a key consideration for the customer.

Serdar Gez, managing director at GEA Turkey, explained: “Local GEA experts, on the ground, will continue to work closely with Pol’s going forward. This is particularly important given the geographical remoteness of the Ermenek site. Our experts know the environment, can develop the best solutions and provide remote support in a timely manner. If necessary, we will do our best to be on site within the shortest possible time.”

GEA freeze dryers are designed to offer negligible power loss, with low energy consumption. User friendly and compact, the RAY systems have been developed to offer uniform drying, high sublimation capacity, and optimum hygiene to comply with the most rigourous safety standards.