As the carousel rotates the product undergoes pre-hardening by means of cold water sprays, and at the end of rotation the molds are turned out into a hardening vat. The cooling water is passed through an exchanger and recirculated by centrifugal pump.
The system is operated via a PLC, and is configured with pipework and sprinklers connected to an external cleaning-in-place plant for efficient cleaning. The feeding unit and carousel are also completely separated when not in operation, which also aids faster and easier cleaning. All product contact parts are Teflon coated, and the augers and carousel are driven by servo-motors for precise control and robust operation.
GEA separately offers both bath (indirect cooling) and shower (direct cooling) machines for cheese molding and pre-hardening, which can be configured for production capacities of up to 3,500 kg per hour.
The direct cooling system comprises a cheese feeding unit with auger conveyors, which transfers the cheese from the stretching unit to the molding carousel. As the carousel turns intermittently, the products in the molds are cooled to 12-14° C using showers of cold water. After a complete revolution a pneumatic system then turns the products out from the molds onto a short belt for transfer to the next stage of processing. An electronic size regulator means that cheeses of different heights can be produced using the same molds.
All the working parameters of the machine are PLC controlled. A centrifugal pump ensures the efficient recovery and circulation of the cooling water, and also the recovery of cleaning solutions following.