A day in the life of a super-efficient dairy separator


Tetra Pak® Separators are unique in using two technologies – AirTight and Encapt™ – that together boost operating performance and cut energy use by up to 40% compared to standard alternatives. AirTight and Encapt technologies combine to deliver a less energy-intensive, more productive and smoother working day for users. So how do they do it?

A cow peeking over a fence

Early morning: whole milk clarification

Imagine it’s the morning shift at a dairy plant. Depending on where in the world the factory is located, the first process of the day might be whole milk clarification.

A milk clarifier is basically a separator that ensures raw milk quality by removing impurities and unwanted particles. AirTight technology keeps the clarifier hermetically sealed – ensuring no air is incorporated into the product – which limits the risk of foaming and fouling in the downstream equipment. It also treats the milk more gently, hence preserving quality.

Encapt reduces the air – and hence friction – around the separator’s spinning bowl, where much of the energy is consumed. Along with the energy-saving benefits of AirTight, this pushes electricity costs far lower than with standard separators.

Late morning: milk separation

Once clarified, the whole milk is ready to enter a key stage of the production phase – milk separation. Milk can be separated hot or cold. Hot separation is most common as it offers the highest efficiency in separating fat from the skim. It is nearly always integrated in the pasteurization process.

Thanks to AirTight technology, Tetra Pak Separators are also highly efficient at handling the higher viscosity of the milk in cold separation, a growing trend in the industry. The temperatures used for cold separation limits potential bacteria growth and also makes the line more flexible, as it can be done as a standalone process rather than being tied to pasteurisation.

Here, the AirTight technology works its magic by preserving the integrity of the fat globules in the milk. This is vital to the quality of the milk, skim and other downstream dairy products.

Crucially, it also eliminates air. This minimizes wear and tear on downstream equipment such as homogenizers, and fouling on equipment like heat exchangers and filtration units. Air can be a challenge in cheese production, where it may cause foaming and cheese fines that can impact the producer’s yield.

Air is also problematic in yoghurt production, where its presence fuels the growth of the ‘wrong’ bacteria and causes a thinner texture.

Next up in the process is the removal of spores. A spore-removing separator targets spores that survive pasteurisation and is typically used to process skimmed milk, standardized milk and whey.

Here, AirTight allows the producer to run the plant at various flow rates because the Bactofuge unit automatically adapts to the volume of input product. The technology reduces energy consumption, eliminates adverse air impacts and continues to preserve fat globule integrity. Encapt, meanwhile, further enhances energy efficiency.

“AirTight and Encapt can cut energy consumption by up to 40 percent compared to standard alternatives,” says Karl Kieffer, Product Manager Separation at Tetra Pak. “The payback is especially fast in countries with high energy costs.”

Tetra Pak Separators have an extremely long life of up to 30 years. “Customers recognise that investing in a separator with AirTight and Encapt can repay itself ten times during the equipment’s life. That’s a very compelling reason to make the investment,” Kieffer says.

Afternoon: whey clarification and separation

Back on the production line, after cheese production the next steps are whey clarification and whey separation.

Whey clarification has become prevalent in the dairy industry in the last 20 years. Purifying whey with the help of AirTight and Encapt prior to onward processing leads to less fouling, less need for cleaning and, therefore, higher production uptime.

The whey separator removes residual fat. With the two technologies, this process is exceptionally efficient. And high skimming efficiency saves money.

Cream and milk fat are high-value products. One hundred percent butterfat is worth €5 a litre, for example. Every 0.01% improvement in skim can earn the producer an extra €100,000 a year.

Throughout the day, and throughout the production process, AirTight and Encapt save the producer money, improve flexibility and enhance quality. A winning formula for any processor looking for an extra edge in a fiercely competitive market.

Separation with Encapt technology

Want to know more about Encapt technology and how it could benefit your operations? Fill in the form and download the product leaflet.

Separator with Encapt technology

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