GEA opens new R&D center to drive innovation in pet food production

GEA opens new R&D center to…

GEA has recently opened the doors to its new GEA Pet Food Experience Center (PEX) in Galliera Veneta, Italy. The role of the new center is to drive innovation in cooperation with customers and industry partners and to function as a locus for sharing latest know-how, where partners can anticipate a high level of technological development support. 

Situated in Galliera Veneta, the new facility sits alongside the GEA Pavan headquarters where a modern production facility with 400 employees design and build production lines for fresh and dry pasta, snacks, breakfast cereals, extruded products and pet food. One of the success drivers of the business is the well-organized R&D activities which have always taken place onsite and are now strengthened. The GEA Pavan Pasta & Snack Tech Center with three pilot plants and four flexible production lines for analyzing new products under all parameters has been in this location for many years.

High-tech equipment for product development

The new 1000 sqm facility is home to a team of 30 employees, including process technicians, analysts and mechanics who now have at their disposal a new pilot plant for developing new products as well as a laboratory equipped with diverse instruments for chemical, chemical-physical and rheological analysis and nutritional/organoleptic testing. Customers visiting the PEX will find a complete solution line with the latest machinery technology for each processing step. The mixing and milling section is equipped with a flour mixer, hammer mill and plansifter where new recipes can be tested which includes experimenting with the mixing to find the right solution for each innovative pet food product. The preparation section includes a GEA CutMaster for the preparation of meat emulsions in batches, which compliments the extruder line. Besides the GEA CutMaster, GEA also can supply continuous preparation lines with grinders, mixers and emulsifiers. The extrusion and inserts area is furnished with a pre-conditioner and twin cooking extruder. Diverse molds and die are available for testing and experimenting with product formats and shape, and for checking compactness and quality of final products. A coex cutter for pillows, a tumbler and spray unit as well as a flavoring drum are available in the tumbler and finishing section. Lastly, the drying zone is equipped with both a static and a continuous dryer for achieving specific flavor characteristics, which requires temperature-specific handling. 

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“Our long-term strategy and goal here, as it is for GEA globally, is to be the preferred partner of choice for customers worldwide. With our state-of-the-art technologies and comprehensive application expertise, GEA strives to be the world’s leading technology group, providing innovative and sustainable solutions for sophisticated process industries. Our new Pet Food Experience Center is a place for learning: how to create and process new products, leverage new raw materials, create new recipe ideas – and ultimately, new ways to strengthen the position of our customers on the market,” explains Klaus Raths, Head of Strategy and Business Development for GEA Food and Healthcare Technologies.