GEA was recently awarded a license to use ViwateQ® wet finishing to polish stainless steel surfaces at its vibratory equipment manufacturing plant in Svendborg, Denmark. The ability to perform this finishing in-house reduces costs and manufacturing time, as well as improving the company’s environmental footprint. The process is required in particular by food, pet food, and pharmaceutical customers who need their equipment surfaces to be highly polished and hygienic.
ViwateQ® finishing is an innovative surface treatment that is used to create highly polished, hygienic surfaces inside and out on stainless steel processing equipment. It is chemical-free and has zero impact on the environment. Although GEA has offered its customers ViwateQ® treatment in the past, this has always involved transporting completed assemblies to an external supplier in The Netherlands. Thanks to this new license, GEA can perform the process itself in Denmark, reducing the need for transportation, enabling it to provide a faster service to customers, and providing its workforce with a better and more varied working environment.
Kasper Ege Scharff, Product Manager for Vibratory Equipment at GEA, explains that stainless steel finishing previously involved an acid pickling process and grinding, a time consuming and highly labor-intensive operation.
The alternative ViwateQ treatment is both gentler on the environment and achieves a better surface finish. “Being able to perform this process in-house significantly reduces our use of chemicals and road transport, improving our environmental footprint,” Kasper says. “It also allows us to speed up the manufacturing process, which is good for our customers. And our staff can alternate between traditional grinding operations and ViwateQ® treatment, affording them greater variety at work. Which machine parts needs to be treated by ViwateQ® depends on the application.”
GEA has implemented this resource-saving treatment process because many customers require the surfaces of food, pet food, and pharma-grade equipment to be as smooth as possible. ViwateQ® removes all unwanted contaminants – including the burned weld area – from the surface of the stainless steel, leaving it extremely smooth. The treated surface minimizes the adhesion of dirt and bacteria, considerably reducing the risk of contamination as well as making cleaning quicker and more effective. Naturally sticky products are also easier to handle.
Torben Nørgaard Hansen, Vice President Powder Handling & Packing at GEA, says that the new technology will be installed and operational at the new GEA factory in Svendborg, Denmark in the third quarter of this year. “Through this investment in ViwateQ® technology, we have moved GEA another step forward in the production of state-of-the-art vibration equipment, while simultaneously reducing our environmental footprint.”