From raw material to gelatine
Before processing, the raw materials are thoroughly cleaned. There are two basic processes, depending on the raw material:
Acid process - for gelatine type A: The raw material (mostly pigskin) is subjected to a 24-h conditioning process. This involves treatment with acid. After this, the gelatine can be extracted.
Alkaline process - for gelatine type B: Here, the raw material (either ossein or bovine hide) is subjected to several weeks of treatment with alkali. This enables the collagen structure to be gently transformed. The collagen it contains, now softened by the pretreatment, can then be extracted using warm water.
The materials are subsequently treated with a warm water extraction process to remove the gelatine. The first gelatine extracts, obtained at relatively low temperatures, are quite firm and have a light color, containing approximately 6% gelatine. The remaining material is treated with fresh water but at a higher temperature. This sequence is continued until all the gelatine has been extracted.
A variation of this classic extraction process is the so-called continuous process. Here, warm water and the raw materials are continuously fed into the extraction vessel and the gelatine solution is continuously removed. The desired properties of the gelatine can be adjusted by varying the temperature and pH.
Residual traces of fat and/or insoluble particles are removed from the gelatine solution in high-performance separators. Precoat filters using Kieselgur (diatomaceous earth) then remove fine particles. This is followed by filtration through cellulose plates, as used in the beverage industry, and a final ion exchange purification step to remove any salts.
Multi-stage vacuum evaporators gently remove some of the water from the solution: the gelatine becomes viscous and honey-like in consistency. This highly viscous solution is then passed through cellulose polishing filters to remove any fine particles that may remain.
After that, the gelatine solution is heat-sterilized, then cooled and allowed to set. The gelatine is now in the form of "gelatine noodles" which are dried with sterile and filtered air. At the end of the conveyor belt, the now hard and brittle gelatine is broken up, milled and stored in the warehouse. Individual batches are only released for further use pending the successful completion of physical, chemical and bacteriological testing in the lab.
6. Milling, sieving, blending
Milling, sieving and blending are the final three processing steps. Here, the dried gelatine is customized to the requirements of individual customers. Once filled into silos, Big-Bags, sacks or bags and after final release from the lab, the products are transported to the customer.