For the most part, the milk and cheese powder industry isn’t affected by brand new and emerging trends. Typically, milk and cheese powders are still handled the same way that they always have been. Still, there are a few different end-products manufactured with these powders that each require unique specifications for bulk handling systems.
Materials that are high in fat content are challenging to convey in general. Whey protein concentrate might still technically be considered a milk powder, but it is effectively handled in completely different ways than fat powder. From almond milk to coconut milk, there are different methods and solutions that successful manufacturers of the milk and cheese powder industry implement. Abiding by GMP guidelines and ensuring sanitary conditions to mitigate dust and explosion hazards are also concerns prevalent for those who successfully handle milk and cheese powders.
Handling high-fat content means preventing blockage and separation of the fat. Unless the proper measures are taken, milk and cheese powder can build up on equipment like pipes and hoppers. Meeting standards related to HEPA air filtration increases manufacturers’ efficiency in this pursuit. Other factors such as implementing equipment that is easy to clean also play an important role in tackling this challenge.
Not only are meeting efficiency requirements related to HEPA filters helpful in handling milk and cheese powder effectively but following GMP guidelines will prove beneficial to most facilities handling these materials.
Milk proteins, milk fat and milk sugars all behave differently when moving through a bulk material handling system. Recognizing this and preparing for it effectively is a primary challenge when dealing with milk or cheese powders.
Whether as an ice cream manufacturer you are buying super sacks of whey powder protein concentrate to put into your batches, or as a cheesemaker you are incorporating whey protein, milk and cheese powders are used as additives in many places.
When manufacturers sell milk and cheese powders as individual components, other companies can introduce a precise amount of each one into their processes.
Protein shakes have a high concentration of whey protein included. If you were to drink milk alone by comparison, there would be far less protein than the protein shake. Certain companies take “splits” of materials to manufacture the precise product they are looking to make.
Other manufacturers who handle these powders at the producer level take the raw milk in (in liquid form) and process, sterilize and put it through a spray dryer. The material is then handled as it comes out of the spray dryer before moving to a super sack or bulk truck.
Handling milk or cheese powder and handling sugar go hand in hand for many manufacturers. Bulk handling sugar for ice cream production is just one example, and providing the necessary equipment to handle hygroscopic materials alongside milk and cheese powder is a critical consideration.
Sugar will absorb moisture with ease, so leaving it in a silo for an extended period of time will result in it becoming extremely resistant to flow. Pickaxes and physical labor may be required in this circumstance. Downstream, specialized equipment such as delumpers aid sugar that has clumped after being exposed to elevated temperatures or humidity. It is critical to keep sugar in a dry-air or air-conditioned state and environment for optimal flow results.
Any organic material is subject to the attention and focus of explosion mitigation. At AZO, we have found, unfortunately, that there are many who still don’t realize the explosive threat that ingredients such as sugar pose. OSHA and NFPA regulations were altered after a 2007 explosion in a Domino Sugar mill in South Baltimore. The very next year national headlines covered explosions in Port Wentworth, GA. Knee-high piles of highly combustible sugar dust fueled explosions at the Imperial Sugar refinery. Imperial reached a $6 million settlement with OSHA and civil cases for damages followed.
Abiding by safety regulations regarding dust and combustible material is of utmost importance for those who handle sugar in conjunction with milk and cheese powder, as it is for many other ingredients.
Making sure a conveying system is outfitted with explosion protection goes hand in hand with ensuring any required extra space for this protection. Extra measures often need to be taken in a facility to ensure that necessary protection can fit in the plant real estate available, such as ensuring that a vent can be ducted to the outdoors through a wall.
As milk and cheese powder offer different challenges to manufacturers through their various specifications, a partner like AZO is made up of employees driven to discover solutions for our clients. Our easy-to-take-apart equipment promotes sanitary work environments and easy day-to-day inspection. Specifically, we use conditioned air around 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the optimal results when handling milk and cheese powders. AZO has plentiful experience in designing a variety of systems, including those for bulk sugar handling and ice cream production. We provide sophisticated systems that can effectively handle milk and cheese powders while helping a facility:
AZO solutions are individually fit to our customer’s requirements and optimized for the most economical and flexible results. For milk powders, AZO can ensure conditioned air for conveying and filtering through a HEPA-rated filter. Easy-to-clean equipment and sanitary design are an AZO staple. For high-fat content milk powders, we are able to use a dense phase vacuum or pressure conveying to prevent separation of fat from the product. This ultimately prevents material from building up on pipes and hoppers.
When specifically handling whey protein concentrate, our applications include conveying from the spray-dryer, screening the material and filling it into super sacks (or blending it). Then it can be fortified with other small additives prior to being shipped out.
To promote mass flow and to overcome bridging in the silo, we also condition the airspace in the silo to help avoid or minimize the effects of moisture on materials like sugar (caking and sticking to the silo sidewalls). In addition to the VB on the bottom of a hopper, AZO also recommends an AZO Delumper for material that is resistant to flow. Our centrifugal screeners take care of unwanted foreign material in your processes.