GEA Westfalia separator streamlines fish processing

GEA Westfalia Separator South Africa has received an order from the Western Cape-based fish product company, Oceana Brands Ltd, for two three-phase decanters.

The order requires the decanters to be installed at its St Helena Bay fishmeal operation for optimised process methods that are designed to achieve sustained, high-quality fishmeal production.
“As the selling price of fish oil and fishmeal into selected markets has improved substantially in the last couple of years, Oceana Brands wishes to sustain high-quality output in a climate of diminishing natural resources,” says Leonard Vanek, sales manager at GEA Westfalia Separator South Africa. “This order marks the second phase of a large-scale process refinement plan by the company, as in February 2011, its Hout Bay facility saw the commissioning of two three-phase decanters from the GEA Westfalia Separator Group.”
These additional decanters will help utilise raw material to its fullest by efficiently separating fish oil and solid materials for further processing into specialised aquaculture feed ingredients.
The Oceana Group uses a production process whereby fresh fish are cooked in indirect continuous cookers. Fish solids, fish oil, and fishy water are then separated in the three-phase decanters. These decanters are designed to separate these masses inside the centrifuge at a rate of 10 to 12 cubic metres per hour.
Fish water extracted during the process has a high content of valuable dissolved proteins. This is evaporated in a three-stage waste heat evaporator process to a fish water concentrate of 35%, which is fed back to the fish solids before final drying in indirect steam and hot air dryers.
“The three-phase decanters separate all three products simultaneously. The high manufacturing standards and product quality considerations of Oceana Brands require that processing is as quick as possible – keeping freshness of materials in mind. The continuous feed system assists in keeping the processing rate at its design capacity,” explains Vanek.
Furthermore, fishmeal products are tested for microbiological contamination, so the decanters are equipped with a clean-in-place (CIP) system for unsupervised cleaning control cycles.
Another feature of the GEA Westfalia Separator Group decanters is that their advanced process efficiency reduces the requirement for the addition of artificial stabilising agents typically used to aid the separation of oil, water, and fish solids in the conventional fishmeal process. Also, the water/oil separation phase, associated with more traditional two-phase decanters, becomes optional when using these three-phase decanters – as high centrifugal forces inside three-phase decanters create adequate separation of fish solids, water and oil in the same treatment phase.
Vanek concludes: “We are leading future advancements in the fish processing industry by designing and testing a decanter capable of boosting three-phase decanter processing capacity by 50-60%. This will be the first time a fish meal decanter of this type will be manufactured world-wide.”
GEA Westfalia Separator South Africa,
Taryn du Plessis: Tel +27-11 541-0528;taryn.duplessis@geagroup.com