Zuvamesa Juice Plant, Spain
Zumos Valencianos del Mediterraneo's (Zuvamesa) juice plant is located in Puerto de Sagunto, Spain. The €126m facility is one of the biggest not-from-concentrate (NFC) juice plants in Europe. Nearly 75% of the plant's production is exported.
The facility was officially inaugurated in February 2011 although production had commenced in March 2010. It has an annual capacity to process 250,000t of local citrus fruit to produce nearly 100 million litres of orange and clementine juice.
Zuvamesa aims to achieve a processing capacity of 400,000t in future.
The plant was built to increase the competitiveness of oranges and mandarins produced locally. Most of the NFC juice consumed in Europe is imported resulting in a surplus of fruit produced in the region.
In addition, local farmers were unable to fetch the right prices for their produce.
To address this problem, a consortium of 60 of Spain's largest fresh citrus producers established Zuvamesa in 2005. The consortium controls more than 60% of the citrus production in Spain.
The modern and cost effective facility provides a competitive advantage for Zuvamesa in the international market by enabling it to manufacture premium quality juice for exportation.
Design of the Zuvamesa juice plant
The plant is spread over an area of 140,000m² with a built up area of 45,000m². It is equipped with 28 industrial extractors and 80 stainless steel aseptic tanks. Each tank has a capacity of 500,000l forming a total capacity of 40 million litres.
Zuvamesa chose Tetra Pak to supply processing solutions for the plant.
The company was chosen based on the requirements of food safety and efficiency, product quality and lower operational costs and environmental impact.
Tetra Pak supplied the plant with equipment for pasteurisation, aseptic filling and emptying of the storage tanks, cleaning, sterilisation, blending and delivering in bulk. It also supplied its highly automated process control systems for the plant.
The technology enables production data to be calculated in real time and allows optimisation of operational costs.
Zuvamesa is planning to install additional packaging equipment in the future.
Processing the fruit
Citrus fruit first arrives at the reception area of the plant where it is graded and sent to the storage silos. From the silos, the fruit is taken for cleaning and grading. It is then sent to the squeezing room where all the juice is extracted.
The squeezed juice goes to the finishing room where the pulp is separated. The pulp is sent to the pulp filling unit where it is stored in aseptic drums.
Centrifugal separation is used to remove essential oils from the squeezed juice after which it is cooled and sent to the buffer tanks.
From the buffer tanks, the juice is sent to the pasteurising room where it undergoes deaeration and deoiling. The juice is then transferred aseptically to the refrigerated aseptic storage room. It is again aseptically transferred to the mixing room from where it is sent to the macro tanks.
From the tanks the juice is passed to the cellar and then to the filling room where it is filled in to Tetra Paks. Packaged juice then moves to the automated warehouse from where it is transported to markets.
Waste management at the citrus juice facility
Waste produced after squeezing is sent to the pellets plant which processes citrus waste into palatable animal feed for dairy or cattle. The project received financial support from local government.
The plant has the capacity to process 50mt of citrus waste an hour. It features a waste heat evaporator, dryers and presses.
Contractors with a role in Zuvamesa's Spanish juice plant
Zuvamesa contracted JBT FoodTech in November 2008 to supply processing equipment for the plant. Under the €5.2m contract, JBT FoodTech supplied equipment for the unloading of fruit and for citrus juice and pulp production.
Grupotec was responsible for works management and health and safety coordination of the engineering works and equipment installation works carried out at the facility.