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SPX FLOW Helps Yogurt Plant Reach Sustainability Goals

May 11, 2018
Image courtesy of SPX FLOW
Image courtesy of SPX FLOW

The largest dairy in Finland, Valio Ltd, is owned by cooperatives of some 5,800 Finnish dairy farmers. With a mission “to create well-being and taste sensations in a responsible way”; reducing product losses and saving energy were particular focuses for its new dairy in Riihimäki, Finland. It selected SPX FLOW to supply processing equipment based on its good experiences with the company and a long-standing cooperation.

The dairy market is a highly competitive industry and, to protect the interests of the dairy farmers, Valio works to ensure the sustainable way of profitable production of innovative product lines that appeal to modern consumer tastes. Working in partnership with SPX FLOW and other project suppliers, its modern Riihimäki plant reduces energy consumption by some 30% compared with existing Valio production facilities while ensuring excellent hygiene and food safety standards.

The new dairy is able to produce 30 tn of yoghurt per hour and incorporates all processes from milk reception to product filling stations, matching the state of the art in fresh dairy product processing. SPX FLOW technology includes reception lines, storage process, separation process, mixer tanks, plate heat exchangers, and homogenizers. Buffer storage tanks with different ingredients add flexibility to the plant and full automation helps ensure optimized processing in terms of productivity and energy consumption.

Working in partnership, Valio and SPX FLOW have designed the plant so that all pipework can be drained and product losses minimized between batches. For optimum productivity, state-of-the-art processing techniques enable the mixing of large scale of recipes prior to fermentation. The new dairy plant is capable of producing many different types of fresh fermented product from standard to high value dairy products, using milk fractionation technologies together with permeate valorisation, with efficient batch changeover.

Dry components can be added to the recipe through the use of the innovative APV Flex-Mix Instant technology. This closed system stops air from being incorporated into the solution and keeps wet and dry phases completely separate to help ensure the highest hygiene standards are maintained. The mixer uses a vacuum powder transport system to suck powder underneath the liquid surface. As well as helping with wettability and dispersability of powders, this technology stops the formation of a free vortex for highly efficient mixing even at higher flow rates. The efficiency of the mixer further enables the use of greater solids content and pre-mix concentration in recipes for increased production capacity and greater cost efficiency. 

After mixing stages, pasteurization lines utilize APV, plate heat exchange technology. This process is fully automated and designed for constant yoghurt milk flow at a rate of up to 15,000 l/h. The yoghurt milk is then routed to one of a number of fermentation tanks. The yoghurt can then pass through a homogenizer to achieve desired product characteristics prior to storage in one of the 15,000 l tanks. Final dosing of fruit or other components can be remotely added by operators in the control room into the filling lines as required.

Valio and SPX FLOW have a long history of cooperation. We want to ensure our operations are sustainable and responsible. Maximizing the use of raw materials, minimizing waste and optimizing energy consumption are all critical design points for the new plant,” Jukka Partti, Project Director at Valio said. “We are very pleased with the results which will enable us to meet our social responsibility while ensuring our products are highly competitive.”

Engineering of the new Valio dairy plant at Riihimäki began two years ago with initial production beginning in September 2017. There will be a six-month optimisation period where SPX FLOW will continue to work with Valio personnel to further tune the plant.

Joël Lotode, Process Category Sales Director, Fresh and Fermented Dairy Products, at SPX FLOW commented, “This has been a great collaborative project. Working with Valio and applying their expertise in yoghurt production has led to a highly innovative plant design that offers excellence in hygiene and food safety while meeting operational goals of productivity, minimized waste and efficiency. We look forward to continuing to serve Valio through our aftermarket service network and on future projects.”

Based in Charlotte, NC, SPX FLOW Inc. (spxflow.com) innovates with customers to help feed and enhance the world by designing, delivering and servicing high value solutions at the heart of growing and sustaining our diverse communities. The company's product offering is concentrated in rotating, actuating and hydraulic technologies, as well as automated process systems, into food and beverage, industrial and power and energy markets. SPX FLOW has approximately $2 billion in annual revenues with operations in more than 30 countries and sales in more than 150 countries. 

SPX FLOW, Inc.