Dairy processing benefits from new testing facilities

Paul Boughton

New processes and technologies are helping the dairy sector to meet demands for continuous, more efficient operation. Sean Ottewell reports.

In 2010, SPX Corporation acquired Gerstenberg Schroder, a prominent Danish designer, manufacturer, installer and service provider of processing systems and components serving the global food industry with particular emphasis on fats and oils including butter and spreads.

Gerstenberg Schroder will greatly contribute in SPX Flow Technology's contract announced in May 2010 to custom design and install a fully automated, continuous margarine and butter processing system at the new Tine Jaeren plant in southwest Norway. In July 2010, SPX also completed its acquisition of Anhydro, a Soeborg, Denmark-based global supplier of liquid concentration equipment, powder processing solutions, and dewatering plants and equipment.

New process solutions recently announced by the company include SPX APV GoldStream, ECA (electrochemically activated) Water, LeanCreme and the new modular FX Systems range of skid-mounted packaged process plants that offer very short times to production through short delivery and minimal site work since the units are delivered fully assembled and tested in a container.

Ken Rodi, president, SPX Flow Technology EMEA, says the new innovations will help customers to improve safety, profitability and process efficiency. "With payback times of less than one year, there has never been a better opportunity to enhance food and beverage business performance," he added.

Take SPX APV GoldStream for example. During the start-up, shut-down and cleaning processes in dairy plants, large amounts of highly diluted milk are typically poured down the drain. SPX APV GoldStream separates the milk from the water using a hygienic self-contained 'plug and produce' reverse osmosis process (Fig. 1).

In a 1 million litres/day dairy plant, it can recover 3.5 million litres of milk value per year and produce nearly seven million litres of useful clean water at the same time. The water can be used for cleaning in place (CIP) or can be further processed by an optional additional stage to provide polished water for more demanding applications such as process water for cheese or boiler feed water.

"Nearly US$1.5 million of recovered milk, a significant environmental benefit from reduced water use and reduced effluent all from a quick and easy-to-install unit with a typical pay back period of under one year result in an excellent example of engineering for sustainable production from SPX," added Rodi.

For its part, the LeanCreme process transforms whey into a microparticulated protein that combines the low-fat nutritional values of whey protein concentrates with similar mouth feel and texture to products with a traditional fat content. Innovative shear agglomerator (ASA) technology associates heat denaturation of the protein with the formation of micro particles under high shear. This combination of heat and shear creates the improved mouth feel and texture that makes LeanCreme an ideal starting ingredient for new products such as low-fat cheeses, fermented milk products, desserts, yoghurt drinks and spreads (Fig. 2).

Delivered as a self-contained skid-mounted assembly, fully tested and ready to plug and produce, LeanCreme enables dairy manufacturers to produce microparticulated whey protein from their own surplus whey on their own premises. Particle size can be customised to match a wide range of innovative and proprietary reduced-fat recipes."

"MS Iceland Dairies in Akureyri uses LeanCreme for many different products. Production of Gouda cheeses containing LeanCreme has experienced an eight per cent increase in cheese yield, a significant contribution to the bottom line. Waste water chemical oxygen demand has also been reduced by 85 per cent and payback time is just two years. LeanCreme has also resulted in a significantly improved texture and flavour in the dairy's low-fat cheese range," noted Rodi.

MS Iceland Dairies cottage cheese has seen a significant increase in yield as well as the elimination of syneresis, making it a highly stable product. Iceland is well known for its Skyr production where LeanCreme has really made a mark. The Akureyri dairy uses LeanCreme in its Skyr Yoghurt drinks, where it replaces 30 per cent of the skim milk content. In the spring of 2010, the dairy launched a new sports/protein drink based on 100 per cent fermented LeanCreme with a protein content of nearly nine per cent. The new drink fits perfectly into the company strategy of catering for constantly increasing consumer demand in Iceland for high-protein, low-fat, natural sweetened products.

But bringing new technologies to market requires a lot of development work. At the same time there is intense commercial pressure to reduce time to market while still maintaining the highest standards of quality and safety.

The Silkeborg site houses both SPX's global technical and R&D centre of excellence for systems business and the customer innovation centre. Here, customers have the opportunity to test processes, ingredients and recipes in the centre's pilot plant supported by highly experienced personnel. The company can also offer pilot plant testing at customers' own sites based on rented equipment and supported by SPX experts. There is also a global heat transfer centre of excellence in Kolding as well as a homogeniser centre in Albertslund.

In other processing news, GEA Group has won a EUR20m-order for a milk powder processing plant in New Zealand. as companies there boost capacity to meet growing demand for dairy products in China.

The facility, to be built for Miraka of New Zealand by August 2011, will have an annual processing capacity of over 1 million litres of milk per day and comes at a time when companies there are facing a huge demand for dairy products from China.

In the UK, processor BV Dairy hopes to cut its carbon footprint by two-thirds and save £150,000/y by installing an anaerobic digestion system at its production site in Dorset. The dairy processor sought the help of Clearfleau to build a liquid digester at the site and ENER.G to supply and operate the combined heat and power (CHP) technology that converts biogas from the digester into renewable energy.

Recent Issues