News about the spray tower 12 project

On this page we will report regularly on the construction of the new spray drying plant and inform you about everything worth knowing about our new "spray tower 12" and its possibilities. If you have any questions about our new tower 12 or about contract drying in general, please contact Ms. Simone Oeder, Head of Sales Contract Drying. 

Modern spray technology with a high degree of automation  

07.09.2021 |  A 15 m high spray tower with a flexible, modern nozzle spray system represents the "heart" of our new spray drying plant "Tower 12". It is configured for a capacity of 650 - 750 kg per hour, depending on the type of product being sprayed. The tower and the entire plant are designed for infant-high-care productions.  

A specific challenge is the wide range of different products with their very diverse requirements that will be sprayed on the new tower. First of all, a specific, individually adjusted processing process is defined for each product.  

For an optimal control of the spray-drying process, a continuous measurement of different process parameters is carried out. Thanks to the comprehensive documentation of all process settings, detailed batch reports can be automatically generated for each production batch. This ensures a seamless control and allows a wide analysis of each production.           

By individually adjusting of e.g. the nozzle configuration or the fine powder recirculation, we can control important parameters in the spraying process such as particle size distribution, flowability and bulk density in a very targeted manner. If required, a gravimetric dosing system automatically adds the flowing agent directly into the tower. Finally, the powder properties can be further modified in the fluid beds. This results in an optimal spray product according to the specific requirements of our customers.  

The cyclone air speed for exhaust air cleaning can be individually adapted to the respective spray dried product. Even at low air speeds, the cyclones have a high degree of separation and are therefore particularly product-protecting.   

The powder is first filled into big bags directly under the spray tower, from which it is later packed into bag-in-box systems of 5 kg to 25 kg capacity on the largely automated, separate packing lines. The decoupling of the packaging process from the spraying tower ensures more flexibility in the packaging options as well as an optimal use of the tower capacity. 

A spray tower on the move  

02.09.2021 | After a journey of several days by cargo ship across the canals from the Netherlands to Uelzen, "Tower 12" arrived at our factory. With its 15 m length and 6 m diameter, the centrepiece of the new spray drying plant was too big to be loaded onto a normal truck. Delivery by water was the obvious choice to avoid complicated heavy goods transport by road for the long distance to be covered. For the last few metres from the WSA harbour in Uelzen to the factory site, the spray tower was loaded onto a specialised transporter using a mobile crane.

Topping-out ceremony for new spray tower - Structural work almost completed  

02.09.2021 | During the last months, the new spray drying plant has grown considerably and is now visible from afar. On 2nd September, the traditional topping-out ceremony was held with a small celebration. The focus of the construction work was on the structural work for the entire building. In the meantime, we have progressed to the top floor ceiling and the shell construction is almost completed. Meanwhile, the first interior walls have been built, so that it is now becoming clearer and clearer where each planned room will be located in the shell of the building.

All the basic pipes, empty conduits for electric cables as well as floor inlets, direct drains and gullies have been set, checked and accepted. In addition, there were earthworks for the foundations of the pipe and connecting bridge as well as for the ramp to connect to the high-bay warehouse.    

The weather also co-operated for the most part; in total, we only had to register about one week of "bad weather".  In addition to heavy rain events, this also affected excessive wind, which prevented the cranes from transporting the material to the required location in the structure. The construction of the tower building is fully on schedule, so that we were able to start the "Hoist In", i.e. the installation of the main components of the tower, on time at the beginning of September. These are the main tower body, the external fluid bed, the cyclones and the filter.

A particular current challenge in the project, on the other hand, is the tense situation on the construction raw materials market, which makes it difficult to get all the required materials such as cables, insulation materials, windows, façade elements, stainless steel pipes, etc. to the construction site on time. We are all the more pleased that we have largely succeeded so far and that we continue to keep our schedule.

Energy efficiency and sustainability focus in project planning of "Spray Tower 12"  

06.05.2021 | Whilst project planning our new spray-drying plant, Tower 12, we placed particular value on the best possible energy and resource efficient design of the entire plant with an eye to sustainable production. The plant technology used here will be state of the art in terms of energy. 
The spray tower will be clad and insulated to reduce heat losses and to save energy. Heat exchangers (recuperators) in the ventilation systems will ensure effective preheating of supply air for the spray tower through recovery of heat from the exhaust air. Wherever possible, the process heat used will be recovered and losses reduced to a minimum. Frequency-controlled burners in our boiler house will ensure gas-saving steam generation. 

The entire plant will be equipped with modern, energy-saving LED lights. Presence switches will be installed in most production rooms and stairwells so that lighting is automatically controlled via presence detection. This will also reduce energy consumption. Existing electric motors, e.g. for pumps, will be equipped with frequency inverters so that their output is adjusted automatically and according to demand via the plant control system, e.g. with the aid of flow meters. This means that only the output actually required will be used. 

These numerous energy-relevant measures will keep the energy consumption of the production systems as low as possible. 
All cleaning processes will be optimised to save resources and also reduced to a minimum using various measures. A technical highlight here is represented by the highly modern containment systems used for active substance dosing and powder filling. These ensure that dust emissions to the environment during the supply and discharge of powders are extremely low, up to Level 4 OEB. In addition to positive hygienic effects for the environment and cleaning requirements, these investments also serve to protect our personnel, particularly those working in production and packaging. 
A series of important environmental protection measures are also planned. We will be using dedusting systems for Tower 12 to reduce the exhaust air dust emission of the spray tower to < 5 mg/Nm³ air, far exceeding the current standard. The investment in very effective splitter silencers for the air outlets on Tower 12 will result in a significant reduction in noise emissions. The forecast is that no increase will be heard in the noise output of the entire plant when the new plant technology is operational.

The shell construction of the new spray-drying plant is under way  

30.04.2021 | A  The new plant is slowly starting to appear and the building complex on the site is gaining in height: The ground floor walls are up and the ground floor ceiling has been cladded, reinforced and concreted since February. 

The greatest challenge for the shell construction was the very harsh onset of winter in February with snow and with temperatures sometimes dropping below -15 °C, which put a stop to any construction site activities for around two and a half weeks. Nevertheless, we managed to achieve our scheduled goal with regards to the start of test production thanks to a major joint effort with the companies responsible for construction and plant engineering. This was only made possible by all parties being willing to compromise and work together. For example, the construction process for several building sections was rescheduled to further optimise the installation and commissioning process. 

Contracts have been awarded for two complete packaging lines following the successful tests at the manufacturer: Filling of powders into composite bags and carton packaging and labelling.

"Spray Tower 12" - a new plant for contract drying  

11.02.2021 | Just 18 months construction time from the initial preparatory ground work to handover of the finished and tested plants to production – that's our schedule for building the new spray-drying plant in Uelzen. 

This state-of-the-art plant, known internally as “Tower 12”, is designed to spray-dry vitamins and minerals, as well as other ingredients, to the highest quality requirements. “High Care” is therefore the highest priority when designing and equipping the new spray-drying plant for the contract drying division. This includes, for instance, a strict hygiene zone concept with hygienic airlocks to separate the different areas, containment systems on the active ingredient dosing and filling plants, cleaning concepts with separate washing and drying rooms to clean plant components, and sophisticated ventilation and filtering systems for the fresh air supply. 

In addition to the actual spraying tower, which boasts an average capacity of 750 kg powder/h, the new plant also comprises additional core areas such as feeding stations for ingredients and active ingredients, its own wet mixing area with various technologies to treat the raw ingredients supplied by our customers before the spraying process, filling plants for 5–25 kg aluminium pouches, engineering rooms and social areas. This creates a completely self-contained new spray-drying plant, which offers state-of-the-art hygiene and efficiency. In energy terms, the plant will meet the latest standards and enable production that is both sustainable and conserves resources. A bridge with an automated conveyor belt connects the plant to Uelzena’s fully automated high-bay warehouse, which was commissioned in 2019. 

The new drying plant will be equipped by the experienced plant engineering company Tetra Pak, who is supplying and installing the critical components such as the spray tower, wet mixing area, and feeding stations. The main installation phase for plant engineering starts September 2021. Commissioning is scheduled for the start of 2022, which will be followed by a generous test phase lasting several months. Normal operation is envisaged for the tower from mid-May 2022, significantly expanding the capacities and technical possibilities of the contract drying division to produce baby food-grade products under high-care conditions.  

Cornerstone ceremony for the new spray-drying plant  

05.02.2021 |  At the end of November 2020, the first ground-breaking and excavation work began for the construction of a new spray-drying plant, which will expand Uelzena eG’s contract drying division in Uelzen. In the past few weeks, the foundations were laid. The cornerstone ceremony took place on 5 February in the presence of Jörn Dwehus (CEO),  Wilhelm Günther (Vice-Chairman of the Board) und Michael Esan (Project Manager). Following an old tradition, the engraved stainless steel foundation stone contained a current newspaper, a set of coins and a document about the building project. Shell construction should be completed in August, after which systems engineering will begin.