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Measuring Fats and Proteins directly in dairy industry : Week 6/6/2014

In our last article, we discussed about level measurement in difficult areas in the minerals & mining industry. In this article, we will discuss about a different industry - the Dairy industry! We will discuss about the problems encountered in measuring the fat and protein content in milk products.

The process & it’s requirement:

Producing drinking milk with different requirements of fat contents is a difficult process. The raw milk collected from the cows / buffaloes are separated in the dairy into skim milk (approx. 0.05% fat content) and cream. The fat content of the cream is important in precisely controlling the mix.

Traditionally, mass flow meters are used to determine the amount of fat in the cream by measuring its density. Considering the flow rates of skim milk and cream, it is usually possible to calculate how much cream needs to be added so as to achieve the desired fat content in the standardized milk. The fat content calculation is checked in intervals by taking samples. In case of any deviation from the target values, more or less cream is added accordingly.

This method poses lots of issues. The result of calculating the fat content by measuring the amount of fat in the cream flow can vary considerably from the actual fat content in the standardized milk due to variety of factors. Measuring by taking samples is not continuous and results get delayed because the sample has to be first analyzed in the laboratory. This process delays any necessary intervention in the process, which is not a good thing.

What the industry requires:

It is important for the industry to find a solution whereby the process control is improved and delays are eliminated, so that the desired fat content is achieved in a very accurate and consistent manner. The potential solution to this problem needs to be FDA compliant and also comply with the hygienic requirements.

What is a better solution:

A spectroscopic analysis system is what is required for such applications. It provides a continuous, non-contact type inline measurement of fat and protein in milk products, and meets the FDA requirements. This system is installed without bypass, directly in the production line. There are no moving parts and it is cleaned by way of SIP/CIP. The calibration is done on-site based on reference values from the in-house laboratory.

 

What is the benefit to the user :

With this solution, the dairy can measure fat and protein content directly and continuously in the standardized milk in a more accurate way. The fat content measured can be used as a control variable for the process control and for addition of cream. The protein content is also available as a parameter if the user wants to use it for control action. With this solution in place, it is possible to significantly reduce the use of cream in the drinking milk application without any compromise in the quality. The surplus cream obtained from this method can be used for other production lines.

 

In our next article, we will discuss about a fresh new idea.